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On courtesy

Poster: Betty & David Eyer <Betty_and_David@compuserve.com>

I have read in this discussion on courtesy that one should point out
politely that someone is behaving poorly.  This is, in my opinion, an
oxymoron.  It is rude to point out that someone is being rude, and even
more so if that observation is publically made.  One can request better
treatment in a gentle manner, as in the case of smokers.  But I dont think
that there is a good way to tell people that they are behaving badly. 
There may come a time in our lives when we must tell someone that (for
instance, if they are frightening children or making enough noise to
disturb the sick or elderly), but I don't think that most of the rudeness
described so far is in that category.  

The classes on courtesy are a great idea for the well intentioned but
uneducated.  However, classes will not have much effect on those who have
no concern for others.  There are a few good defenses for them.  One is to
pretend that they do not exist. There is a lot to be said for the old
Southern Bell Snub, when properly aimed at someone who richly deserves it. 
 But be sure to snub the BEHAVIOR and not to black ball the person forever.

Another is to pretend that you MUST have misunderstood them, because
SURELY, they could not have been intentionally rude.  This gives them a
chance to back pedal and correct their mistake, or to explain their
behavior, which could have actually been unintentional. You might even have
completely misunderstood them and the fault is yours (it happens).  

The only other good defense is a good example.

Magdalena de Hazebrouck
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