Mind Your Manners

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Now, I will be the first to admit that I am a bit of a "manners nazi," although I hate using that particular word at all. But, honestly, one of the quickest ways to annoy me is by being impolite. My maternal grandmother was a very proper British woman, so suffice it to say, my mom has impeccable manners. And since she has impeccable manners, it stands to reason that I do as well. There were so many behaviors that were not tolerated in my house when I was growing up, which is probably why everyone used to comment about what a well-behaved child I was.

Being that I am so anal about manners, nothing annoys me more than people with a lack of them. So, at every job, there are always certain people who drive me insane. It doesn't just end with work. It seems that living in an area (such as Northern Virginia) with so many different cultures, and some of the most elitist people I have ever had the pleasure of encountering, I am privy to a daily dose of "what you shouldn't do." So, here are some of the most irksome behaviors:

*Holding the door open- it goes both ways. There are so many people who will walk ahead of you through a door, then just let it slam in your face. Seriously, if I am only two steps behind you, how difficult is it to hold the damn door for me? I realize that you are in a hurry, but does that extra two seconds really matter? And on the other hand, if I walk in ahead of you and hold the door (which I will), please say "thank-you." Either way, I will say "you're welcome," but just vary the volume and tone depending on whether or not you actually thanked me. And, while we're covering it, if I hold the door open, do not just walk through (and past me) without holding the door for yourself. I am not your doorman. The only time that is acceptable is if your hands are full and I have said "here, let me get the door for you." A few of my co-workers do this constantly, and it bugs the shit out of me. Holding the door open for you is not the highlight of my day, so when you walk through, you should take over the door-holding duties (and thank me). And the thing is, I am still too polite to just let the door close on someone.

*Cell phones- A few of my co-workers fail to turn down the ringer on their cell phones while at work. Personally, I turn the ringer off and leave my cell on the desk so I can see if someone is calling me. The girl across the hall (N.) has one of the most obnoxious ringers and leaves it at full volume. Then lets it ring. She doesn't answer it, or silence it when it rings, she just lets it go. Have some courtesy for your co-workers. You may think the "crying baby" ringtone is cute, but I do not. Incidentally, N. is also one of those people who "walk through" when I hold the door.

*While we are on phones (and N.), she also checks her voicemail and makes all of her calls on speakerphone. It seems someone is just too lazy to hold the door for herself or to pick up the damn phone. She even called the automated service for her bank account (to get the balance) on speakerphone! Are you kidding me?? I don't want ANYONE knowing my banking info. And I certainly don't want to hear every one of your conversations.

*Interrupting/ Talking over someone- My absolute biggest pet peeve (and, hey, wouldn't you know it, N. is guilty of this one as well). There is nothing you can do that shows as much disrespect as interrupting or talking over someone. Granted, there are times when it is necessary (like when that friend just won't shut up and let you get a word in), (or when something pops in your head mid-conversation, and you know you'll forget it if you wait). But seriously, it says that you have no regard for what the other person is saying. If you do have to interrupt, apologize. I used to work with a girl that would constantly interrupt me during our morning meetings. So, I decided to keep talking. Well, the bia would just keep talking (much more loudly) over me. I finally made my point one day, when after she interrupted me to ask me a question, I sat there silently and stared at her, not answering her question. When she said my name, I replied, "Oh, are you finished? I just didn't want you to interrupt me again." The behavior stopped (for the most part) after that.

*Nose blowing- Granted, there are times when it's fine. Like when it's a "little blow." But I have another co-worker who constantly blows his nose- very loudly- all damn day. It seriously is more of a "HONK!" than a nose-blow. My general rule- any time you are expelling something from your body, do it in the bathroom. I don't want to hear you pulling up phlegm from the bottom of your throat and spitting it into a tissue. And for the love of gawd, please don't do it while people are eating!

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. I have an entire list of poor table manners that piss me off as well. And I wonder why I am still single. The truth is, if a guy violates any of these "general manners," or any of the "table manners," on the first date, you can bet your ass there won't be a second date.

