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Home Remodeling Etiquette & What Ever Happened To Manners?

Posted by Eva Daly

May 15, 2014


building trust Peninsula Re-siding This week's Peninsula Siding's 'Re-Siding Curb Appeal' column wants to address just being nice when it comes to home remodeling and beyond.  The Golden Rule. Right? Right. Rudeness and bad manners - and books about them - are on the rise.  A go, go, go lifestyle, the lack of parenting and adult self discipline, and how we as a society choose to use technology clearly has much to do with this. Even "smart" technology has made many of us seem "less smart." (That's a polite way of putting it.) It's certainly made people more distracted and self-centered, both of which breed bad manners. (Disclaimer: As a multi-tasking fool myself and no better for it, I’m not without reproach….but in public folks, really?)

A myriad of cultural changes, in a short time frame, have created this climate - a climate that seems to breed bad manners. NPR and Vanity Fair contributor, Henry Alford's book, "Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners," is the a recent addition to the topic that began with Emily Post (albeit, in far more genteel times). Alford's humorous musings wander through truly modern turf, from email, atheist vs. "churchy statements," and Transgendered coming-out, to buttocks-baring jeans, Facebook, and other things Emily Post didn't have to worry about.

Ditto for syndicated columnist and "Advice Goddess" Amy Alkon.  Alkon is the author of  "I See Rude People: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society." She's on a crusade to live out the subtitle of that book. "I don't like regulations," she told Reason TV. "I like to shame people into behaving better."

Then there's a lot of shaming to do. Alkon has a long list of things and places on her blog where bad behavior abounds - from sidewalks, parking lots, traffic snarls, and restaurants, to
toilets, airports, dating environments, family gatherings, and the workplace - to name but a few.

A Brain's challenge in building trust"What people don't know, and what's come out in a few studies in the past few years," wrote Alkon in an email, "is that even a quiet cell phone conversation is disturbing people around you. That's because the brain pays attention to a one-sided conversation in a way it does not to a two-sided one. The theory is that your brain tries to fill in the other side of the conversation. If you must make an emergency phone call indoors, we'll try to understand. But, there's no reason to carry on long, inane conversations in public places - no reason except self-centered,  Me! Me! Me! Generation rudeness."

True, true true. It's also important to note that there's a difference between etiquette and good manners or good behavior. Etiquette is connected to rules and protocol, which vary in different
countries and can be learned - hence all of our how-to etiquette books and blogs.

But knowing or respecting etiquette doesn't necessarily make you a nice person, and niceness is the bedrock of empathy and compassion - two human traits (that if you actually meet people who have this as part of their character and don’t look at you like a deer caught in the headlights when you ask them if they know what this means…) that also seem a bit strained these days. How do people treat their loved ones? Their hired help? The people they work with? (whether its to their face or behind their back) Do they show kindness to people in less advantageous situations? Do they have generosity of spirit? If someone has perfect etiquette but is essentially mean-spirited, the latter cancels out the former. Moral contradictions, in other words, are not nice and definitely not sexy!

Learning compassion and empathy is a lot harder than picking up a book about “how to” write the perfect party invite, when/if it's okay to regift, or who you can sensibly bring along to a
wedding. And getting people to improve their manners is an uphill battle in a culture like ours which has become largely public and confessional (two things that are definitely considered rude in other countries, like France and Japan), and here public humiliation has become something of a spectator sport. Is Simon Cowell of American Idol rude or bad-mannered, or is he just entertaining us? Hard to know.

Peninsula Siding Curb AppealSocietal changes aside, the right thing to do has always been the same. Treat others how you would want to be treated. The Golden Rule.  Here at SEA/PSC we survive and thrive under the motto “Catch more bees with honey than you do vinegar” - with an impeccable track record of customer service with setting and managing expectations. We have a clear understanding that without the customer we don’t exist, a lot of our siding work that comes to us is via word of mouth and recommendations - which are priceless!

Tune in next week when we do part deux (part two, for those of you who don’t speak/read French) of “Stereotypes in Construction" or we might just toss something else at ya!  Leaving you w/ todays related song, by Miranda Lambert, titled "Automatic"....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ksWKOy665o - and for heaven's sake, be nice y'all!

We really do love hearing from you. Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post. We'll be so thrilled that we'll even answer. 

Steven and Petalyn Albert

S.E.A. & Peninsula Siding

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