Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lack of Civility

Why are people misbehaving? According to etiquette consultant Carol Bory:
  • Erosion of Authority Over the past decade or two we have seen a further erosion of respect for authority. This is partly due to the mistrust people feel based on the faltered behavior of some prominent people in the authority. With this lack of trust, people are now more aggressively questioning their decisions.
  • Strong Focus on Self While concern for self is good, an overly strong concern for self leads to self-centeredness or a strong focus on your needs, your wants, and your desires leaving little room for the awareness and concern of others. When we operate at this mode of self-absorption it is harder to show kindness, consideration or courtesy to others.
  • Excessive Drive for Achievement In the United States we place a high value on equality. While definitely a cherished value, some people derive their identity through an excessive focus on achievement. ”Doing” becomes more important than “being”. When a person becomes so focused on achieving they sometimes forgo the rules of civility. Add in stress, and there is an opportune environment for rude behavior.
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    2 comments:

    Christine Trent said...

    This is an interesting post. I met a pastor at an airport recently (we were both waiting for the same delayed flight). I asked him what the most difficult part of his job is. He said that over the last 20 years he's witnessed his level of authority slide downhill. He can no longer speak with authority simply as the pastor the church; the congregation questions everything he says. I don't personally do this to the pastor of my own church, but can see how our society feeds this attitude.

    Julygirl said...

    Regarding the lack of influence of authority figures; I think it comes more from the public finding out about personal and private failings, ('transgressions',to quote Tiger Woods), that we were not privy to in the past. No one knew about John Kennedy's dalliances, or FDR's mistress. Knowing those things causes the public to lose respect for people they had once put on a pedestal. Personally, I do not believe in the
    public's "right to know". I, myself, would rather NOT know.