External Considering and Good Manners

Windmill knight

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Someone posted this on another thread:

http://faculty.msmc.edu/lindeman/ee.html

Ethical empathy

There are some philosophers who think that empathy is central to all work in ethics; that without empathy, one will inadvertently harm others. Iris Murdoch is one such philosoher; Simone Weil is another. Both emphasize the necessity of developing one's capacity for attention as basic to developing ethical empathy.

In my own work, I have concluded that there are stages of empathy ranging from no empathy through the 3rd degree of empathy.

Zero empathy - the decision maker may follow moral rules or work for good conesquences but s/he has no empathetic understanding of the Other.
First degree of empathy - the decision maker can not identify with the Other but treats this Other as s/he would a beloved relative or friend.
Second degree of empathy - the decision maker does identify with the Other and treats the Other as s/he, the decision maker, would like to be treated. Some would see this as a common interpretation of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as one would have others do unto oneself.
Third degree of empathy - the decision maker has developed her/his capacity for attention to the degree that the decision maker can attend to the Other so fully as to see what the situation means to the Other...and treats the Other in accord with the Other's meaning and desire.

In health care it is important to develop empathy if we want to do what is right or good for the Other, as the Other sees his or her situation. There are not only cultural differences but personal difference among people. One of the best ways to develop the skills necessary for empathy is to read first person accounts and fictional literature by or about persons with illnesses or health care problems because such reading requires empathetic understanding - or we grow too bored to continue. New York Universitiy offers a web site with many links to such on line sources.

One question that is helpful to health care practitioners who are trying to develop empathy for a client or patient or colleague is:
What are you going through?

The legend of the Grail says that it is guarded by a King with a fearful wound and the Grail will be given to the person who comes upon this wounded King and asks him, "What are you going through?". If you want to develop empathy for your clients, try asking this question of some of them and then LISTEN to their answers with the respect that their honest sharing deserves. If you can listen and imagine what it is like to experience what they describe you will be an empathetic professional.
I thought I would post it here because the third degree of empathy sounds a lot like external considering.
 
I have been disheartened in the past few years due to lack of manners or common courtesy. For example, after sending gifts to young people who have graduated, etc., no acknowledgment of any kind was received. No thank you, no nothing. I asked someone younger than I if that is common now. She told me not to expect thank you notes. One person she knows didn't even know how to address an envelope.

More recently, we invited some young friends over for dinner and conversation. They agreed to come and a time was set. So we got ready on the appointed day. The friends did not show up nor did they call to cancel or say anything. Also recently, we sent out a written invitation to an event coming up in several months, and asked for a reply by mail no later than January 1. One reply was received. One acknowledged the invitation in an email, but never responded definitely. The others (about 12 people) total ignored the request. Of the people invited, 5 or 6 are in their 60's, so it's not just a young person problem.

Have any of you experienced this kind of callousness? How do you handle it? As I mentioned, it is very disheartening to me to be treated as if I am invisible.
 

Laura

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I have been disheartened in the past few years due to lack of manners or common courtesy. For example, after sending gifts to young people who have graduated, etc., no acknowledgment of any kind was received. No thank you, no nothing. I asked someone younger than I if that is common now. She told me not to expect thank you notes. One person she knows didn't even know how to address an envelope.

More recently, we invited some young friends over for dinner and conversation. They agreed to come and a time was set. So we got ready on the appointed day. The friends did not show up nor did they call to cancel or say anything. Also recently, we sent out a written invitation to an event coming up in several months, and asked for a reply by mail no later than January 1. One reply was received. One acknowledged the invitation in an email, but never responded definitely. The others (about 12 people) total ignored the request. Of the people invited, 5 or 6 are in their 60's, so it's not just a young person problem.

Have any of you experienced this kind of callousness? How do you handle it? As I mentioned, it is very disheartening to me to be treated as if I am invisible.
I think I would start weeding out my friends and acquaintances.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have been disheartened in the past few years due to lack of manners or common courtesy. For example, after sending gifts to young people who have graduated, etc., no acknowledgment of any kind was received. No thank you, no nothing. I asked someone younger than I if that is common now. She told me not to expect thank you notes. One person she knows didn't even know how to address an envelope.

