Does it seem as though people just aren't as nice as they used to be? Gayle talks with Dr. P.M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct, about what to do when people aren't minding their manners.
There is a widespread perception on the part of Americans that civility is on the decline, Dr. Forni says. "When we talk about a decline in civility, we mean that certain traditional forms of deference are not practiced," he says.
Having manners doesn't come to people naturally, rather, it is a skill they need to be taught, Dr. Forni says. When people have manners, he says, they are better able to handle situations in life. "We are wired for compassion and empathy, but we are not born to incorporate that instinct into everyday practice," he says. "Training in good manners is training in sensitivity."
Dr. Forni uses the acronym SIR for what to do when people are being rude:
State what the problem is. For example, if someone is talking loudly on his cell phone and it is bothering you, let him know he is bothering you.
Inform the person she is bothering you, but don't berate her. Tell her, "When you do that, it prevents me from relaxing, and I would like to have the opportunity to relax. Do you think you could refrain from calling unless it's an emergency?"
Request the behavior be changed. "Say it very calm with poise, and project an aura of power and repose," Dr. Forni says. "The poised alternative is more effective in the long run."