Thursday, September 9, 2010

Manners, Part II

So, after posting about "thank you" notes, and considering good manners vs. bad manners, it makes me wonder sometimes about the sincerity of polite behavior. Is it better to behave mannerly when you don't really mean it, or to just go on about your day avoiding or ignoring others...when maybe that's just the way you are? Maybe I should give an example to clarify what I'm pondering here.

Ok, so a person walks into the post office, stops (does not turn around), and holds the door for the person coming in behind. The door-holder does not smile, does not acknowledge the other person, does not make eye contact, and does not respond to the offered "thank you." Is this better than someone who just walks on through the door and lets the follower open his/her own door? I guess I'm curious as to whether there are people who publicly display "good manners," yet seem to give the act of being proper more credence than the purpose of the action: interacting more graciously and kindly with the people around you. Does the forced act of holding a door (because your mama taught you to!) outweigh the effort when you really just don't feel like opening the door? Should good manners be second-nature, or should they be consciously adhered to for the sake of doing what one SHOULD DO?

Somehow, I feel more comfortable living side-by-side in this world with the person who just doesn't open the door at all (I can open my own door!) than the person who opens it, and when I smile and thank him/her, the door-holder just turns away as if I weren't even there. Hold the door for me if you want to hold the door for me....but don't JUST do it because you think that's what is right. False and insincere manners are worse than no manners at all.

No comments: