I don’t know if I’m just getting grumpy in my ‘old age’ (late thirties) or if I was raised with unrealistic expectations of how people should treat each other, but I am becoming increasingly appalled by the lack of manners people exhibit on a daily basis. As if it’s not bad enough that people don’t say “please” and “thank you” regularly anymore, or that people interrupt each other constantly jockeying for position in conversations, this latest exchange below actually happened at my workplace yesterday.
To set the scene, it was 2 minutes before staff meeting. I was at my desk in the front office. My volunteer was standing behind me at the filing cabinet. I was speaking on the phone with a client when a coworker stepped into my office and started a lengthy conversation with the volunteer loudly enough that I couldn’t hear my own conversation on the phone anymore. I turned around and signalled for them to quiet down.
This already is bad enough. Shouldn’t it be understood that if you’re entering someone’s office and they’re on the phone, you should speak quietly to avoid disrupting their conversation? But that’s not even what sent me into a murderous rage. It gets better (meaning, worse). After I hung up, this exchange followed:
Volunteer: Sorry we were loud.
Co-worker: I’m not sorry.
Me: (Pause in shock) Maybe you should be.
Co-worker: I know I should be, but I’m not. I just feel like being bad today.
Really?! Really. Is this how we are treating each other now? Is this what the progress of civilization looks and sounds like? Because if it is, then I want absolutely no part of it. If we can’t treat each other with mutual respect and consideration and extend the most basic manners to one another, then I see little hope for this world to ever achieve a state of peace and harmony.
Please, folks, can we try to be a little kinder to each other? It takes so little effort, and really makes such a big difference. Please?