Social Etiquette – The Forgotten Good-natured Behaviour Code


Commercialization has taken precedence over most of our good values! Is advancement in Science inversely proportional to advancement of ‘human-ness’? Ganesh Subramanian discusses our behavioural code which has changed with our so-called ‘advancement’ in this post.

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The biggest fear of advancement of mankind is that in the mad pursuit of developments and an equally insane dash for material possessions, somewhere there is a risk of losing our social values and a possible deviation from accepted behavioural norms. With crass commercialization of almost everything in humanity, good old values like respect for others, maintaining public decency, respect for elders etc., are well on their way towards a fast-tracked capital punishment.

The simplest example for illustrating this argument can be seen in the ubiquitous use of mobile phones. The problem is not in using mobiles per se, but in the way in which it’s being used in simple conversations. Often, while travelling in buses or trains, we see some strange specimens (let us say, Mr. X) shouting at the top of their voices into their mobile phones. Somewhere I feel that it won’t be a bad idea for Mr. X just to scream what he wants to say without actually making a call. The loud enough voice of M. X can be easily transmitted and heard via air without the need for 2 mobile phones and the network. This kind of behaviour demonstrated with scant regard for others in the surroundings is completely deplorable and irks others present in the vicinity. By the time the bus/train journey is over, all the passengers are sure to have a good knowledge of the entire background of Mr. X, courtesy the mindless telephonic screaming.

Another behaviour that can’t be called courteous is the failure to apologise when someone accidentally elbows others or stamps on the others’ feet accidentally in a crowd. Behaviour in restaurants, behaviour in traffic signals, behaviour while we wait in serpentine queues for some service – the list is never ending when it comes to exhibiting unacceptable behaviour. A funny incident that my friend narrated springs to my mind here. My friend and his college classmates went to a coffee shop for hanging out. One of his friends, after ordering for milkshake wanted to tell the waiter not to add ice to his beverage. As the waiter had moved away, this guy shouted at the top of his voice in his native language with a localised slang. This act attracted the eyeballs of all those who were present in the shop much to the embarrassment of the guy’s classmates. Some may feel what’s unacceptable in this. But the point, I am trying to make is that even small instances like this could have been handled subtly with a good understanding and awareness of the presence of public.

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All these instances point to the fact that good social behaviour has taken a backseat in this age of commercialization. It is upto each one of us to understand that what irks us also irks others and we must ensure that even if we can’t become role models of social behaviour, atleast we do not end up being a bad example of socially acceptable behaviour.

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