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July 15, 2009

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I think it's a little silly that we are discussing the 'politeness' of blogging - I thought the entire MO 'of blogging' was to vent or relate to each other with respect and courtesy --- withOUT a bunch of 'rules.' To me, it doesn't matter if someone replies to me directly or not - I get satisfaction that I can "say my piece" and be anonymous and that's it.... :-?

I agree about being polite 'in the real world,' We can make the world better through small niceties and should pass it on to our children by being an example.

The traffic rudeness always ticks me off. If I make room for you to wedge your car in front of me, all I ask is for a little wave. How hard is that?

And while I'm so forgetful with thank you notes (rude, I know...I beat myself up over it) I try to make up for it in other ways. I do insist on manners for my daughters. Mira's first phrase was "thank you" and I'm proud of that one.

I always get a kick out of how SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED people are by my SO POLITE children. Um, yeah, I taught them to hold the door for people. And, no, not just the boys.

i thought of this post yesterday...Pregnant Woman (me) holding a toddlers hand (pullign toddler along), pushing a stroller, LIMPING with an ace bandage wrapped around a destroyed ankle...and a restaurant employee shoves several chairs in front of the (visibly in pain) Pregnant Woman while trying to walk out, doesnt move them even when asked and then while struggling to move the chairs herself, keep toddler from running away and opening the restaurant door while pushing the stroller all on one leg, two men comment- from right next to her: "wow, that looks exhausting." If she had the energy Pregnant Woman would have smacked them.

I truly believe that not everyone knows how to be polite. There are people that go through life only thinking of themselves and nobody else. I think it's important to teach proper behavior to our kids so they don't grow up to be rude adults.

Scene: airport security, Hartford, CT.
I am struggling to hold my 10 month old wiggler, keep an eye on my 5 year old, hoist our bags onto the conveyor belt, get shoes, belt, liquids, etc into the tray, and fold the stroller to go through the x-ray. I politely but in a strained voice ask the TSA worker (male, probably late 20s) "Hey, can you give me a hand?"

He starts clapping.

CLAPPING?!?!?! What an asshat. Then, he also did not help me. I had to be polite so as not to be whisked back for a quick feel-up, but SRSLY. I cannot even believe how shitty he was.

new to your site. I so, so agree. I could tell you stories...
I have worked for the Loft p/t for 9 years and have more retail rudeness stories than I care to note. And don't get me started on the creativity of people who steal!

Re: Comments on blogs.

It's my understanding that most blogs (or blog posts) are intended as conversation starters. It's a call to action to your particular community (in this case, mommies). The comment section is a necessary part of this. Whether a response comes from the blogger or another reader, the point remains the same: to get people talking.

I'm a thank you note nazi. I get made fun of for keeping in touch with people and remembering important dates. I totally get this post as I hate not getting 'the wave' returned when driving, etc.

That being said, last night I realized my dog was loose and had been gone quite some time. Half my block came together at 9 at night to look for her. One watched my girls while I searched for the dog. Another few knocked on doors looking for the dog. Through a few clues from people who had seen her (in the morning!) We found the house she was staying at 2 streets over. My dog was lovingly being cared for by another family. They were at that very moment creating flyers to post the next day. I felt so touched and amazed by all that kindness from friends nad total strangers.

I'm totally writing that family a thank you note today and personally walking it over there.

And yes, my dog is now wearing her collar again. Whew!

re: bloggers responding to posts

IMO, as a reader and sometime commenter on many different sorts of blogs (but not a writer of one): No response necessary.

If I've felt the need to comment on your blog, it's pretty much a closed loop. If I want conversations, I'll chat on one of the many listservs and usergroups I'm a member of. Or, go to Facebook and converse with people I am related to or have some deeper connection to than their blog makes me laugh. (there are a few bloggers I wouldn't mind knowing better tho'.)

A few years ago, when most of the bloggers seemed to be reading and commenting on each others blogs, it really irritated me as it just seemed like everyone was fluffing up everyone else's numbers. Some sets of blogs collectively read like the notes passed between some clique at school. It's great that so many of bloggers know and love each other, but, keep in mind that non-blogger readers can be turned off by too much in-crowd chit-chat.

I have a couple blogs I DON'T post on b/c I feel I'm creating work for an already overworked person. KNowing that posts have slowed down a lot since the new baby/job loss, etc., and the remaining posts are about not keeping up, I hate to add to their to-do list.

I've gotten replies from people who haven't included my comment or a link or even their blog name. Since I may not be on-line for days at a time, by the time I get such replies, I have no idea who they are, what they said, what I commented. So, the effort on their part was pointless.

People are just plain rude. Here, even people who are working in the service industry are rude. I can't tell you how many times, when I'm buying something, I get told "here you go" when the person hands me my receipt. I worked retail for 10 years and you can bet that I thanked my customers.