More recently, we invited some young friends over for dinner and conversation. They agreed to come and a time was set. So we got ready on the appointed day. The friends did not show up nor did they call to cancel or say anything. Also recently, we sent out a written invitation to an event coming up in several months, and asked for a reply by mail no later than January 1. One reply was received. One acknowledged the invitation in an email, but never responded definitely. The others (about 12 people) total ignored the request. Of the people invited, 5 or 6 are in their 60's, so it's not just a young person problem.

Have any of you experienced this kind of callousness? How do you handle it? As I mentioned, it is very disheartening to me to be treated as if I am invisible.
One thought that remained with me after reading your experience was, if any of the people mentioned as friends also happen to be family related. If that is the case, you can not just ditch the family relation, say to a niece or nephew. Even if you decide to reduce or change the level of contact, they will still remain your family.

About young people, but depending on the background, many have so much of everything that one more "thing" does not move them. Might they respond differently to direct contact. verbal congratulations or a chat? Apart from the customs of saying thank you there is also the long term effect. I recall receiving a book about birds for my confirmation as a Christian, a celebration that took place when I was 14. It was a gift from the wife of a wealthy land owner and dealer in livestock, who was a friend of my grand parents. I did not even understand, why I received the gift and never sent a thank you note, did not know how to. Today I recall the event with joy and in a greater context, and when there is talk of this family, I recall this lady with respect. Perhaps some thank you notes are only sent out, when the giver is no longer in this world.

From my daily experience moving among teenagers, I know some are very difficult to reach.. When teaching a subject, I feel a responsibility to give all pupils a chance, but I can't do more than that. If they do not respond to the offers, I can try to change the format, I can try to talk to them, I can invite outside help, but simultaneously I also need to minimize the effect of the unresponsiveness on both myself and others. Some young people when left to their own devices are even destructive with respect to how they interact with both their material and social surroundings.

Apart from the possibility that some of your friends are actually family, there is the chance that some of them are business acquaintances. If that is the case, I would act strategically, because in a business there is a budget for marketing. Some companies have loyalty programmes, some offer small gifts for anniversaries, birthdays and New Year.

Since hardly anyone responded to your invitation for an event in a few months time, might there be other people out there, who would be happy to celebrate with you? Or what would happen if you repeated the invitation to those who have not yet responded, or gave them a call to find out if they received your first invitation; maybe your message got lost in the mail, maybe their response got lost? (This situation does happen.) It seems to me that from the responses of your friends to this second chance you should get a good impression of how to move forward when reconsidering your network, as Laura and Beau correctly suggested. Good luck!
 

Arwenn

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More recently, we invited some young friends over for dinner and conversation. They agreed to come and a time was set. So we got ready on the appointed day. The friends did not show up nor did they call to cancel or say anything. Also recently, we sent out a written invitation to an event coming up in several months, and asked for a reply by mail no later than January 1. One reply was received. One acknowledged the invitation in an email, but never responded definitely. The others (about 12 people) total ignored the request. Of the people invited, 5 or 6 are in their 60's, so it's not just a young person problem.

Have any of you experienced this kind of callousness? How do you handle it? As I mentioned, it is very disheartening to me to be treated as if I am invisible
I’ve experienced this professionally on occassion when patients book an appointment but then just don’t show up or call to cancel (despite being sent an automated reminder by text). I find it rude and discourteous to say the least, but at least there are protocols to manage no-shows.

Lack of manners and courtesy is really hard to handle quite often because we are running ‘make nice’ programs and put up with being treated poorly. In the instance above where people had agreed to come but did not, and no call was received, I’d chase that up with them to inquire if there was an emergency that prevented their attendance (courtesy on your part as a host as that would be the only mitigating reason as far as I’m concerned). If you get some nonchalant excuse then at least you can calmly let them no why their behaviour is completely unacceptable on their part- at least you are letting them know what you will and won’t put up with and why. Maybe their parents didn’t teach them manners/courtesy or maybe they don’t care- either way you get to teach them appreciate social behaviour &/or determine whether you wish to still associate with them.

