View Full Version : Have good manners dissappered?

27-02-05, 20:16
I was listening to Radio 2 on Friday (BBC national radio station if you don't know) and they had a topic covering manners on Jeremy Vine. It seem a lot of people were saying that the standard of good manners seem to be in decline in the UK. The man he was interviewing on the matter said that in certain ways we view the manners of yesteryear with nostalgia and that only the parameters of what we regard as good manners has changed ie: it was once acceptable for men to urinate in the street. Do you think that the general manners of society has changed for the best or for the worst? If so give examples. I feel this is worth knowing as people on this site are interested in Japan, and Japan has a reputation of good manners and being a polite society

27-02-05, 20:27
I'm sorry to say that here in Belgium manners are very rare to witness. People don't get up for the elderly in public transportation for example, and in some restaurants the staff are extremely rude, are u done yet are u done yet, get the f***k outta here already, well inderectly :p

But i feel that as a whole manners are dissapering slowly in Europe, the newer and newer generations are growing more and more arrogant.

27-02-05, 20:42
Gee, this is difficult. I can only speak from personal experience, so please take what I say as such. Since you want concrete examples that's where I'll start.

Children's manners: I went to elementary school in the 60's, and although some people may think that kids were better behaved back then, I don't think they were any more polite than today's kids. Just looking at the surface, some kids in my classes in 2001-2003 behaved badly. But most of them kindly refrained from doing so when I asked them in a polite request. Examples, examples, of rude behavior:

laying legs on the desk/table during class.
talking aloud in a context not concerning studies
passing memo around during class
eating or drinking during class
boys pulling girls' hair
excercising irony, and hence disrupting instruction

The few instances where this simple solution did not work were usually family related cases. Unhappy situations at home or school were often the cause of rude behavior. On the whole, I would say that kids nowadays are much more responsive in communication. And I think without the strict, authoritarian upbringing that my generation are used to, the kids are more genuine and easier to communicate.

What I do miss is some basic manners that some parents fail to inform their children. One mother (my wife) would rather not teach the child (my son) the proper way to speak in a certain situation. I only had to let him know once what was proper, and that was enough. This example concerned how to properly say good-bye in Korean in the register of honorific. (=keigo h in Japanese?)

So as long as parents are willing to impart those basic manners, then the child will usually cooperate; all the better for him/her. If there is a slackening of manners, I think it is at least partially the parents' being irresponsibile in not caring to correct their child when it is really no big trouble for anyone.

EDIT: I thought I was the first to respond, but Duo beat me! :p
As for adults, I do find some adults misbehaving. I really hate it when I get asked or pressured to finish up and leave in a restaurant. I hate it when there is pressure (in the form of a frown) when people in a party each ordering a different dish. Funny thing is my companions are more than willing to co-operate even without pressure. I tend to be a bit more picky and avoid rude establishments as much as I can. I wonder why some business owners don't get it that rudeness is hurting their business? A harsh business owner usually gets paid back by losing customers: that should be obvious, but I guess not!

27-02-05, 23:52
As human's lives start to become more independent with the rise of technology, I see a steady decline in manners for everybody.


28-02-05, 01:57
Through my job, customer service, I deal with people everyday. Even a few minutes of interaction tells me a lot of things.
I would say 3/4 of the customers are well mannered, but there are a lot of middle aged people who have less manners than 8 year-old boy does.

I still think that the average Americans have more manners than Japanese in general, though. Small things such as saying 'thank you', holding doors for someone behind you or not talking w/ their mouth full, Japanese people are not accustomed.

mad pierrot
28-02-05, 14:03
It all depends on how you define good manners. In general, I think no, people aren't less polite than in the past. There were rude @ssholes then and there are rude @ssholes now. Based on my experience, manners vary the most according to location. Obviously you'll get more people bumping into you in the city then the countryside. That, and standards are changing as well. I'm always amazed by the manners I've found in rough places. For example, visiting Mongolians in Ulaan Baatar. (Not the best of cities.) The people I met were incredibly hospitable, despite the fact the most of the city is stricken with poverty and crime. And, on a lighter note, some bars on the South Side of Chicago also know how to keep the peace. You'd be surprised how well bouncers do their job.


