DISCUSSIONS: 3 – (MAY 19) Torontonians are unaware of proper public etiquette

Read the follow-up to the discussion at the end of this posting.

Is it young people or is it just Torontonians who lack rudimentary knowledge of good manners and proper public etiquette?

Read Torstar Edward Keenan’s view: Keenan

Torontonians may simply be too preoccupied, too distracted, too mentally busy to be concerned about proper manners in public places.

Consider what you were taught as a youngster. I learned things like saying ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and prefacing a request with ‘may I please.’ My mother reminded me to speak when spoken to and not to barge into conversations without concern for others. Riding public transit had new guidelines. Remember giving up your seat to an older person, a handicapped person, a pregnant woman.

Nowadays…OMG…feet up on the seats in public transit vehicles, barge ahead of old people to get into a train door, talking so loudly it becomes a distraction for all others on the streetcar, the subway car, etc.

The list of etiquette violations is endless. Toronto’s list may be longer!

What do you think?

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The discussion was very lively. Some people looked at the past with nostalgic eyes, seeing it as a gentler, friendlier time. The members had very diverse views and opinions about etiquette in Toronto and then beyond the GTA.

Some members felt Toronto was very good, maybe even too good.”I am bothered how quickly I am offered a seat on the TTC. Do I look that frail, that old to them,” lamented one member. Good point as this member is a feisty, strong and assertively well-spoken woman who would tell you off very openly if you crossed swords with her.

Others repeatedly praised an eastern hemisphere ethnic group underlining how incredibly polite this demographic group seemed to be. The moderator cautioned that this was an unjustifiably narrow view of one group of people and that many other nationalities had polite people who interacted with the community with respectful and mannered behaviour. The bottom line here was that people behaved as they were taught to behave, a position reinforced by many at the meeting.

A number of people lamented that past societies were gentler, friendlier and more mannered. One member underlined how it was de rigeur to send thank you cards as soon as possible after receiving a gift.

Driving criticism started off on a positive note until the moderator, a motorcyclist, underlined that drivers in the Toronto area were the opposite of polite. They were not ill-mannered but distracted and that meant that their manners or driving etiquette were irrelevant. They were simply menaces on the road, period.

The discussion seemed like it could go on and on. However, the conclusion generally was that those good manners are learned and they are not being taught as regularly and routinely as they were in the past. Hence, the seeming bad manners of many people is simply a result of lack of teaching. Sadly, we are the ones who suffer the inadequacies of this education being neglected.

 

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