A good friend of mine often says "we live in a time in which right is wrong and wrong is right." For me his meaning was immediately clear the first time I heard it because it seems that disrespect and lack of courtesy have almost become the norm. Yes, there are certainly still kind, considerate people, but have you noticed an uprising of rudeness? I definitely have. Sometimes I call these pet peeves of mine, but I think they should be rules of conduct, in no particular order. Here's my list. Some of these things have actually happened to me. Let me know what you think, and feel free to comment with some of your own:
1. If you're entering a room or elevator, boarding a train, etc., allow people to exit first. It's a right-of-way thing.
2. If you eat or use the last of something, the last cup of coffee at your office, for instance, it's your job to replace it, make more, purchase more, you get the idea.
3. When someone offers to give you something, even if you don't want it, say 'thank you.' Better yet, say 'thank you for thinking of me.' They didn't have to, you know, and next time they could have something you really want. If you act like a mannerless ingrate, they probably won't bother to offer you anything else.
4. When you tell someone you're going to do something, make every effort to do it. If for a legitimate reason you can't, let them know as soon as possible.
5. Don't say hateful, critical, or hurtful things just because you can. Children do that. I often hear people bragging about their 'straightforwardness,' 'honesty,' or their knack for 'speaking their mind,' but adults should be mature enough to consider whether their words will be beneficial or detrimental. Sometimes this is simply a matter of making your point in a more constructive way, i.e., a suggestion without blame, and other times it's best to remain silent. It's called wisdom and self-control.
6. When you move something, put it back where it was, the way it was. Period.
7. Never show up at someone else's home without calling first. No, not even family. For all you know, they could be asleep, taking a shower, in the bathroom, or just not in the mood for company.
8. If someone is directly behind you when you open a door and go in, hold the door. don't just let it go as if you don't see them unless something's wrong your peripheral vision. Even then, you can feel someone on your heels so...Likewise, if someone holds the door for you, say 'thank you.' Don't just traipse in as if you think the door magically remained open for you. They didn't have to hold it. Like I just said, lots of folks don't these days.
9. I've noticed the arguments lately about service animals showing up everywhere. Just like pets don't belong everywhere, neither do kids. If, for some reason you have no choice and you have to take your child with you to some inappropriate place, it is your responsibility to make sure they behave. I recently had an experience where a group of women came into the theater with babies and toddlers. They climbed the stairs and went straight to the back, but a few minutes later they were eating loudly, talking, crying, moving about, and to make it worse, even the women were talking loudly. It was ridiculous. There was no way we could hear and enjoy the movie we'd paid for. Needless to say, we had to get a manager to remove them and they had the nerve to be angry.
10. Finally, and this is one of my biggest pet peeves. When someone shares an accomplishment with you, don't piss on it by interrupting them to tell them about someone else's accomplishment instead. It's like wearing a white wedding gown to someone else's wedding, or proposing at someone else's wedding. It's devaluing, rude, and a sure sign of jealousy.
When I became a USA Today Bestselling author, I shared it with an older woman who attended my first book signing some years ago. She's not a writer herself, but I thought she would be happy for me. Her response was "Oh, that's wonderful!. You've been writing a while, haven't you? So-and-so (a person I don't even know, who doesn't even write fiction) just became a New York Times Bestselling author!" Stunned for a moment, I said "I don't know her," then walked away.
So, with these 10, and believe me, they are just the tip of the iceberg, you can imagine how many more I can think of. I asked the question about pet peeves in my Facebook group a couple of weeks ago, so I will definitely revisit this topic in a future post with additional crimes of courtesy or the lack thereof. Life is hard enough without people attempting to bring each other down. What are some things you think should be rules of behavior?
Starting next week, I'll share some of the excerpts from our stories in "A Darker Shade of Evil: A Devils and Demons anthology."