21 comments:

minijonb 8/23/2006 12:35:00 PM  

oh! oh! i wanna hear your "table manners" list and see what rules i violate.

...and i'll hold the door open for you in cyberspace any day of the week =;-)

Washington Cube 8/23/2006 01:00:00 PM  

I love this piece and "yes please" to more on table

manners. :::pushing in chair, turning off light, and closing door behind me:::

Oh yes...Thank you. :)

Ashburnite 8/23/2006 01:12:00 PM  

mjb- please...you are always so polite...I have a hard time believing that you would do anything to offend me.

wc- haha! I'm glad there's someone else who is as "well-behaved" as myself.

Sweet 8/23/2006 02:32:00 PM  

Ah yes the annoying office cellphone. A co-worker near me has a ringer to Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire.' A song I used to like, now I can't stand it.

NotCarrie 8/23/2006 02:52:00 PM  

I had wanted to comment on just one, but as I kept reading I realized I could agree with being annoyed by all of them!
And it's SO easy to be polite, why can't more people do it?

The Husband 8/23/2006 03:09:00 PM  

you make some great points. unfortunately, i think this starts with the parents and alot of kids today aren't being taught good manners.

another one that drives me crazy...
lastnight i'm in line at the grocery store. the girl behind me is just chatting away on her cell phone, completely oblivious to whats going on. personally, i think thats rude. i don't want to hear her conversation and i'm sure the other people in line don't either.

Ashburnite 8/23/2006 03:13:00 PM  

sweet- I would smack that co-worker for ruining that song for you!

notcarrie- agreed. it really is very easy to be polite. I'm glad it isn't only me who is annoyed by all of this.

Ashburnite 8/23/2006 03:14:00 PM  

carl- very good point. I guess it just seems so simple because it was drilled into my head by a British mother and a Marine father. At least I know if/when I have kids, they will be just as polite.
And I don't usually mind someone on their cell near me, unless they are on a Nextel and using the speakerphone.

Tara 8/23/2006 03:54:00 PM  

Ash you are the best, I swear. I could write a whole book on how much I can relate to everything you've said here, but will keep it short...sort of..

Someone once looked at me weird when I told them that it's rude to blow your nose at the table when people are eating. She hadn't done it, but we were discussing something from a few days ago. She never knew it was rude, hence, I'm sure she had been doing it all her life. EW.

Lots of guys waltz through the door at the gym if I hold it open for them. Thanks alot, guys. I'm here just for your comfort.

And I DESPISE speakerphone, and that girl that you are talking about who calls her bank on speakerphone deserves to have identity theft and to get robbed.

Tara 8/23/2006 03:54:00 PM  

Oh and I too would love to see your table manners list! It's already a must-read, I can feel it.

Rachel 8/23/2006 05:29:00 PM  

I can't stand when people refuse to acknowledge that someone has made a comment.
Example - standing in a long line for the movies and someone makes a joke and people look at that person like they just fell off the turnip truck.
Uh... I am going to laugh or smile and reply to their comment or joke.
I cannot STAND the Nextel chirp. Every time I hear it I cringe, and have to stop myself from running up to them, grabbing the phone out of their hand and beating them to a bloody pulp with the thing.
I will admit to being someone who walks around chatting on my cell phone. As long as I am not disrupting anyone else and I speak quietly, I don't see what the big deal is. Unless it is important, I hang up or use self check out at the store.

What is your opinion of people who use baby talk with their children? I never talked to my son D in baby talk and have always used correct grammar with him. Now that he is in school the teachers always compliment him on his vocabulary.
Baby talk or limiting your vocabulary when talking to children is a huge pet peeve of mine.

team gingerbread 8/23/2006 08:43:00 PM  

Nothing infuriates me more than parents who let their children run wild in my store.

A child almost pulled my skirt down (would have were it not for my cat-like reflexes) and his Mom barely batted an eyelash - nor did she apologize or scold her son.

