I noticed recently that, when it comes to manners and politeness (which really should be ‘policy’, don’t you think?), the Golden Rule is very much in effect, if subconsciously.
What I mean by that is that people might do something mean or rude, and that’s certainly not treating others the way you would like to be treated; but when someone does something polite, it’s usually because they see it as polite. And that’s the way they would like to be treated.
Here are a few examples:
If you go to a person’s house on a semi-regular basis, and they consistently offer you something to drink, when they come to your house, they expect to be offered something to drink. They probably don’t even realize it, but the expectation is there.
If someone covers their mouth when they yawn or sneeze, they expect you to do the same.
If someone always RSVPs to invitations (on time), they expect that when they send you an invitation, you will reply, as well, in the negative OR the affirmative, also on time.
If someone always asks what they can bring when you invite them for dinner, they expect that to be one of your first questions, as well, when they invite you.
Obviously, manners are somewhat relative to culture. They do seem to also be subjective to people. If, when we visit foreign countries, we do the research to respect the customs of the natives there (unlike our President…but don’t get me started), don’t you think it might behoove us to pay attention to the exhibited manners and subconscious expectations of our friends and family? Otherwise, we will clearly be seen as rude.
I have a feeling this is something I need to work much harder at.