Is Etiquette Dead? Minding Your Manners in a Modern World

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks

In our world of modern conveniences, we can communicate instantly through Skype, Facetime, online chats, texting, and more. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr allow us to upload the important moments in our lives to keep friends and loved ones in the loop. Want to know how my trip to Hawaii was? Read my WordPress blog (and leave a comment if you have a question.) Check out my Flickr pics if you want a visual of my new bikini and how we lavishly lived it up.

As a generation who grew up in the shadow of Baby Boomers, Generation X is now having a midlife crisis, and virtually none of them seem to notice.  They’ve hung all their hopes on eternal youth – refusing to grow up and follow the rules of society. While generations past have experienced similar phenomenons – Dad leaving Mom after 20 years of marriage (when Mom leaves Dad it’s therapeutic and not a travesty), Dad buying a convertible and getting a younger girlfriend. Mom might have quit her stable job to start up her own cookie business. Whatever the scenario, at some point, most generations fight the aging process as they desperately try to feel young again.

The difference now, of course, is that Generation Xers have never really grown up. They’ve clung on to their youth white knuckled and sweating, even as they’ve gone through the motions of being adults – like getting married and having kids (marriage optional). Becoming parents hasn’t stopped this generation from partying hard and tweeting harder. “I’m too old for this. Remind me never to do this again!”

One characteristic that seems to be glaringly missing from society these days? Etiquette. Baby Boomers cluck their tongues at the younger generations who figuratively thumb their noses at ‘Manners’. They’ve got better things to do than sending paper thank you cards for all of life’s events. Besides, who uses actual paper anymore? Texting was invented for a reason, right? A thank you text is pretty much all that Generation X feels is necessary.

Women and men are equals now, and this generation embraces that fact like no generation that has come before us. Same sex couples, opposite sex couples, who cares? IT’S ALL GOOD. Today’s thirty-somethings are living life for the moment, shrugging off societal expectations and the need for anything that’s deemed a ‘waste of time.’

Can you sufficiently express thanks and appreciation through a little palm-sized device rather than with a pen, paper and a stamp?

Living mindfully and enjoying all of life’s moments isn’t replacing manners, but it is changing the way we express them. It’s still important to show your appreciation and to keep in touch with loved ones who don’t live a stone’s throw away, but what isn’t important is how you do it. The world as we know it is ever-changing, and as Bruce Barton once said, “When you are through changing, you are through.”

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