In praise of politeness (and a jar of strawberries)


A few home-grown strawberries – fragrant, juicy and luscious – from crowns planted in March. They’re sending out lots of runners so we’ll have more plants for next year. Yippee.


I read an article at the weekend about politeness, or rather the lack of it, in society today. People are too busy to be polite it seems; statistics show that rudeness is on the rise. This is a big bugbear of mine and it never fails to get me leaping on my high horse. Being polite, thinking of others and having good manners are important. All ease social interactions and help situations run smoothly – you know where you are if everyone follows the same general codes of conduct. I know this might sound incredibly old-fashioned and of course I don’t mean reverting to the uptight, 1950’s-style of manners where all emotion was kept well and truly in check, but I do think being polite and considerate makes the world a better place.

I’m forever telling my children to pay attention when someone is speaking to them (ie, me), even if that person is boring them to death. There are ways to politely extricate yourself from a dull conversation; there is no need to be rude, to glaze over and start tapping at a screen. I tell them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Always. I cannot abide the sense of entitlement that seems to be creeping in across all age groups.

Simple things like acknowledging the receipt of gifts, invitations, emails*, even job applications… There is a disheartening tendency for none of these things to be acknowledged. Isn’t it much better to say ‘thank you’? I guess it depends on whether we care about others and the impression we give. What people think of you is their business and it doesn’t do to worry too much about that, but it is good to care about how our actions affect others. Whether it’s a company not responding to cvs sent in for a job vacancy or someone not rsvp-ing an invite, the zeitgeist seems to be to not care at all. Saying ‘thanks’ doesn’t take much effort and can make all the difference to the person on the receiving end.

Happily, my nagging sound advice appears to be working so far as my offspring are polite and charming (when they are out, as far as I know; not always at home). Right. I’m off to put my high horse back in the stable. Thank you for reading 🙂

* a couple of my friends will chortle if they read this. Forgetting is not the same as ignoring, ok?