In the past few weeks, I’ve been shocked by some students’ tendencies to forget the basic manners we were taught as early as preschool. Whether it is a lesson in playing nice with other kids or putting things back where they came from, it doesn’t matter if you’re 2 or 22, basic manners are all a part of common courtesy.
Maybe in the complete chaos of our busy lives we have forgotten the simple ways to present ourselves as well-mannered human beings, not cavemen and women. Or maybe it’s because we are too lazy to even care.
You can all thank a gentleman from the South for my soapbox this week. In a Q&A article I stumbled upon at msn.com, a young man asked if it was still acceptable for a man to hold a door open for a woman. Apparently someone in the northeast glared at him for holding a door open, driving him to submit his question to the online forum.
Perhaps it’s because we are more relaxed on the West Coast, but I think it’s perfectly acceptable, and maybe ignorantly expected, for a man to hold a door open for a woman. I’m not saying that they should wait and usher us in, but at least prop it open so the door doesn’t slam in our faces.
It’s one of those etiquette quirks I think is really important. If you are a guy and are shaking your head right now, please know it’s not that women are lazy or trying to be damsels-in-distress, but it’s just a nice thing to do. It’s not even a man-versus-woman thing, either. Women should also be held to the same level of door etiquette.
This whole holding-the-door-open business got me thinking about other basic manners that I see ignored all of the time here on campus.
Let’s move on to burping in public. I’m not going to lie: Every once in a while, it’s awesome to rate your friends’ burps (or even your own) on a scale of one to 10, but there is a time and place. In your room or apartment? Go for the world record of the loudest, longest, most disgusting belch! If you are in a class or an office or another public place, it’s better not to go for your personal best. If you can’t hold it, lest you fear you’ll explode, have the decency to say “excuse me” at least. Two words. It’s really not that difficult (especially for those of you who can burp the alphabet).
Next, chances are you share your space with more than one person. Whether the shared space is your room or an office, it’s a space where you have to respect each other in order to get along. That being said, pick up after yourselves! I am not your mom, your RA is not your mom, your roommate is not your mom; at some point you will have to learn how to pick up after yourself. If you make a pot of mac and cheese in the kitchen, here’s a thought: Clean it up. You are not supposed to wait long enough for it to become a radioactive mess of cheesy goo (and don’t try and argue that you are in the midst of an experiment) to clean up.
Moving on. Do you ever get the feeling that you are in junior high or high school once again? This is a friendly reminder: We are in college. We are all here based on some sort of personal intelligence and strength that help contribute to our fantastic community. So why is it that we can get away with being so rude to people? You don’t have to like every individual person on campus, but you do have to respect them.
We are at a point in our lives where we have been thrown into a melting pot of different people, cultures, beliefs and experiences. Now is the perfect time to start practicing that same real world etiquette that will be expected of us when we leave our Linfield bubble and embark on a new, terrifying adventure.
Finally, here is a test on some of the basic manners I want to leave you with; see if you can catch them. Thank you to everyone who does follow these basic etiquette tips on a day-to-day basis. Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that our campus is being taken over by heathens. I’m sorry if you were reading this and thought I was calling you out. If you were able to take anything out of this article, you’re welcome.