Opinion: Why aren’t we polite anymore?

We need to be polite, it's as simple as that. Photo: Finlay Robertson

I was on a bus today, standing because the man in front of me was sitting on the aisle side of his seat – making it clear he didn’t want anyone sitting next to him.

A man who hopped on after me politely asked the seated man if he could move over. He let out a heavy sigh, before standing up to let him sit then slumping himself back down in a very displeased manner. This got me thinking: Where is our common courtesy?

There are simple things like what I’d witnessed on the bus, and other examples, such as not thanking a waiter at a restaurant, not standing up for the elderly, not waving when someone lets you through in traffic, boys not being gentlemen, hanging up on people.

Basic manners, such as saying “please, thank you and excuse me”. Being aware of your surroundings and realising what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only rude encounter I’ve witnessed or experienced on a bus – nor are buses the only place where rudeness occurs. The world isn’t an ugly place but sometimes the people in it are, and it doesn’t make anyone a bad person, but if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning, who bloody cares? There’s something about simple politeness that can make such a significant difference.

There’s something about simple politeness that can make such a significant difference.

I’ve spent the majority of my life oblivious. It’s not because my parents didn’t teach me better – I just chose not to listen. And I think this is the basis of the problem. We know what to do, and how to behave, but we choose not to. Why? Because we are too busy caring about our damn selves and what’s leaning towards our personal benefit.

I would probably prefer not to sit squished up next to a complete stranger on a bus, but who is it affecting more?

Finlay Robertson
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