Social Graces, Social Media, and a Call for Change

The appalling lack of social graces on social media is a topic I have discussed before.  But, today I would like to challenge all of you on a larger level. I personally believe good etiquette overall is suffering in our society today.  I see and hear rude comments every day coming from a variety of people in a variety of situations.

After blogging for 8 years, I certainly have experienced my share of negative comments. We all get them. If the comment is constructive criticism, I will allow it to stand as part of the conversation and I will be open to what is said.  However, if the comment is a personal attack and just plain mean, then I usually delete it in an effort to discourage the one who wrote it and to keep the comments on topic.  For some reason, the most hateful comments come through my Facebook page.  Usually, they are made by very young individuals…until yesterday, when a woman over 50, who lives in middle America, gave me a comment I would put on the level of a high school bully.

Now, my intention here is NOT to get some of you sweethearts to give me sympathy and tell me in your comments how I don’t deserve it….so many of you have been loyal followers for a long time, and I get encouragement from you every day. My intention is to encourage all of us to stand up for good etiquette, civility, and kindness. Three things we are losing more and more.  We need to determine to teach others what these things really mean and call out the bullies when we see them…no matter their age or sex.

I am a strong individual who no longer allows meanness in other people to control how I think about myself.  But, as I read the words of this woman, I wondered how her bullying would have been received by a woman not as strong as I.  I love to read fashion magazines and I see many styles I do not like or are not my-style, but I do not email the publication and blast them with ugly words about their styling when I don’t like it.  So why do some do this on social media.  If you do not like what a woman is wearing, simply say nothing and go on with your life.  I do these pictures to encourage others to look and feel their best…not because I am seeking a group of clones to walk around looking like me!  

What makes a comment go over into bullying?  It is when it becomes a personal attack which tears down the individual.  I taught high school…I watched kids destroyed by bullies.  I know it too well.  I also know a bully usually had something going on in their lives which drives them to be mean, but that is no excuse.

I have a new friend in San Antonio.  A fabulous woman, Diane Gottsman.  She is an etiquette expert and is hired by major institutions to teach business etiquette.  She also is a regular on several programs, including The Today Show.  I believe she is doing a very important job, because we need our society to return to good etiquette and social graces.  We need overt, in-your-face rudeness to go away.  These toxic people should learn there is power in kindness and constructive conversations…not in rude behavior. 

I think it is part of our job as well…as mothers, grandmothers, community leaders…to teach and instruct the younger generation about social graces (and perhaps remind our generation to remember it).  Today, I am featuring Diane’s book and I hope you will consider it to be a great gift for some this holiday season.

MODERN ETIQUETTE FOR A BETTER LIFE

And if you are one who tears down others with your words, please, close the computer and walk away before you do real damage.  Ask yourself this question, “Why don’t I care about how words can hurt other people?”  Think before you type.

Despite it all, Keep Smiling!

 

27 Comments

  1. Bullying attacks who we are, and I tend to carry harsh comments around for days. I also first try to assess if the comment in constructive, because I want to grow and improve. The anonymity of social media does invite a “scary” level of rudeness and harshness. I try and stay positive on social media… the world has enough negativity.

  2. Excellent post today, Pam! I couldn’t agree with you more. Bad manners and offensive behavior are all too pervasive. It’s hard to expect children to behave well when too many adults set the wrong example. This is an issue that really needs to be addressed today! When I was a youngster, many of us went to “charm school” to learn social graces and good etiquette. Perhaps it is time to bring that back (for adults and youngsters)!

    1. I agree! We do need a return to charm school! We might have to give it a new name so kids would want to go!

  3. Pam, you are just the best. You know that we all would come to your defense against the shameless unnamed trolls. That’s the good thing about ageing…I don’t really care what others say or think and can avoid (for the most part) that sort of behavior. Maybe wisdom gained from living is part of it too. Miss Beth has the best idea…charm school. I would have loved something like that at a young age. Enjoy your day… xoxo

    1. Thank you, Donna. I really want this post to encourage change and responsibility on the part of the older generations….not about me. Thanks for understanding and for being here.

  4. I agree your thoughts. I have walked away for nasty comments but sometimes it is difficult. I am 63 but feel this stated 20 years ago along with the dumbing down of our schools and country. I find it very frustrating, people text never call. If someone in my small family doesn’t call or write after a gift I give them two years then no more presents. I could go on but will not . I can also blame smartphones. One more thing we are in the middle of a widespread power outages. No one calls or bring food to those without power. Take care and keep up your blog.

    1. I hear the frustrations in your comment, Sue. I agree that it is a different world…but I really want to make a difference for good. Thank you for commenting.