Supposedly people in the Midwest are supposed to be nicer (than who? Don't know.) but they are not. I've thought about ways to reward the few polite people that still exist, but my ideas are generally not feasable.

And on the flip side of the holding doors, when someone holds a door for you...say THANK YOU.

@ Maureen -
Yours is no small gripe, literally. I completely cannot believe that no one gives up their seat on the bus to a visibly pregnant woman. I ride the bus to and from work everyday, and am only 9 weeks pregnant, and I don't hesitate to tell the youngsters that like to fill up the front seats to slide over or get up because my morning sick self is going to sit down. Even before I was pregnant, most of the time when the bus is full, men give up their seats for women, and younger for older, etc., with only limited reminders needed. And I live in the hood! (although it is a midwestern hood)

I always try to be conscious of who is coming in or going out of an establishment when I'm at the door, and if someone is nearby, I hold the door. I don't even really care who it is, though I'll definitely make more of an effort - wait longer, or go to the door even if I weren't going there anyway - for someone like a mom struggling to wrangle her kids, or an elderly person with a walker, or someone equally deserving of extra effort. Still, though, I hold the door for pretty much anyone.

One time, I held the door at Starbucks for this middle-aged man. He walked through looking at me sort of bewildered. "Thanks," he said. Then he stopped and said, "Wow, no one's ever held a door for me before." I was SHOCKED. How could someone go 40+ years of life without ever having a door held for them?

It's a sad world we live in sometimes.

Thanks @Melissa! You're hired!

And @Beth - great post. I'm taking a cue from you and picking up the phone more often.

Interestingly, one of your previous posts inspired me to write one very similar to what you're saying now. Your post about your sister being too busy to call Quinlan on her birthday made me stop and think about how, with two kids, I'm really busy, but that's no excuse to not call and say thank you or even shoot an e-mail to my mom to say hi.

www.mommynonsense.com/2009/07/busy-is-no-excuse.html

Thanks for the ongoing inspiration. Rude people suck, and I hope I'm not too busy to notice when I'm being the rude one.

These types of things drive me nuts! My kids' daycare is in the same building as a city-run senior apartment complex. You better believe that if there is a resident within half a block of the door that my 5 year old will (be told to) hold the door open for them (out of the way of their walkers, too). We have the responsibility as parents to teach our kids these simple acts of decency. Shame on the big dude for not using that opportunity to teach his son a lesson in common courtesy.

BTW, the other one that really pisses me off: speeding up to get ahead of me when you see me turn on my turn signal. Because, you know, that extra car length is really going to get you to your destination faster. Grrr...

It's constantly surprising, the incivility that runs rampant through the populace. Someone flipped me th bird the other day, because I waited for another car to exit the parking lot first.

While I can be a complete ass most days, Thank You and Please are daily words. Because it's the right thing to do.

And my kids know damn well that they are to be respectful of others.

Please delete my comment, but this typo changes the meaning of the sentence/post so I thought I'd let you know.

"...so plugged into our own lives that we CAN step back for a moment and reach out to others around us..."

I LOVE YOUR BLOG.

Yes. Being polite is a constant teaching point. Although I continue to struggle with getting "Thank You" notes out to folks, I am right on task about acknowledging kindnesses right in front of us. The kids know to say "Thank You" to anyone who holds the door open for us and they hold the door for anyone coming in/out of a store. Great point to bring up for the day!

Heh. I fell down the stairs at work and landed sideways on my ankle and it hurt. Badly. Like tears leaking out, almost hyperventilating, can't stand. A guy walked past me asked if I was okay (duh), I said I had just sprained my ankle. He says, "Oh." and TURNS AROUND AND WALKS AWAY.

(Turns out I actually had an avulsion fracture from that)

I was about 30 weeks pregnant and crossing the street at work where they were doing construction so the road was really uneven. A woman crossing the other way tripped over the pavement and her stuff went flying. Even though there were about 30 other people around (including many of my own coworkers) I was the only one who stopped to help her.

And this is in Vancouver, Canada.

I have a good friend who was walking into an office building with a two-year-old. She was also about seven months pregnant. She fell in the parking lot's crosswalk - splat right on her huge pregnant belly, laying on the ground still holding her toddler's hand. TWO men walked right past her without so much as asking if she was ok. Appalling.

Whenever someone does something nice I always thank them profusely and loudly. And when someone is rude I am just as loud. I'm probably going to get beat up one of these days.

I'm working hard to teach my children manners and respect, both by showing them and by doing it myself.

