The level of political and social incivility in America has reached a new high. Better to say a new low. I’ve spent many years in and around politics but make it a point not to discuss the politics on OneSouthernMan. I’m not going to start now, however, given the severity of vicious attacks we’ve seen on elected officials recently, here’s a refresher on some good Southern manners everyone should use with our neighbors.
On Politics, Religion or SEC Sports
Never discuss politics, religion or the fact that the SEC is THE dominant athletic conference. That may be sound advice, but on a serious note let’s be realistic; politics and religion have a way of inserting themselves into most conversations these days. Methodist and Presbyterians in the South have been going at each other for years, even marrying one another, and they’ve learned to coexist. I think the rest of us can too. Avoid these issues if possible.
“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and besides, the pig likes it.” George Bernard Shaw
Arguments On Weighty Issues Rarely Change Anyone’s Mind
When someone brings up an issue you don’t agree with, allow them to finish and say, “That’s an interesting thought,” and then politely excuse yourself or change the subject. Discussing issues of the day can be healthy and mentally stimulating, but if you sense the other person is not willing to consider an opposite opinion, then nod, respect your neighbors opinion, and move on.
When all else fails, simply say, “Well bless your heart. You certainly are passionate about that issue. How’s your mama and daddy doing?”
Use a Person’s Name When You Are Speaking Directly to Them
When meeting or before engaging someone in conversation, ask for their name if you don’t know them. The name people like to hear most is their own. When you use someone’s name during a conversation, it tends to deflate their emotions.
“Great seeing you Tom.” “It was a pleasure chatting with you Susan. Be sure and stop by when you’re in the neighborhood.”
Shake Hands When You Meet & Part Ways
Most of us shake hands when we are introduced of meet, but remember to make it a habit to extend your hand when you part ways with someone. For ladies, simply smile, nod and say, “Well, I must run now and I’ve enjoyed our conversation.”
Avoid the “Comment” Section of News and Blog Sites
You may wonder why a former journalist and someone who owns a website is suggesting you stay away from online comment sections. The fact is, the comment section of a news story or blog post is where ignorant (i.e. people who don’t know any better), sometimes just plain stupid folks hang out so that means you shouldn’t be there. Mama always says, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” I hate to admit it but she’s right. Along these same lines, nothing productive is said or happens in the comment section. Don’t go there and you’ll be better off.
Wave or Nod When You Meet Someone On the Street
It’s next to impossible when you’re on a crowded street or in a dense population. Your rule of thumb should be if you make eye contact with someone, smile and nod. Speak to them when you can. Most of the time they’ll do they same.
Don’t Hold or Look at Your Phone When Talking With Others
First of all, it’s rude. However, most of us are guilty of this etiquette “sin.” Unless showing someone something important on your phone, keep it in your pocket during conversations. It shows the other person you care what they are saying – even if you don’t.
Avoid Volatile Issues On Social Media
Unless you’re profession is politics or journalism, don’t share or post your political views on social media. I’m convinced 80 percent of the crap that makes people angry comes from social media sites, not one-on-one or small group conversations.
Respect Your Elders
Say “Sir” or “Ma’am” to those 10 or more years older than you. If it’s an issue with them, they’ll request you call them by their given name.
Some Reminders for Gentlemen
– Always stand when a lady enters a room or comes to your table.
– Open doors for ladies. If they reach for the door handle first, to ahead and make the effort to hold the door.
– Pull chairs out for women when they are being seated