The number one thing that really chaps my ass is people’s lack of manners. I’m not talking about when you forget to say “thank you” to a barista when you’re running out the door because there’s a meter maid about to give you a ticket. We all have lapses where we are preoccupied and not paying attention. I’m talking about common courtesies that should be shown to others in everyday life. It’s so simple, will get you so much farther, and used by so few people.
The other day I came home to find a car with its rear bumper blocking my driveway. Normally, I don’t sweat it because parking is hard to find where I live. Well this guy had a foot of space in front of him. Okay… Maybe he was in a rush. Happens. Then I see him come back an hour later, go to his car, retrieve something, and walk off again. Oops. Some simple courtesy would’ve saved him a $90 ticket.
If you’re a self-centered prick who’s thinking: “Pssh. People don’t deserve common courtesy. I’m special and they better respect me.” Well Mr. “I’m the Man”, fuck you very much and quit reading. But for everyone else, being polite has a huge return-on-investment. Opening a door for a woman, saying “please” and “thank you”, giving up your seat on the bus to an elderly person, and not being a general dipshit to people will get you far. Ask anyone who’s worked in a service job and they’ll tell you the same thing.
Being polite and courteous (and I’m not talking phony politeness, people can sniff that out in a second) takes a few seconds but can have great returns. Ladies love it, you’ll get better service, get you free stuff, and it can even get you out of a ticket. I know it sounds cliché, but women DO watch how you treat people. Being rude to a waiter will just get spit (if you’re lucky) in your entrée. Courtesy can be the difference between a 2nd date or not. Snapping your fingers at a bartender makes him get everyone else’s drink first and waters down yours. Knowing your order, saying thanks, and leaving a decent tip can get you your next drink for free. Snapping at a cop will just get you as many citations he can possibly think up. When was the last time you watched “Cops” and saw someone get out of a ticket by calling the cop a pig?
Will everyone respond to politeness? No. Some will take it as a sign of weakness. But you can be polite without being a doormat. For every one person that doesn’t acknowledge it, five will. How you act towards other people is one of the most apparent things that reflect your upbringing. Like a woman once told me years ago, “show me a polite man, and I’ll show you a man who was either raised right or had gotten the shit kicked out of him at one time or another”.