A Plea for Politeness

A Plea for Politeness

Being polite seems to be going out of style, when it's something to be practiced everyday.

Universities Abroad

Maybe it’s the Midwesterner in me, or maybe I’m just crazy, but I firmly believe politeness has gone out of style in our generation. I hate when people rag on a generation for no reason, but this time it is crucial--I feel as if being polite is genuinely slipping through the millennial cracks and becoming a thing of the past.

It could just be the fact that it’s New York, or this school could be the exception to the rule, but I have had the door slammed on my face because someone couldn’t be bothered to look back and hold it, and it's happened too many times for it to be just one person.

No, I’m not saying we should bring back the 1950s or that guys should be holding the doors for every female they see, but what I am saying is that we should have enough respect for each other to be polite. Yes, we can take the second derivative of an equation, or interpret a Shakespeare play, or memorize the periodic table, yet we fail to do something as simple as hold a door.

I get that we are all fast-paced--we have maybe 15 minutes to get across campus for classes and we all want to be first in the salad line at Trillium. But, politeness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture coupled with a top hat and a pea coat. It can be a small action that doesn’t take any extra time out of your day.

Simply smiling, holding the door so someone who is right behind you doesn’t get smacked in the face, taking your headphones out while talking to someone—all simple gestures that take no additional time. And when someone smiles back at you, or someone else holds the door for you, or when someone wishes you a good day because you engaged in an actual conversation, you will feel better too.

Being polite is a matter of respect. Everybody forgets to hold the door every once in awhile, but making a habit of showing those around you respect through basic acts of politeness should be a priority. We should all try and be conscious of how our actions could potentially affect others.

Trying to shove onto the bus before people get off isn’t helping anyone, not even you. Watching Tasty videos when you’re in the first row of the lecture hall is not only a direct slap in the face to your professor but is also distracting to all the people behind you. Subtweeting or posting about people on social media instead of directly talking to them is specifically meant to be hurtful and usually achieves the result. Doing these things actually muddies our life. Then we’re left with incomplete lecture notes, burned bridges, and an embarrassing memory of being told to wait your turn by the bus driver.

Us being polite makes our live easier. It also sets a positive trend in our environments and makes the days less difficult to get through. Being polite to someone encourages them to do the same. It doesn’t hurt to be kind to someone who isn’t your interviewer or professor or superior, and show them a little respect. You’ll appreciate it the next time you walk to class in the rain, and someone makes the effort to hold the door open so you don’t spend any unnecessary time getting soaked.
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