I have to admit, though, that I am horrible at RSVPs and even worse at thank-you notes. The RSVP thing- well, I used to do it all of the time. Then, when I found myself calling every single person on the list for my own "surprise" wedding shower...then for my "surprise" baby shower...yeah. I said forget it. I'm done. I know that isn't right and I should continue to be the better person, but really, I'm still bitter about it- when not a single person I've known in the past 10 years has the common courtesy to RSVP to ME, I'm finished. Maybe I'll get over it some day.

Thank you notes- I'm working on doing that. I never did; my mom made us do it once, but it never became habit, and that's one of my goals. Actually...I owe my sister-in-law a thank you note. I'm going to go write it right now.

@MU - Thanks for giving me your opinion. As a mom of 4, I do know how busy our lives can get and how responding to comments can be time-consuming. I guess I've just noticed a shift in things, and wanted to hear your viewpoint. A few bloggers and I were discussing this comment issue and whether or not it was polite and necessary or understood that replies weren't necessarily coming back in relation to the number of readers who never leave their feeds to actually visit the blogs the read.

@TFB - Then I would never get the laundry folded!

I am SO with you. Living in NY, the thing I see the most is people not letting others get off the train, elevator, or bus, before going in. Come on people!

And when you let someone go ahead of you in line because they one have a thing or two, and they just go, without saying anything. And when you hold the door for someone else, despite the fact that you are also holding a child. You are welcome, a**hole.

@Theresa and MU...

To make replying to comments a breeze, use the TypeKey comments feature available on Typepad. Comments show up in your email, and all you have to do is reply, (right in your email) to the comment and it goes where it should. Such a breeze. It almost makes it too easy.

As far as the etiquette, I try to reply to every question asked in them, and to every comment that I find funny or interesting, or even something I can argue with. I don't sense an obligation, but I do like to interact with my readers. Some bloggers take the firm stance of never replying to anything, which is fine. Some bloggers respond in detail to every comment, and I don't really find that necessary (meaning, just because I'm leaving a comment doesn't mean I expect a lengthly email from you.) But yeah, if you have TypeKey, and the whole thing is as simple as hitting the Reply button in your email client, then why not?

I don't know how standard that is, but those are my personal feelings on it.

Just a small gripe, but what are these niceties for pregnant people of which you speak?? I ride a very crowded bus to and from work every day. I am 35 weeks pregnant. I have never, ever had anyone offer me a seat, and I have been visibly pregant for a long time. No one even makes eye contact with me (I promise, I don't smell or anything!). Sure, there's no rule that pregnant women should be treated differently, but try keeping your balance on a city bus with all the potholes and people's bags and elbows, etc. I have to work twice as hard not to fall on other people.

I realize there are assholes everywhere, so I don't get too bent out of shape about drivers and door holders. My pet peeve is GRADUATION PARTIES - if the kid doesn't know to do it, then the parent should inform them. FIVE Grads in TWO years and only ONE thank you card. Also - if I send you a Christmas gift, at least TEXT me that you got it. I don't need formal Thank You's for Birthdays and Christmases, but acknowledgement, whether in person at the gathering, or even an email, goes oh-so-far in my decision to ever purchase anything for you again. Too bad one of the biggest offenders is my brother and I'm kinda STUCK with him...

Thank you notes are a pain- I just wrote 35 of them for a wedding shower that was thrown for me- but they are courteous and necessary. As a child my Mom's best friend said the only thank you note she got one year after sending out boxes of gifts to friends & family was from me- a small construction paper drawing with "thank you" in 4 year old writing. She kept it on her fridge for a year and I was the only person who got a gift the next year. Once I *didn't* send a thank you note and my Godmother, upon realizing she never got one, knew I hadn't gotten my gift. Sure enough, in July she tracked down a china doll she'd mailed me for Christmas - it was sitting in a warehouse somewhere. I got Christmas in July...and sent a thank you note.

Manners remind others that you know the world doesn't center around you...even if we sometimes wish or think it does! :-)

I couldn't agree with you more! Especially after last night. We went to the Harry Potter premier and I swear if one more person walked directly into my 8mo pregnant belly I would have gone postal and punched somebody in the throat. I am short not invisible!

And I can't tell you how many times in the past few months I have been walking behind someone and just had the door slammed right in my face. What the hell??

I'm glad both my husband and I are on board with teaching this kid MANNERS and COMMON COURTESY to others. This is ridiculous.

I think all those people who are "extra nice" to pregnant people are a myth, at least here where I live.

Good for you. I teach my kids to do the same. Hold the door for others. Thank people who do kind things for them. I hope that the generation we are raising will be a little better than ours.

Amen.

I find here at work people are generally courteous about holding doors, something about you 'seeing' their faces. But get them into cars in the parking lot? All heck breaks loose and you are in severe danger if you don't look 1000 directions at once. (I still work with you people!)

