Is Having Good Manners Becoming a Lost Art?

By Flora Posteraro

You send a friend a text-nothing.  You make a call, leave a message- no reply.  You send an email about a party, work project or anything else-crickets!  Someone is running late and they don’t bother to let you know! Has this happened to you?  It has happened to me. It has happened to everyone. What has happened to Good Manners? Is it becoming a Lost Art?  Are we so self-centered and arrogant that we no longer feel the need to respond and just ignore?

I was raised to be cordial, polite and reply to people who reach out.  When I was growing up, you could not text, e-mail or leave a message. Most communication was done by writing letters.  That took time and effort but we always replied. Can you just imagine if that was still the case today? Putting time and effort into a response?  Let’s face it. Technology has made life easier. You don’t need a pen, paper, envelope, stamp, and a trip to the post office to respond. You just type and hit send!  It’s not that difficult.

We’ve all missed an email here and there and zoned on a text.  That’s not what this is about. This is about serial ghosting. Why do they do it?  Is it laziness? Is it a lack of courage or guts to reply when the answer is no? Are they waiting for something better to come along?  Or is it just a lack of common courtesy? Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, silence is not golden in this case.    

My motto in life is simple.  I treat others the way I want to be treated.  I sincerely try to reply to everyone, even social media which can be overwhelming.  I recently got a message from someone on Facebook and of course, I replied. They wrote back “I was not expecting that quick of a response.”  I replied, “I respond to everyone. It’s the polite thing to do.” Truth, I don’t respond to everyone. If I get a text, email or social media message that is inappropriate or too personal, then I may not reply or I simply say, “No personal questions please and thank you”.

It truly boils down to one word, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Aretha Franklin got it right! Let’s just show each other a “little respect”.  It takes seconds to reply to a text. A few minutes to reply to an e-mail, social media message or return a phone call.  Even if you don’t have the answer, reply and acknowledge the other person. No one is “that” busy that they can’t reply. I try to reply within 24 hours.  Sometimes I miss messages on social media but when I do reply, I apologize. And if you are running late, let the other person know and NOT 5 minutes before you are supposed to get together!  It’s Good Manners. I sincerely hope this doesn’t become a Lost Art.