  5. First, I am sorry you were the recipient of rude comments and I applaud your response. It is quite difficult to comprehend the mean behavior that is so prevalent in our society today.
    Your blog addresses an often over looked segment of the female population which appears to be invisible to the fashion world (Women over 55) and I thank you for that. I enjoy your posts for their practical blending of old and new with a little sparkle thrown in!
    Walk away from disparaging comments, but keep in mind the pleasure your many friends and followers get from your blog.

    1. Carol, thank you for the encouraging words. Believe me, I am not affected by the individual…but I had an enough is enough moment, because I watch women like this do their “dirty work” with other bloggers as well. I am really tired of mean people and just do not understand it. But she has not affected me or caused me to second guess being here. I just want to encourage all of us to take stands for civility and kindness. Thank you for your kindness today.

    1. My nature is to be hopeful, Pat. I know you speak truth, but I choose to believe we can make a difference. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  6. Well said, my mother always instilled in myself and my sister to not say anything about someone if you could not say something good. I’ve been following you for about a year now and I love the way you present yourself both in word and style. Carole

    1. Thank you so much, Carole. I know…we all grew up on “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all” Of course, a cute rabbit named Thumper helped us to remember!!

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more, Pam! My elderly aunt and I were just discussing the fact that the world seems to have become a very rude place and it seems to me that social media brings out some of the worst. Most of us who blog don’t do it to be built up by positive comments and accolades, but there’s certainly no need to knock us down either. We can’t change the whole world, but we can do our best to bring grace and courtesy into our own small circles within it. Thanks for reminding us of that today!

  8. Your words today are spot on. I have hidden many posts on Facebook & in some cases even blocked “friends” because I don’t want others to believe that I feel it’s OK to use profanity & mean spirited words. I once heard someone say that words are containers for power-the to hurt or the power to help & heal. Oh, that we would all use the latter power.

  9. Bravo Pam!! I’m so happy you spoke up. The bullying is escalating at an alarming rate on FB. They believe they’re anonymous when in fact they are not. Poison spreads quickly and you do the right thing by blocking them.

  10. I know you have experienced this as well, Jennifer…I am just so tired of ugly people. It only takes a second to choose kindness.
    Thanks Jennifer.

  11. I am sorry that you got blasted. You are a wise and inspiring woman. I appreciate the time, thought, and effort that you share with us in your blog. You are an encourager that glows in cloudy negativity.

    1. Thank you for your kindness. I am fine…I just want the hate to stop on all levels. Enough is enough. Thanks for being here.

  12. I’m a little late reading this week, but oh my! This topic is close to my heart. What happened to manners, grace, style and class? I might be odd lady out here, but I stay clear of Facebook except when my daughter-in-law puts sports or school event pictures of my grandsons, or someone I’m close to posts a recipe. I find that scrolling endlessly through tasteless posts is a huge waste of my precious time. So very limited use for me. Something that a lot of our mothers taught us is always in the back of my mind, and often gives me pause when I’m about to say something I haven’t thought through. She always told me, as many did, if you haven’t got something decent or nice to say, keep your comments to yourself. And she always drilled into us the one about better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than to open your mouth and prove it. Moms need to teach daughters to be ladies and sons to be gentlemen. Ladies aren’t trashy and gentlemen aren’t crude. My youngest son is in his late 30’s and very much conscious of manners. Just recently he told me that when he was younger he thought my mom and I were a little over the top. He said, “Every time we ate dinner at home or at Nana’s, I felt like I was eating with the Queen of England, we had to be so proper. Now I’m glad I was raised that way.” We were really never that extreme I don’t think, but I’m glad he recognizes the importance of manners! Rude comments made to you in your posts are best ignored and forgotten. You have to consider what drives someone to be openly rude to someone else. Something sadly lacking in their own experience, no doubt.

  13. Thank you for your kind words. Again, this post is to encourage all of us to leave a legacy of good manners. I am fine.

  14. Good afternoon Pam, wow you’re the second blogger that I follow that has had this kind of attack. First, unfortunately when your livelihood is on social media, it kind of comes with the territory. This doesn’t make it right, but it’s a little bit like movie stars being upset when they lose their privacy. However, mean behavior does deserve to have a consequence, and that’s where you have a right to stand up to it. That’s what frustrates me when people are mean where they can be anonymous. Boo on them, that’s cowardly and I agree with you, they probably have a whole bunch of other issues. I believe in good manners in real life AND on social media. Don’t say anything on a social media platform that you wouldn’t say face to face!

    1. I know several bloggers this has happened to, Amy. It has happened as long has I have been blogging..but the frequency and the amount is what drove me to the edge. I believe we all should be taking a stand against mean spirited trolls. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it!

  15. I couldn’t agree more! We cannot accept this kind of behaviour. Good manners are not old fashioned. It is the way we need to conduct ourselves with respect for ourselves and each other.It is also our job to teach people – our families and the public – this. I think you just did. Thank you.

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