You may not be aware, but you are an asshole.
And, before you write an angry response outlining why I am in fact the asshole –– don’t.
I know I am an asshole and that’s why I am writing this piece.
Recently, it has come to my attention that we have lost our manners. I am not entirely sure when –– my best guess would be somewhere B.F. (before Facebook).
But, regardless, I think it’s time that all of us find them.
The world as a whole is ruder than it has ever been before and it’s a phenomenon that is only going to continue to get worse unless each of us take it upon ourselves to change how we treat our fellow human-beings.
I have put together a brief set of reminders to help all of us remember our manners. You might notice you learned a few of these in Kindergarten. Like I said, they are reminders.
The stuff you probably should have learned in Kindergarten.
Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should say it.
Our grandparents were more respectful than we are today, probably because when grandma and grandpa felt angry about something, they had to be careful about how they expressed their anger.
For example, if they went to a dinner party and shouted, “All republicans are f****** morons!”… they would be forced to suffer the social repercussions.
Today, in seconds, we can tweet “All republicans are f****** mornons!”… while sitting in the safety of our homes, soaking in a bubble bath whilst eating a Belgium waffle.
And, guess what?
We don’t have to stare an angry republican in the eyes. We don’t have to see someone being hurt by our comment(s). We don’t have to even argue our opinion.
For the first time in history, we can say whatever we want whenever we want and it can be read by thousands. But, just because we can say something doesn’t mean we should.
If you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying it to someone’s face don’t say it all.
This leads us to my next point –– one that is both a practice of respect and simply not being a coward.
There is nothing courageous about a disrespectful tweet or a post stating your opinion (especially if you wouldn’t have the courage to say it if the person was standing right in front of you).
When we send a text message, email or post something to social media we need to ask ourselves the question –– would I feel comfortable saying this to the person if they were right in front of me?
If any part of you is uncertain, read it out loud. Does it make you cringe? Does it make your stomach drop? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? If it does, I can promise it is going to make the person it is directed to feel uncomfortable too.
Simply put, if we wouldn’t feel comfortable saying something to someone’s face… we shouldn’t say it all.
Give the person you are with your full undivided attention.
If you don’t remember anything else from this entire post, please remember this –– when you are spending time with somebody, anybody, stop staring at your phone.
The rudest thing I see on a daily basis is people having lunch, coffee or in some cases an actual business meeting and one or both people are tapping away at their phone.
In my opinion, I think this is the most disrespectful thing you can do to anyone.
When you are meeting with someone and you even glance at your phone, what you are saying to them is –– I don’t value your time.
Next time you spend time with someone, put your phone on silent and place it somewhere you won’t be urged to check it.
Nobody is above please & thank you’s.
If you are asking someone to do something for you –– you put please in front of it. When someone has done something for you –– you say thank you.
It’s easy. It’s simple. Yet, people refuse to do it.
If you are make $500,000 a year and your barista only makes $30,000 a year, you still say please and thank you.
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. Nobody is above please & thank you’s.
You give people an answer, one way or another.
People in business are notorious for ghosting one another. Rather than being a courageous individual and giving someone a firm no, they will avoid confrontation by just refusing to respond.
You have done this before. I have done this before. Everyone has done this before.
But, it doesn’t make it right.
I had a prospective client a couple weeks back ask to get on the phone with me to discuss some marketing work. He had no problem taking up an hour of my time, but when it was time to make a decision on whether or not we were going to work together, he wasn’t man enough to give me a yes or a no.
I followed up with him a couple times via email and I was met with no response. I have absolutely no respect for people who are simply to scared to give someone an answer (or simply feel they are above it).
Whether it be plans with your friends or business obligation of sorts, always give others a yes or a no. Don’t be flaky. Be a man or a woman and have the confidence and self-assurance to give an answer.
Treat people like they are people.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, my rant has come to and end for the day. But, before I let you go, I want to leave you with one final piece of insight I have been working to apply in my own life ––
The world does not revolve around me or you or your cousin Sam.
Social media has created this horrible egotistical mentality among people today, causing them to believe that they are the most important thing in the world.
It has created an addictive fucked up system of evaluating an individuals worth based on the number of followers they have to their name.
It has caused us to view our fellow human-beings as followers rather than people with heartbeats, ambitions and actual feelings.
If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to limit your time in the social-sphere and seek to make real, genuine, face-to-face connections with people.
Whether we want to believe it or not, the world does not revolve around us… and when we die, the world world will keep on spinning.
So, while we are on it… let’s try and make it a little bit better.
By Cole Schafer.
Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business, marketing and forgotten manners. Or riding alpacas