Being polite in the age of technology is different, but not impossible, and totally works.
Often parents and grandparents will regale us with stories of days gone by, when movies cost a nickel, there were no cell phones, and life moved at a regular pace. We feel inclined to roll our eyes at these tidbits, but they have a point. Where has our civility gone? And what are the new rules for politeness? Actually they’re almost the same rules as always, just with a few modern-day adaptations.
Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Ah, yes the Golden Rule. We’ve been hearing about it since Kindergarten, but we still forget. This used to apply mostly to in-person behavior, but it applies online too. Snarky Facebook comments or emails won’t get you far professionally or socially, and they will most likely make you feel worse, not better
Respect your elders. This sounds so antiquated, but it’s an absolute must in business and family environments. Why? Well it’s the kind thing to do, but mostly because chances are, they do know more than you do. Why does that matter? Because it’s a lot easier to learn something from someone who that likes you. And you might get a hard candy out of it.
Choose your words wisely. Our lives are so full of words that we’ve had to abbreviate many of them just to get them all out. Writing, reading, and talking are the staples of humanity and that’s not likely to change, so we should make the best of it. Words can certainly be a weapon, as we all know, but they can also heal and connect. Before you speak, type, or write, ask yourself who benefits from what you are about to day. Words are gifts, let’s not squander them.
Apologize when you are at fault. If you’ve hurt someone, own up. It may be a good idea to reach out in a more personal way. If you made someone upset with a text, give them a call to make things right. If you hurt someone over email, it might be worth tracking them down in person to apologize. Many of these written arguments have something to do with a misunderstanding over tone, so allowing the other person to hear sincerity in your voice could go a long way.
So where do manners go in the future, as our lives play out more and more online? They become harder to navigate, but they’re still as important as ever. More of who we are is on display for the public than ever, so any extra efforts to keep things polite won’t go unnoticed.