If you're too busy/lazy to take care of your kids don't have them it's as simple as that

Ashburnite 8/23/2006 08:49:00 PM  

tara- oh, the conversations we could have about all of this :-)

and the chick who doesn't know it's rude? ew..how could she not? you're blowing snot out while people are trying to eat. yuck!

tara2- I'm thinking I need to post that soon.

rachel- I did a whole post about that annoying nextel chirp: http://ashburnite.blogspot.com/2006/06/nextel-etiquette.html
basically, yeah, I hate it too :-)

Ashburnite 8/23/2006 08:50:00 PM  

gbread- ooohhh.....I hate that shit!! I firmly believe that if you can't control your kids, then at least keep those things on a leash.

Blueyes 8/24/2006 06:27:00 AM  

I'm of the opinion that all the people these days just grew up in the desert or jungle because I have yet to find more than a handful with manners of any kind especially when it comes down to sir/ma'am or Mr/Mrs Bond...drives me nuts. We had a coworker who would walk around talking on her cell phone all friggin day but she finally got fired. I put mine on vibrate during work and then check on whatever happens to come through during lunch.

Freckled K 8/24/2006 07:53:00 AM  

I could have written this. Actually - I was planning on writing about this, but you've covered it too well!

I'm all about "Ladies First" in most aspects of daily life. I try not to be annoyed when it's not put into practice, but I definitely do notice it.

I've taken to saying, "You're welcome!" in an uber-cheery voice whenever someone passes through the door I've held for them and fails to acknowledge the kindness. I know that my saying that is ultimately just as rude, but it does make me feel better.

Avin 8/24/2006 09:09:00 AM  

Don't even get me started on this topic. Between the blowing of noses in the lunch room, the not thanking people for opening doors for you, and the "sense of entitlement" march that seems to happen on every sidewalk in DC, I am just angry every day.

I really want to know who told people that they should walk in groups of 3 or more shoulder to shoulder on a sidewalk and then expect you to move out of their way!!

I have just decided in that situation that I am not budging. You and your friends can figure out life, and you dont need the entire sidewalk.

TravelGirlDC 8/24/2006 11:50:00 AM  

Ahh yes, manners. there are so many people who have none! I realize DC is below the Mason-Dixon line and is officially "the South" but I gotta say it just isn't the same as in the deep south such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. My current project is in Texas and while southern men can be very backwards they do know how to treat a lady.

Oh and whoever created all those stupid horrid musical rings for cell phones should be shot.

nicole 8/24/2006 07:46:00 PM  

Ash, I swear you sit around all day waiting for me to complain just so you can post my gripes on your blog. This is great!

That door-opening rudeness honks me off like NOTHING else! If you think holding the door is my paid profession then give me a damn TIP!

AlienCG 8/27/2006 09:36:00 AM  

I am always courteous when it comes to doors. When I walk out of the bank, I have a habit of looking behind me to see if anybody is bringing up the rear. It drives me nuts when people don't say, "Thank you."

Cell phones have always been a pet peeve of mine, but I have a new appreciation for them in recent weeks. I have a standard ringer, but because I work in noisy places at times, I use the vibrate+ringer. I try to answer it before the ringer sounds whenever possible.

I despise speakerphone, unless I am talking to a customer with my boss and trying to figure out a technical problem. Personal business never gets conducted on speakerphone.

I haven't had a lot of exposure to the over-talker or the nose blower, so I can't comment on them. Of course, long commenters on blogs are pet peeve of mine. ;)

David in DC,  8/29/2006 11:53:00 AM  

You wanna see badly behaved kids?

Take a Disney cruise.

I was amazed.

Nine-year-old Monkeyboy in DC has his share of youthful exuberance and we eat waaaay too often in front of the TV at home, but I couldn't have been prouder of him than I was on two occasions on the Ship of the Mouse:

"Dad, do you think that boy doesn't have any parents?"

and

"Dad, can I just get a hot dog now and sit with you guys in the fancy-shmancy restaurant at night. I know they don't serve my kind of food, but if I have to eat with those kids in the Oceanear's Lab again, I think I'll barf."

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