As for the second instance of poor reply rate, yeah I dunno- lack of manners, poor time management to reply by the required date, wanting to keep their options open as it’s too far ahead, commitment issues or just pure lazy (maybe all of the above). Or perhaps a lack of clear boundaries on your part as to what you accept as appropriate social behaviour - are you being overly agreeable? As suggested above it might be prudent to rethink who you wish to continue associating with in the future.
 

hlat

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Lack of manners and courtesy is really hard to handle quite often because we are running ‘make nice’ programs and put up with being treated poorly.
When I was in school, I did a study abroad program. There was a holdover group of students from the previous semester, and then there was a new group of students including me. As time went on, I learned that one of the holdover students had a notorious reputation for asking to borrow money and then never paying back. She borrowed money from me too and she paid me back timely. Why did she treat me differently than the rest of the students? I think it was because I would not put up with bad behavior and was straightforward and probably blunt. When she borrowed from me, I probably made it clear to her that she would be paying me back. I think people get a sense of who we are and what we put up with through interactions with us. There's always the question whether the problem is with other people or with us.

Or perhaps a lack of clear boundaries on your part as to what you accept as appropriate social behaviour - are you being overly agreeable?
It could be thought of as a boundary issue. We imagine that we are a circle, so that everything inside the circle is ourselves within our control and everything outside the circle is other people that we are not supposed to control. Well if we have holes in our circle, holes in our boundary, then manipulative people can just reach right in and start taking things inside the circle that belong to us or pushing our buttons.
 
I have been disheartened in the past few years due to lack of manners or common courtesy. For example, after sending gifts to young people who have graduated, etc., no acknowledgment of any kind was received. No thank you, no nothing. I asked someone younger than I if that is common now. She told me not to expect thank you notes. One person she knows didn't even know how to address an envelope.

More recently, we invited some young friends over for dinner and conversation. They agreed to come and a time was set. So we got ready on the appointed day. The friends did not show up nor did they call to cancel or say anything. Also recently, we sent out a written invitation to an event coming up in several months, and asked for a reply by mail no later than January 1. One reply was received. One acknowledged the invitation in an email, but never responded definitely. The others (about 12 people) total ignored the request. Of the people invited, 5 or 6 are in their 60's, so it's not just a young person problem.

Have any of you experienced this kind of callousness? How do you handle it? As I mentioned, it is very disheartening to me to be treated as if I am invisible.
Relationship are complicated, but I would say that, sometimes we also need to recognise the kind of relationship we have with a person, what kind of person they are and if our expectation of them or how they should act towards us aren't too high.

For example the young person you sent gift to for graduation. Were you truly that close to them that a gift was warranted? Or perhaps, they are ungrateful people and that's just part of their personality. Therefore, to avoid further frustration, you know that it's not worth offering too much of your money or energy to them. We have a family friend who's quite ungrateful. It used to annoy us when we would buy gift for her son and she would barely acknowledge it. Nowadays, we still buy gifts, but we invest less money and we don't really expect much of a reaction. I don't think we're here to teach anyone anything. What's important is to be able to gauge every of our relations and know what can be done or not with each and have clear boundaries.

Also sometimes, we need to look at our own motivation. Did you send a gift or render services to you friends because you truly want to or because you expect something in return from them (e.g praise for how nice you are)? By the way, I think if someone receive a gift, even if they're young, would know to at least give a thank-you call (or their parents would make them do so).

In the case, of the invitation you sent, did you send reminders? You know people could have been busy, maybe they didn't think it was an issue if they gave a reply after 01 Jan, or they could have simply forgotten.

The situation you described are more example of people being cheeky rather than necessarily callous. Callousness would be more if one of your friends borrowed money from you, but when you're in need and he has enough, you wouldn't be able to count on his help.
 

thorbiorn

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Yes you can. In some circumstances, family must be cut out completely.

Sometimes the worst attacks come from family, precisely because some people will accept all sorts of abuse from family.
Thank you for clarifying, it reminded me that my mother did not know if her brother was still alive. I checked it and found out he died more than two years ago.
 
I agree. And I've had to do it. It is EXTREMELY painful, but sometimes necessary.
The circumstances I described did not include family. Family members did act badly years ago. Even though it was extremely painful, I did cut them off. As for weeding out friends, the older ones were the ones left after a previous weeding! :rolleyes: The younger ones were folks we had met when we were trying to get new friends as suggested by Beau.

