Social Issues

Social Courtesy: A Living Mockery of Etiquette or the Height of Hypocrisy?


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“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of the pleasures costs nothing and conveys much. It pleases him who gives and him who receives, and thus, like mercy, it is twice blessed.”
Erastus Wiman

Well, what a nicely framed thought above. Free from bias, sarcasm and ridicule. Genuinely meaningful words of wisdom only meant to bestow us with virtual piety. Courtesy is the gift of treating others with warmth and respect. It means according dignity to people by being considerate, responsive, and kind in our dealings with them.

Social courtesy entails all of the above. Ever since childhood, we have been taught that man is a social animal; he has to live in society and that too with harmony. For the same reason, society has laid down some rules and mannerisms that are together called as social etiquette. Whether it is to make a good impression or to establish cordial relations with the people around you, it is imperative for you to have some knowledge about social etiquette.

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Of the many afflictions of the excruciating transformation from childhood into adulthood – in other words growing up – minding manners is most ghastly. It is one of the first things we learn to mind and are constantly drilled over its significance which is tantamount to upholding honour and respect. The visitor decorum is to be maintained at all costs.

We are all required to say please, thank you, remain eternally delighted, never get mad, always act cheerful, and treat women like they are helpless whilst simultaneously being the perfect host performing hospitality to flawlessness. Henceforth, our cultural notion of expressing the desire for social conformity.

Social courtesy is a need that has become increasingly artificial in a time when tolerance levels are south bound. The likelihood of you disliking more than half of your acquaintances is higher than it was some time back. But you meet them still, even if it means altering your day’s schedule just to accommodate their ‘presence’ because the pressure of being labeled a ‘loner’ is just too much to tackle. As a child, I reminisce with melancholy my parents meeting much more people than they do now and, most importantly, in a relaxed ambiance. People said what was on their minds without being uncouth or offensive.

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At present, things have changed drastically. It’s all about who’s on top of the social ladder, who has got the latest BMW, who’s loved, in demand, etc. Rubbing things in your face and uncharacteristically pretending to be oblivious to your feelings and emotions appears to be their ultimate goal. They gloat and revel in pouring salt on your wounds as you silently speculate with a fake smile plastered on your face who had let them even know about your private matters in the first place. Their empathy is nothing but stale, clichéd words in the air with a rather ill camouflaged sarcastic tone meant to mock and deride you in reality.

What about all that ‘give and take’ façade? If they fed you a meal the expectation is nothing short of a banquet. You give them a banquet, they find a million ways to patronize you and all those involved. And the cycle continues…I’d be greatly obliged if you’d direct me to the stop button.

You’re plagued with this urge of just getting up and leaving the room away from the perfectly applied make up, shiny pearl white teeth and gel-back hair. You wish everyone in your company was mute and dumb. And how often, do you wish people realized it was late and this isn’t a long weekend? Very often indeed!

With the increase of going-out culture and restaurants, the ‘culture’ itself seems to be fading out. In the last one decade, everyone seems to complain about not having a good enough social life. What they don’t complain about is not having enough friends. Hence, the necessity to thrill or shall I say entertain everyone in the so-called social circle. Yes, you have a life…

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Social life is inevitable to retaining sanity, we are often told. So in order to remain sane, you keep connecting with people you don’t know or care about. Yet, after the meeting or get together is over, you go home with an utter dissatisfaction of meaningless social interaction. What you see is a dire absence of people who like to stay in and have fun. Thumbs down, because if such a situation were to occur, who is going to ogle at your eight thousand Asim Jofa jora? Kaching!

Fact of the matter is that no one likes or appreciates the increasingly common various definitions of ‘cool’, meaning hereby-public rudeness, insolent over confidence, tacky makeup, supporting the ‘correct and sociably acceptable’ political party, etc.

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What must be made abundantly clear is close friends and allies don’t fall into the category described above in all its gory detail. I’m not just referring to a certain class. Even in an average household meeting friends and families has becomes more of a once-a-month activity – hold changing social patterns or increasing financial pressure as the guilty party but this alienation is seeping rapidly into our culture.

Of course, there will be those individuals who are at a total loss as to what it is I was rambling on about as they take immense pleasure in every nano second spent in the company of friends, family and acquaintances. You angelic mortals are truly blessed. 

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