28-02-05, 15:52
In general I have seen a steady decline in civility in the US and worldwide over the last thirty-five years. Not only has the culture declined into a morass of rude behavior, but notable individuals--persons I would unfortunately classify as "opinion-leaders"--have begun to set examples for others to follow. And follow we have.

Bad manners are the most visible example of the lack of cultural civility. I rue the passing of good manners and acceptable behavior in my countrymen and sadly observe how the rest of the world has been going, or seems to be heading in the same direction.

28-02-05, 17:21
They have! People tend to think they aren't nescessary anymore, not even being nice to people... People have become rude and egoistic. (Maybe not ALL people..)

I think manners are importat, and it's not too hard to act a little nice once in a while!

28-02-05, 20:00
Sometimes I feel like the only person that has good manners anymore where I live. I mean I actually say "please" and "thank you" to people, nod my head to acknowledge people, hold the door for people, etc. I just pisses me off that people just don't care anymore. That's why I act stoic around people. It makes them think twice about being rude to me, and not using manners. (scaring people is fun:D)


28-02-05, 21:54
They have! People tend to think they aren't nescessary anymore, not even being nice to people... People have become rude and egoistic. (Maybe not ALL people..)

I think manners are importat, and it's not too hard to act a little nice once in a while!
...but the largest problem seems to me to be what shall/should we do about it. In my experience, the most difficult thing in the world to accomplish is to nudge one's culture in the correct--from one's particular point of view--direction. The counter-culture drive that seems to urge our cultures in this vile direction resists all attempts to redirect emphasis away from rudeness and excessive candor.

Sometimes what I consider to be rude and impolite is to others nothing more than overly blunt honesty. When a lady asks her man: "Do I look fat in this dress?" she ain't looking for total honesty, and it is at least impolite to give it to her. It is also not very bright, if you don't look forward to sleeping on the sofa.

But that is the way we seem to be going. When we are not being rude, we are being "honest" at the expense of the feelings of others. Often one looks very much like the other.

So I repeat my initial question: What do we do about it? I dunno.

Sensuikan San
03-03-05, 05:02
This is one of my own personal "pet-peeves" of today !

Yes - IMHO, common courtesy seems to be rocketing into extinction! (Even in business situations) I do not quite understand why .... perhaps it's because rude and objectionable kids don't get a good whack on the backside any more. As a kid, if I was rude or impertinent ..... I did !

(Boy ! I have $20 says that might even start another thread !)

I do tend to feel that there is also a link to marketing, and enhanced expectations. It appears that, if you can't get exactly what you want - then it's OK to go berserk! My wife is also in customer service and has recounted to me some horrifying stories!

What do you do about it ? Play hardball !

I have tended recently to simply let people know that I feel insulted. When asked why - I let them know ... with both barrels !

If you want to be rude ... don't f ..... sorry ! "Don't tread on Me !"

Before you think that I'm just "joining the clan" - I should point out that the results can be quite amazing ! It would appear that discourteous, brusque folks always feel "in control". They simply don't expect anyone to react with anything but subservience. Comes as quite a shock to "get their own back" !

It's probably not the correct way to deal with it - but,sadly, it does seem to work !

.....until get smacked in the mouth, that is .... ! (Come back, 1965 ... all is forgiven!)



03-03-05, 14:56
I agree sometimes you have to give it back like you get it. Some people lack the perception to realize when you have insulted them politely (though it's fun when others in the room notice).

But in seriousness, I think Shooter452 has a point in saying that honesty can get in the way of politeness, although maybe it's a matter of being honest too bluntly, rather than honesty per se. You can still be honest as long as you are sensitive to your interlocutor's feelings and phrase what you want to say in an appropriate way. Subtlety is important, and in this aspect I think Japanese culture is quite advanced.