You’ll have to draw that conclusion for yourself because much of the answer is dependant on the way you behave in the world. Rude people tend to think everyone else is the same way and courteous people, on the whole, believe if the need arises someone will step up to help.
In a not-so-scientific-but-fun study conducted by Reader’s Digest last year, New York City was found to be the most courteous city in the world. A group of Reader’s Digest employees scattered around the globe to perform manners tests. They used a simple formula – one female and one male tester per city, the experiment was performed sixty times, and unwitting participants were interviewed as to why they did or did not respond to the person who needed a hand.
They conducted three types of experiments – the will someone open or hold the door for me test, the I’ve dropped my papers will anyone help me pick them up test, and the will the service staff in a coffee shop be courteous test.
And believe it or not, New York City came out on top, leaving Paris, France and Seoul, Korea in the dust. But is it fair to go to a foreign country and judge them on American standards of manners? Probably not.
What I found interesting about the article is the main reason sighted for offering a helping hand was parental example. “My mother expected it of me.” “It’s what I was taught to do.” Or the other reason for helping out, “It’s what I would want someone to do for me.”
In my home, my husband and I are the manners police. We expect our children to say please and thank you. The first person through a door holds it for the rest of the group. The children help bring in the grocery bags and are told, in no uncertain terms, to ask before taking the last piece of pie. We live in such a rushed and casual society that I think we forget to teach the basic manners our parents taught us around the dinner table.
These little pleasantries help make everyone’s day brighter. When noise and stress levels in our house are high, common courtesy among our mob of seven makes us feel more like a family and less like a rock concert.
It’s perception. Courteous or rude - we get to choose what to be, to see, and to teach.