Whether or not your parents/caregivers planned your existence, the life-lessons they instilled within you were their way of saying, “please, don’t grow up to be douchebag, and try to make the world a better place.” I’ll always remember the things my mother taught me just before starting kindergarten in 1993:
“Always hold the door for others.”
“Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.”
“Look people in the eyes when they’re speaking to you.”
“Don’t fuck men, because you’ll go to hell.”
I ignored the latter piece of advice at age 16 in the middle of a field with a blonde named Tommy…but, the first three remain very much ingrained in my DNA, as will they in my children (if I have any.) Despite the twenty-two years that have passed since receiving my mother’s advice, they, along with countless others (“always use your turn signal, don’t litter, rinse your dishes after a meal if you’re going to leave them in the sink”), will forever show those watching you that you’re a considerate human being.
As technology continues its rapid trajectory of dominating every aspect of our lives, it’s important for millennials to recognize that, without proper coaching, our children are going to be socially awkward, self-centered robots who think saying “bless you” after someone sneezes is an urban legend. In order to protect the notion of integrity, here are seven Standards of Courtesy (SOCs) we need to set (or reset) for ourselves and future generations:
WATCH-OUT FOR BIKERS
Yes, some over-confident bikers weave in and out of traffic while on their cell phone and cut you off, instilling hatred and rage. However, slamming into you, your vehicle, or vice versa at +/- 25mph can be fatal. If parking on a busy roadway, look in your side-mirror before opening your car door. For you small-town folk who still yell, “GET OUT OF THE ROAD! BIKES ARE MEANT FOR THE SIDEWALK!!”, please school your fucking self.
PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY WHILE EATING
Or dancing, or shitting, or driving, or working. Your company thinks you’re rude. If you want to be somewhere else, try planning your day a bit better and decide that prior to meeting for a meal. Plus, your constant need to scroll through Instagram on the shitter has smothered your phone in poop particles, which I don’t want near my utensils.
SPEAK TO SOMEONE VIA PHONE/INTERNET THE SAME WAY YOU WOULD IN REAL LIFE
With instant access to almost everything — a ride, your man-crush living in Australia, a glitter bomb — people expect everything NOW. As self-satisfaction and impatience becomes more prevalent in our society, composure and “customer service” — that is, for example, smiling at a customer who asks to “speak to a white-employee instead of a black one” — are critical traits to retain. Instead of bitching at an AT&T representative over the phone or sending a shitty text message to your roommate for not cleaning up after a party, SPEAK, out loud, in-person, to someone in order to make a change. If you don’t have the confidence to treat someone to their face, you shouldn’t be treating.
BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR LYFT OR UBER DRIVER’S CAR
As millennials count more and more on ride-sharing to get to and from work and play, it’s easy to forget that you are riding in a complete stranger’s vehicle. Doing your makeup in the visor mirror? Wipe your glossy hands on your own clothes before touching anything else. Carting a new piece of furniture? Take it out delicately to avoiding scratching the paint. And please, please, if you feel like puking, say something sooner rather than later.
SHARE WHAT’S IMPORTANT ON FACEBOOK
As much as I like to think the constant stream of information in my News Feed is intrusive, I’m starting to realize just how much entertainment, news, communication, and education I consume through Facebook. I don’t remember the last time I sent a mass text to all of my friends and family telling them, “Hey! Let’s boycott Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act!” or “Here’s how you can help prevent more trans-people from dying.” With over one billion users, your post may just start a revolution.
USE THE LEFT-MOST LANE FOR PASSING
This oldie but goodie needs revisiting (especially for Chicago drivers.) The further to the left you are on a multi-lane highway, the faster you should be going. If you’re in the left-most lane and the car behind you is quickly approaching, get the fuck over and stay there ASAP.
ASK BEFORE TOUCHING SOMEONE’S CELL PHONE
Yes, I did just take a picture of you. Yes, I will send it to you when I’m done editing it. Do not, while you’re drunk, grab my $950 iPhone out of my hand without my god damn permission. Hey, HEY! What did I just say?! I’m cropping you out of the photo. Byeeeeee.
With a little common sense, we can help protect the future from assholes.
What new (or legacy) life lessons continue to shape who you are today? Sound off in the comments.