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Lacking manners and rude realisations

Lacking manners and rude realisations



Most of us like to think that we have good manners. We regularly say, 'thanks' and 'thank you', let others exit lifts and trains before entering them, and say 'sorry' when asking people to move out of our way. 
Sounds good, right? 
The Cambridge English dictionary defines manners as "ways of behaving toward people, especially ways that are socially correct and show respect to their comfort and feelings". 
By and large, we are treating others the way we wish to be treated, so aren't acting rude, right? I certainly don't think we are. However, an experience at work made me realise that we can and should always try to be better.

tim-mossholder-8FBTtjCZ9oM-unsplash.thumb.jpg.2480481d70acc72f44d2351b1c209c13.jpgPhoto: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

Last week, as I exited the office on my way to the loo, two visitors approached me and asked whether a particular colleague was around. 
I'm ashamed to admit this, but in the past, I'd have replied something along the lines of, "Does she know you're here?" or "Have you called her?" and they said yes, I'd be on my way. 
We're so geared towards doing what needs to be done that we tend to either ignore things that don't concern us, or we just do the bare minimum so we can quickly be on our way. 
Anyway, I asked them to wait in the pantry while I called my colleague over. On my way out, I mentioned to them that my colleague "will be right out". 
Minutes later, I was surprised to discover that the visitors were still standing in the pantry, while my colleague was nowhere to be seen. Moments later, she appeared with her laptop, but went straight into a meeting room. I asked her if I should usher her guests in, but she said she'd take care of it. 
Not exactly rude, but... 
Now, I don't know if she had greeted the visitors and told them she'd need a few minutes before their meeting could begin. All I saw were two guests who looked like they were unattended to.
Not that I have a background in hotel management, but visitors to the office shouldn't be left alone, especially if they're waiting for someone. We should not risk letting them feel ignored or worse, unimportant.
This feeling of wanting to have better manners came about after visiting Taipei last month. During my holiday, there were several instances when I kept hurrying to pay as I ordered in a restaurant. However, there are many places - even small establishments - that don't collect payment till you're done eating.
So, there were numerous instances when I was told "吃完饭再付钱" (finish your meal first before paying) as I was counting notes from my wallet. I don't think I was impolite, but somehow, this rush to whip out cash seemed unrefined.

brooke-cagle-g1Kr4Ozfoac-unsplash.thumb.jpg.62a6fe242b77ed2580017dd21f52837f.jpg Photo: Brooke Cagle, Unsplash

I also realised that because we always rush to do things and go places, we often fail to acknowledge people in our presence. Think about the last time you thanked the staff in a shop as you left after browsing. Typically, as we leave a store, we are only accompanied by the sound of our footsteps.
Surprisingly, in many shops in East Asia, the staff will thank you as you leave even if you leave empty-handed. Perhaps they are better trained. Or maybe, it doesn't matter whether you bought something or didn't - your presence was still appreciated. It's these niceties that make shopping overseas pleasant.
I don't expect the same type of service in local shops because I think this sort of thing isn't in our culture. And frankly, perhaps most of us also don't expect such treatment, since kind/nice words won't convince us to buy things that hold zero appeal.
Be better 
"How can I be polite?" is now a recurring question in my mind. But it doesn't mean I'll dash across the road to approach people who look like they're lost. I'm not about to introduce myself to every new face in the office either. 
What I will do is pay more attention my personal interactions with people, and to try and ensure that I don't hurry through every interaction so that I can just go back to whatever I was doing. And while I'm at it, I should probably give a nod or polite smile to colleagues I see in the pantry, even if we're not actually acquainted.

- Jeremy 


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"Most of us like to think that we have good manners."

Are you kidding?

Never had a car from behind try to cut you up on a merging lane?

Never queued on left left lane to turn left and had a queue cutter from the middle lane cut you up?

We have the rudest drivers in the world in SG!


Good manners my toes are laughing.

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the say sorry makes me think of arron kwok. hahaha


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