A reader asked me to give my take on how rude some people have become. I emphasize some because there are still more nice people in the world than rude ones. I hope she recognizes the column when she reads it.
We were having a discussion about how some people will not step aside so you can get past on the sidewalk and some just look through you like you are invisible. Is it the behavior of a new generation or is it an influx of people from out of the country who don’t know etiquette?
I always thought you should walk down the left side of a pair of stairs (public stairs) and go up the right, or that the railing should be to your right going up and down. I constantly encounter people who just go up the middle, down the wrong side (in my opinion) and just plain get in the way. I even looked this up and here is what I found: If you are going up a stairway in a building you generally keep to the right and people coming down the stairway are on the left of you. If there is little space in the stairway, whoever is first you should step aside and let them pass. If it’s a stairway in a house you would come down on the right holding onto the railing. If anyone else is coming up the stairs they would be on the right of you using the railing if there is one.
I use the same rules for the sidewalk; you can’t hog the whole sidewalk. You have to make room for others to get past without stepping in to the street. Have you ever seen a group of people (more than three) who insist on walking together and won’t make room for you? What is that about? This kind of stuff will make you “stand your ground.”
How many of you remember my column on elevator etiquette? That is still one of my biggest pet peeves. I beg people every day, don’t get into the elevator and stand in the front—move to the back and let others in. Don’t stand there like you can’t see that others want to get in or try to close the elevator door before the person can get to the open elevator. The elevator is one place where men don’t have to worry about being a gentleman. So often I see men step aside so the ladies can get out first. If you are in the front of the elevator and the man and woman are both getting off on the same floor when the door opens just get out.
There are plenty of other ways men can do the gentlemenly thing. I remember back in the old days when young ladies took etiquette courses. We learned how to get in and out of a car, how to smooth our dresses beneath us when we sat down and so much more. I say bring back some of the polite ways of the past—we all need it.
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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