Definition: Manners: “a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving towards others.”
Definition: Entitled: “believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”
Working with the public is a very gratifying occupation. I look forward to greeting the people who come to use the services the library offers.
People come to the library for books, magazines, movies, to use the Internet, or simply to sit and read the paper in a comfy chair. I always enjoy conversations with our patrons, to hear about their lives, what they have planned for the week.
I have, however, noticed the other side of the population, those who are sadly without manners and consideration for others, those who have a huge sense of entitlement.
I try to deal with the latter half of the population by challenging the rudeness with a smile.
I realize that inconsiderate behaviour might be the result of someone having a really bad day or they might be dealing with a stressful situation, but other times it’s not.
It’s certainly not fun being on the receiving end of someone’s negative behaviour. Either way, for me, it’s best to smile and not take it personally.
Basic library manners include simple things like putting your cellphone on silent mode when you enter the library.
Emily Post was a leading authority on manners and etiquette. Her great grand-daughter-in-law, Peggy Post has written numerous books on the subject.
In “Excuse Me, But I was next…” you can learn how to politely say no, and how to handle awkward situations like someone using their cell phone in a restaurant (or library).
Recently I was in a store, there was a small line of four waiting to be served.
A woman came in to the store and pushed right to the front to ask numerous questions.
A gentleman in line politely said, “Excuse me, I believe we are before you.”
The woman turned around and rudely said she was entitled to ask questions.
The gentleman politely said “Yes, but when it’s your turn.”
The woman then looked at him and told him to “get over it.”
I was surprised at her behaviour and her belief of entitlement. I was also impressed by the gentleman’s calm use of his manners.
In “The Difference You Make – Changing Your World through the Impact of Your Influence” by Pat Williams, we are reminded that everyone has influence.
Our words and actions impact the people we come in contact with.
Simple actions like holding the door for someone or wishing them a good day can go a long way.
Come into the Library and check out the numerous books we have on the subject of manners and entitlement and remember, “Manners cost nothing, but mean everything” – Anonymous.
Dianne Broadbent is an assistant community librarian at the Summerland Branch of the ORL.