They say we're entitled, narcissistic, lacking work ethic, constantly needing affirmation of our overinflated self-esteem and we just won't leave the shelter of our parents and let them BE already! Well, I say I deserve a day off for my hard work, some recognition for it's superior quality and yes, Mom, I will be at dinner on Sunday.
I'm just trying to hold on to my youth, really. Aren't we all?
Modern manners OR What is wrong with my generation?
Growing up, my Baby Boomer parents were big on manners and wasted no time or opportunity to teach them to my four sisters and me.
Part of our home school curriculum included thank-you notes, business and friendly letters, the 21 Rules of This House (http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/21_rules.htm) and “Uncommon Courtesy for Kids” (http://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Courtesy-Kids-Training-Everyone/dp/0923463720). We said “may I” not “can I,” “please” and “thank you,” kept our elbows off the table and made cards and gifts for people’s birthdays and other special occasions. I carried these lessons through to adulthood and am discovering many of my peers seem to be pretty clueless when it comes to good graces.
Generation Y, or “Generation Whine” as I heard one middle-aged woman call us the other day, is supposed to be more connected with the world than previous generations, with our text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, YouTube, etc. But despite being so in tune to all forms of communication, image and common courtesy seem to have fallen by the wayside. We now have more ways than ever to show our relative unfamiliarity with basic etiquette, much to our detriment.
Take, for example, posting a car for sale on Craigslist as my husband and I did this past week. We wrote a description of the car, listed the pros and cons (from excellent body to leaking head gasket) and posted photos. Of the five responses we got from the ad, two were scams. Two more we e-mailed back, and then called to set up times for them to come look at the car. In both instances the time came and went and not only did they not show up but they didn’t even bother to call and tell us they wouldn’t be showing up. In my opinion those two local 20-somethings showed a total lack of common courtesy. The most recent inquiry offered me $500 and a favor of the adult kind (is that even legal?), which I declined with a “you’ve got to be kidding me.” She didn’t make another offer after that.
Facebook event invitations make bad manners an acceptable option. When you RSVP to a Facebook event invite you can choose attending, not attending, or “maybe.” So the poor host could have 10 attending, 15 not attending and 11 maybes that make the difference between cooking one casserole or three. As someone who planned several events last year, I cannot stress enough the importance of RSVPing so the host can adequately prepare for your attendance or non-attendance.
Speaking of events I planned last year, what better opportunity for Gen Y-ers to show off their lack of common courtesy and etiquette than when someone else gets married? I’ll leave it at that.
Feel free to sound off on your bad manners pet peeves below. But I’ll warn you, too much complaining about my generation without acknowledging who raised us and the environment in which we were raised could spur me to write a blog about the subject.
Having trouble with common courtesy yourself? Google it or look it up on eHow. That’s way cheaper than spending $400 an hour on etiquette lessons like some Gen Y-ers are doing on the East Coast.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, we placed a classified ad in the Gazette and hope the more mature readership will respond offering cash only.