Oh no, your decency’s showing.

Lately, I have been so appalled with the behavior people display towards one another. At work, on the road, customer service. There are some common decencies that are completely lacking in people’s interactions with others. Respect, to name a large one, is an elusive idea these days.

Where did common decency run off to, anyhow? I cannot even count the number of times I get cut off in a day, especially when driving to and from work. You wouldn’t believe how much I glance in my rear view mirror when I am coming to a stop or slowing down because someone has been riding my tail and I know they aren’t paying enough attention to the road. I don’t want to have to have my car fixed or peel myself off of the asphalt as much as the next person. So, I propose a simple fix: pay attention!

How about when you’re in an elevator packed full of co-workers waiting to get off on their desired floor? Silence. Everyone is basically touching elbows and yet no one is saying a word. I know that most would rather not be at work, but come on… we all know it’s awkward. And why not show each other the common decency of a breezy, “Hello.” I’m even going to take it a step further and say let’s try, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Crazy! I know.

Some of the folks I call for work-related purposes have this air of “you’re wasting my time” or “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was talking with a man who was not sure if he was receiving the discount he thought he should be. The particular program this man is running with my company is one where he works directly with the vendor, and not directly with us. He felt he needed to contact us and get the information he needed through us instead of calling his contact with the vendor. I let him know the information he needed in order to contact the vendor directly and sent him on his way to reach out to them. Immediately after, I received an email from him and apparently he’s been doing this for 13 years and he has never once had to do this himself.

All I wanted to say was, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you haven’t had to lift your own fingers for the last 13 years and do something for yourself.”

The most interesting thing about this situation is that if this gentleman had thought of treating me nicely and respectfully, I would have had no problem helping him out. When I am demanded to do something by someone I don’t know, I am way less likely to maintain a helpful spirit if there is no genuine ask for help. It matters naught to me that you have been “doing this” for 13 years. I have been alive for 23 years and I know when someone is being a ridiculous jerk.

I long for these short instances with strangers to be decent, genuine, and respectful. Is it really that difficult to let your decency show?

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