Using the F-bomb with the frequency of a comma. Texting or checking the phone while in face-to-face conversation. Responding to a question with a finger. Interrupting a speaker as the first utterance begins to take shape on the lips. These have all become common habits and accepted conventions within today’s conversations. Whether viewing political campaign speeches, nightly sitcoms and dramas, or attempting to engage in a public conversation, similar scenarios play themselves out across populations. Through public tolerance of such displays, our communities tend to encourage rudeness in conversation.
In days gone by, rules of etiquette and decorum were set in print. As a youngster, George Washington ascribed to 110 maxims printed in Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation (for full listing see this NPR link). The first of these maxims sets the tone for all others: “Every action […]