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Let’s Not Forget Civility

Let’s Not Forget Civility

It’s been a while since we talked about manners or civility around here—and considering the blog’s subtitle is as much about manners as writing, that just seems wrong.

Maybe the problem is that there seems to be so little civility in the world and I just don’t want the headache from beating my head against the wall. I see enough people trying to write well, so I believe that talking about writing is a discussion people want to have. But, manners?

I can’t be the only person who walks down the street shaking her head as the spoiled divas of the world pass by. Let’s call them DIPs (Delusionally Important People), because unlike rockstars, heads-of-state, and other assorted guests of honor, these people are only important in their own heads. (And, well, to their family members, I suppose.)


DIPs whizz through doors and not only don’t hold the door for people coming toward them, but they never glance back to see if there’s someone behind them. DIPs just let the door close.

DIPs stroll across roads and parking lots as if they have all the time in the world. They are not only full of the belief that you will stop your car (because, you know, it’s THEM), but they don’t even bother to look to make sure you see them. Of course you’ll stop!

But, also of course, when a DIP is driving the car, and reaching for their cellphone, their iPod, or their lunch, and somebody walks across the parking lot right in front of them? Well! They are immediately affronted that someone would dare. Doesn’t that hapless pedestrian know how busy/important/wonderful they are? They are just lucky the DIP is a (cough) truly good person who stopped out of the kindness of their heart … and incidentally to save their SUV from getting its paint scratched.

Actually, I think that’s the crux. DIPs think only of themselves in their day-to-day transactions. They cut in line because they (unlike the rest of the world) are too busy to wait. They expect special deals and bargains simply because they ask for it. They have no compunction about taking the last gallon of milk at the grocery store—even if a mother with three young children clinging to her skirt is reaching for it at the same time.

To be fair, however, not everyone is acting like a spoiled diva these days.

I find grace and kindness everywhere. Helpful bloggers who try to spread useful knowledge or words of encouragement. Tweeters who go out of their way to say nice things to other people. I’ve had people with full grocery carts let me and my two items go ahead of them. I’ve seen people hold doors not only for people in wheelchairs or with large packages, but even for able-bodied people.

It’s encouraging, really. Honestly, I think that those of us–and people like YOU–owe it to, well, the world to encourage polite behavior.

Because who wants to be a DIP?

16 thoughts on “Let’s Not Forget Civility

  1. Magnus Anton Lekay

    Manners are taught/learned. They must be put into practice and exercised like any muscle, or suffer atrophy of disposition. I don’t know if I would call people who lack civility delusional. I think they are arrogant, self serving, horribly abrasive tools (that spells out a lovely acronym) who look down at the world from towers built by mommy and daddy’s deficient parental skills.

  2. --Deb Post author

    That’s absolutely true. Though, watching some parents with their kids, I wonder how those children will ever learn any manners at all… (Or even basic self-preservation, like “Look both ways before you cross the street.”)

  3. Rona Maynard

    Speaking of grace and kindness, I have an example to share. After moving into a condo a few years ago, I had an huge, awkward armload of cut-up cardboard to leave in the garbage room. As I struggled to open the door without sending my debris flying, someone behind me said, “Let me help you.” I turned to see a man in a wheelchair, with a broad smile that instantly made me feel welcome in my new home. Until that moment, I’d always assumed that people in wheelchairs should be helped by people like me. How condescending! Everyone has the power to help someone else, and wonderful things happen when we use it.
    .-= Rona Maynard´s last blog ..Unfinished books: A reader’s confession =-.

  4. --Deb

    Brad–I can’t stand when people throw things from their car windows! Or, well, littering at all. Dropping a napkin when juggling a sandwich on a breezy day is one thing, but the people who just carelessly throw things away, not giving it a thought… And, the cigarette butts? My last dog liked to eat them–even though I TOLD her it could cause cancer! (grin)

    Rona–What a WONDERFUL story! It’s so easy to get caught up in those stereotypical assumptions, we all do it, even though we shouldn’t.

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  6. Susan Ideus

    I agree with you and I agree with Melissa. Politicians and commentators needs lessons in civility. What has happened to simple respect for the Presidential office? If you don’t like him/her, vote them out, but please accord them the courtesy of respecting the office itself.

    And drivers? I live in Houston, by circumstance, not by choice. Every day is a misadventure on the freeways. I come into town from the north where the cowboys in their big pick-ups rule the road. Horrendous! I love the term “DIP”. Fits the drivers here perfectly.
    .-= Susan Ideus´s last blog ..To Green Chile…thanks for the memories! =-.

  7. --Deb Post author

    Deb, it’s so easy to forget how rude we can be without thinking … even the nicest of us can slip up without meaning to. It’s the people who go through their day regularly being thoughtless that get under my skin (grin).
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Let’s Not Forget Civility =-.

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  9. CathyWebSavvyPR

    Just a silly note here, I enjoyed the post. your describing these people as DIPs reminded me of my favorite Bloom County cartoon.Binkley, Opus with beautific smiles on their faces & a grumpy looking Dad in the front seat driving in a car. A word bubble over each of their heads – “A boy and his panguin,” A penguin and his Boy,” and over the dad’s head “two DIPS and a Dad!” Always made me laugh. Binkley and Opus had that grace )most of the time, the dad was really the ‘DIP.’
    .-= CathyWebSavvyPR´s last blog ..Tips for Connecting the Social Media Dots =-.