We were at an event this weekend where there was a petting zoo. There was a line to get in and most everyone waited, as civilized human beings do. But by the time wit was our turn, when the guy opened the gate no fewer than two families and one stray kid went barrelling in in front of us. I stopped one of the women and said, "There's a line here. We've all been waiting." But her kid had already run in ahead of her so the guy had to let her in. Normally I would have been all pissy about it, but it's hard to be mad when your 19 month old oohing and aahing over a baby bunny.

Indeed.

I've always found it strange that people will do kind things for pregnant people (hold doors, give up a seat on a bus, etc.), then totally turn a blind eye when you *really* need some assistance once baby is on the outside... when juggling baby and stroller and whatever.

It's almost as if people kind of enjoy seeing the suffering. Weird.

-Christine

And as far as hating thank you notes? It doesn't matter how you FEEL about it. You still have to do it, or risk being a jerk.

I think the door etiquette thing is what I've been most surprised by lately. Or how quick to anger people are on the road- if they only knew I had to slam on my brakes because the car ahead of me did, or whatever. People are too self absorbed and thinking about the next place they gotta be or thing they have to do... I hope we can get back to living in the present and acknowledging the people in it with a smile, and courtesy.

Steph

I think "the little wave" when driving is crucial. It says "Hey, we're both humans here, and I recognize that you and I are in this together."

Thus, when I let someone in and they don't give me the sign, I'm yelling in my car, "Where is my LITTLE WAVE?"

@Theresa - I think many people try to send emails and comment back. But I think that takes a lot of time (at least, it does for me).

It's a lovely courtesy if you have the time and energy to do it, but I think it's commonly understood that most people won't be able to.

On my own part, I do read (and appreciate) every comment and often times comment back when I do have the chance.

I Totally agree. Nothing pleases me more than to see those aholes that were in such a rush get stopped by the next light or someone else walk right in front of them forcing them to slow down. I usually pass them and laugh!

This is why I'm happy to wait for my 8yo son as he holds the door for 15 people when we go in or leave a store or restaurant. I like to see him do nice things for others. I also make him write thank you notes for birthday and Christmas presents. All the relatives say it's not necessary, but I think it is. Some of the little nuances of politeness seem to have just died in our society.

I try to give the door dropper and otherwise rude people an out by thinking of a reason for their rudeness -- like, "perhaps they're just not awake yet this morning". Before I had children, I never thought of doing some of the things I now do because I appreciate others doing them for me. Things like offering to hold a door for a mom with a stroller, or offering to take back a shopping cart when mom is alone with the kids. I hope to show the good example rather than let the bad examples bring me down.

I read this and was surprised by the subject. I must live in a really great city but I thought I would offer a counter to the post to give you some hope in our fellow man :)

I live in a small city in Ontario (Canada) and I am continuously amazed by the nice people who live around me. When I have both kids at the supermarket, I am routinely asked by people if they can take my cart back for me. That boggles my mind because before kids, that would never have occured to me as an offer of help.

I am also helped by random strangers throughout the day with the little things that really make my day like doors being held open and funny faces to entertain the baby when I have my attention divided and he gets fussy.

I am always sure to be very appreciative so the person knows they have made my day and my kids see just how far a little good deed goes.

I was taught by my grandmother to always write thank yous. To this day I always do and to be honest not just out of appreciation out of habit. That being said I just received a thank from a co-worker for giving her lots of books to read this summer. May sound silly, but it made me feel so good! I was pleasantly suprised to feel so good about being appreciated!

I would love to hear your opinion on responding to comments left on blogs. Back when I first started a blog, in 2002-2003, it seems as if every comment received some sort of response, either via email or withing the comments themselves.

I admit, I took a long hiatus and things are very different now than they were in late 2007 when I left.

Just figured that might be a question worth asking, given the nature of your post.

And so I don't get bashed here because people read more into this than was intended, I don't read blogs of people I don't like. :)

@Marinka - My feeling has always been, if they took the time to buy a gift, it's only fair that we take time to write the note (I have Q do it herself. She draws a picture and writes a few words).

If not, she does at least send an email. From her own account.

I think acknowledgment in some way is good. I'm really talking about when there are no thank yous at all.

I have to say that I am constantly amazed at the people who nearly mow me and my two children down in the crosswalk at Target. It's just embarrassing.

I'll be the unpopular one and say that I hate, HATE thank you notes. I have my kids thank their friends for the gifts at the party, but I find thank you notes a waste of time, paper and postage. Sorry. (It doesn't help that I'm really lazy).

hell to the yeah. It is just right. i think the same.

There is a woman in my building at work who barrels into the elevator without letting anyone get off first. I swear, one of these days I'm "accidentally" taking her down.

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