I recall receiving a book about birds for my confirmation as a Christian, a celebration that took place when I was 14. It was a gift from the wife of a wealthy land owner and dealer in livestock, who was a friend of my grand parents. I did not even understand, why I received the gift and never sent a thank you note, did not know how to. Today I recall the event with joy and in a greater context, and when there is talk of this family, I recall this lady with respect. Perhaps some thank you notes are only sent out, when the giver is no longer in this world.
Teenagers were the ones who did not send thank you notes. I remember as a teenager or even earlier, my mom taught me and encouraged me to send thank you notes when someone gave a gift. Even if I didn't really know the person or particularly like the gift, I learned to write a polite note. So I guess this is something that is not being taught or encouraged much any more.

Lack of manners and courtesy is really hard to handle quite often because we are running ‘make nice’ programs and put up with being treated poorly. In the instance above where people had agreed to come but did not, and no call was received, I’d chase that up with them to inquire if there was an emergency that prevented their attendance (courtesy on your part as a host as that would be the only mitigating reason as far as I’m concerned). If you get some nonchalant excuse then at least you can calmly let them no why their behaviour is completely unacceptable on their part- at least you are letting them know what you will and won’t put up with and why. Maybe their parents didn’t teach them manners/courtesy or maybe they don’t care- either way you get to teach them appreciate social behaviour &/or determine whether you wish to still associate with them.
We did follow up with the no-shows and didn't really get a good answer. So most likely, they really didn't WANT to come and didn't know how to say no. They evidently didn't know how to make an excuse for not coming, so they did nothing. Once again, something my mom taught me, respond when needed. If I didn't really want to do something, I at least responded with some sort of excuse. People usually know it's an "excuse" but at least they are not left hanging.

Relationship are complicated, but I would say that, sometimes we also need to recognise the kind of relationship we have with a person, what kind of person they are and if our expectation of them or how they should act towards us aren't too high.
For the people I have known for years, I did have higher expectations of at least the common courtesy of a reply saying "no".

There's always the question whether the problem is with other people or with us.
That's true. But we don't put up with bad behavior. We do give people a chance, then move on if necessary.
*****
Lack of manners and courtesy towards others seems to be becoming more common unfortunately. I can get over the personal slights and move on, but still it is sad that things have become this way.
 

luc

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Lack of manners and courtesy towards others seems to be becoming more common unfortunately. I can get over the personal slights and move on, but still it is sad that things have become this way.
Yes, it does get more common in my experience as well. I think it comes down to simple laziness. The inability to make the slightest effort if it's not absolutely necessary. To be honest, I see the same tendency in myself a few years ago: write that postcard? Nah, too lazy. Send that thank you email? Not necessary. Late for an appointment? Nevermind. Etc. etc. I still often have to consciously go against this tendency, but it does get better with practice.

I guess this laziness became worse during the last years/decade because a) the importance of such simple efforts and courtesy is not taught as a supreme value anymore (it's all about "me me me") and b) people's brains are turned into mush by sooo many factors these days. It's really sad.

And yes, while you can excuse some "transgressions", keeping in mind that people are different, if there's repeated behavior like this, this isn't a good sign at all for a decent friendship. You want friends who lift you up, not suck you down, IMO.
 

genero81

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As time went on, I learned that one of the holdover students had a notorious reputation for asking to borrow money and then never paying back. She borrowed money from me too and she paid me back timely. Why did she treat me differently than the rest of the students? I think it was because I would not put up with bad behavior and was straightforward and probably blunt. When she borrowed from me, I probably made it clear to her that she would be paying me back. I think people get a sense of who we are and what we put up with through interactions with us. There's always the question whether the problem is with other people or with us.
I think this is very insightful, hlat. I've had similar experiences. We have be nice programs that tell us we're being mean if we are blunt, but in the right circumstances it makes all the difference. Some people have the tendency to get away with what they can get away with. They don't adhere to principles or make a point of acting with integrity.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Lack of manners and courtesy towards others seems to be becoming more common unfortunately. I can get over the personal slights and move on, but still it is sad that things have become this way.
At the local recycling station, I have picked up three different books on good behaviour and good manners. They are from 1951, 1963 and 1965. Books are still being published, or rather republished, but it is not a topic of concern in the upbringing of children and young people, as it once used to be.
 
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