Does Rudeness in Society Bug You?

Whoopi Goldberg You’re driving the speed limit, but the car behind you is riding your bumper. As soon as he gets a clear space he drives beside you and calls you the B-word. You’re trying to get to a meeting or a luncheon, and a woman, man, or teenager is distracted because he or she is on the phone without realization or care that he or she is holding up traffic. You’ve bought $200 worth of groceries, but the clerk who barely notices you, doesn’t say “Thank you.” You buy a present for a friend or relative, and they don’t say “Thank you.” You send someone a card for a holiday or for friendship, wedding, anniversary, graduation, illness, or just because you want to cheer them up, but they never acknowledge receiving said card. And here’s a better one: You’re in a drugstore and a woman insists that you buy generic aspirin because it’s cheaper. You politely thank her and tell her you’ve done the math, and you're getting adequate savings with your on choice. But she still insists that you buy the cheaper one –- her choice. If you’re fed up with rudeness as Whoopi Goldberg and I, you’ll be glad she has tackled this humongous issue head-on in her new book, Is It Just Me: Or is it Nuts Out There? She’s bugged by people’s insensitivity and rudeness. When was the last time you heard someone say “Thank you” when you held a door for them, an elevator door, or a door anywhere? And how about those people who smoke on the street right in front of the building you’re going into? Their smoke is irritating because of fear of second-hand smoke, you have lung problems, or you don't want that rancid scent on your clothes. Goldberg said she kept notes for a year, and asked other people their thoughts about rudeness and its effects on them. She gives some of the worst of the worst: How about the "congressman who heckled the president" on live TV during Obama’s address? And "politics are just (expletive) nasty." She renders honest and keen sense on our lack of civility. Goldberg says she still smokes, so she said she isn’t perfect either. She said drunk drivers and people who text behind the wheel irk her enough that their cars should be taken for an indefinite time. I love her chapters, "If You Can’t be Witty, Don’t Be Shitty" and "If You Don’t Want to Hear the Answer, Don’t Ask the Question," and "Role Models Will Disappoint You." I hope people know this one about celebrities and athletes. Time and time again, we gripe about the Lindsay Lohans and the Charlie Sheens of Hollywood. The public loves to hear about the faux pas or bad behavior of these glamorous or A-list stars, but some of us are sick and tired of them and their antics. We’re even more disgusted when they get special treatment after breaking the law. For example, Paris Hilton got nabbed for having cocaine in her purse, but got a fine and probation unlike if she’d been an African-American or Hispanic. And how about those athletes? We know that story so well I don't even have to go there. Goldberg has struck a spot of major blunders, no doubt, and I expect her book to sell well. Rudeness is so ingrained in our society that I’m not sure many people even know when they’re being rude. Some of the chapters include: -- Even Steve Jobs Turns Off His Cell Phone -- Louder, They Can't Hear You in the Lobby -- A Civil Person's Handy List -- Play Nice or Stay Home -- Buddy is the new N-word -- You Respect My Opinion, I'll Respect Yours -- A Civil Person's Handy List -- How Not to slow Down a TSA Screening: She lists things not to bring or wear on the plane. -- Should We Be Worried About This? I say absolutely because we're all going to hell in gasoline pants or drive the rest of us insane. I didn't read these phone etiquette problems that fall in line with nasty habits: You have a call in progress, and you switch over to see who's beeping you. You hold a conversation too long to leave you party on hold. You've gotten a call from a friend or family member. Do you hang up without an explanation as to why you must go? I always use this rule: If I get a call from someone, I give them the opportunity to say good-bye. If I call them, I find a polite way to get off the phone, if necessary, without lying. If I'm busy with something that needs my attention right then, I'll ask if I can call them back at a designated time. Some people say they'll call back, but it's two days before they do. Some never return the call as promised. I've had a so-called friend who told me ten years ago that she'd call back. I don't call people back if they never return a promised call except when I was a journalist needing an interview or information. Otherwise, that's a rude indication that they're not interested in talking to me. Of course, if it was my mother, I'd call her again. But my mother isn't a rude person and she would call back as pomised. Goldberg's book is a must read, particularly for people who're bugged about rudeness and those who need to learn something about civility. It seems that many people have forgotten their home training, they've never learned anything about civility, or they're rude because everybody else is doing it. That makes it acceptable, doesn't it? Oh, I forgot, how about those people who never say they're sorry because they've done nothing wrong when they've clearly disrespected someone or hurt another person's feelings? Or they might've been just plain rude. With all the anger and violence we have, rudeness could lead to bodily harm or death.

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  • Joyce Evans-Campbell

    Thanks Kelly. I alway appreciate feedback. I believe it takes a special kind of person to reach out respect another write and validate her work.

  • Joyce Evans-Campbell

    Thank you Nonqaba for commenting. I think this is a hot-button issue, and I'm grateful to Whoopi for reaching out and grabbing its tail.

  • Nonqaba waka Msimang

    it does bother me, but it also scares me. So much anger out there! I also have my problems but i contain them when i'm interacting with the world.