Hissy Fit - June 2024 - Discounted Social Graces? So Cheap and Yet So Costly

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


June 2024 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

People allow themselves to get away with less than desirable behavior by stating it's “2024” like that gives the human race a hall pass.
What does a year have to do with being a good human, raising good humans, and behaving like a good human? Nothing, that’s what..

For those of you who discount social graces to the times we are in right now, I have to ask, why? It’s alright with you for people to be nonchalant, even rude, putting no effort into doing their part as decent citizens? When did standards get so low, so as not even to expect people to do the right thing?

At 30 and 25, my children are each entering a phase in their career where they are starting to climb the ladder. I’ve told them they live in a time when even a little extra effort makes you a rock star, basically because most people out there simply don’t care or don’t know how. Growing up in an entrepreneurial environment, they both have a steadfast work-ethic, high standards, and a “do what it takes” attitude. I wish more people had this trait because it makes their lives so much better.

Not to pick on the “twikes” out there, everybody needs to tune in and level up. (Read last month’s Hissy Fit if you’re wondering what a “twike” is.) We’ve gotten sloppy in our behaviors in which social graces are teetering on the edge of becoming social disgraces.

Please do your part in saving grace and saving face. Here are a few simple things to start your graceful, and ultimately grateful, journey. These things are simple and small, but when put into action, each of them will make huge difference.

Quit Cursing:
Ladies (and gentlemen), as a whole we have to quit cursing. It’s gone too far, even young children swear, and it’s because they hear parents, other adults, television shows, video games, and children all around them using horrible curse words in regular conversations. People use the f-word as though there are no other words in the category of “exclamations” or “adjectives”. I sat in the stadium at the University of South Carolina all last season with some of the most horrible things being yelled out into the crowd. I’m appalled adults no longer care if children are around. They just spout off their nasty mouths no matter who is in their midst. But it’s not just at sporting events. It’s everywhere. This is where mindfulness would make a gigantic difference. If it’s important to you to stop swearing, get conscious of the bad words spewing out of your mouth and stop saying them. Set your standards; cursing isn’t attractive.

Return phone calls:
It is rude not to return a phone call. If someone takes the time to call you, the least you can do is call them back. It has come to a point in the business world where simply returning phone calls makes you impressive. Nowadays, I find myself usually spending at least the first 30 seconds praising and thanking someone for returning my call. If you think you’re too busy to return the call, just remember, the person calling you is more than likely busy, too. Gracious! This truly is a small task. Be mannerly and return your calls. You never know what someone is calling about—it could be great news!

If someone has thought well enough about you to invite you to a party or an event, for God’s sake, take 15 seconds to let them know if you will attend or not. It is beyond rude to ignore an invitation—possibly the utmost atrocious expression in taking a friend, colleague or connection for granted. Nothing says “I don’t give a damn about you” as not responding to an invitation, except maybe calling 10 minutes before—or during—the gathering to let the host you’re not coming. At that point, forgo the call! You’re adding salt to the wound.

If you Commit, then Commit:
“Sure, I know I told you I would come to your party, help you make cupcakes, meet you for dinner, etc….but something better came up—or—I just didn’t feel like it.” People! If you commit to something, follow through and make good on your commitment, a.k.a. your word, your reputation, your intrinsic character. When did it become alright to bail on people—usually without notice? Being able to count on someone is the basis of trust, friendship…humanity. I can’t impress upon you enough how important it is to do what you say you’re going to do. Civilization needs you to commit to your commitments to stay alive!

Don’t Be Late:
Being on time is a virtue of not only respect for others, but also respect for yourself. If you value your time, and we all should because it is finite, then being on time should be on the top of your non-negotiables list. Remember: If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late, don’t bother. I understand there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. a wreck on the bridge), but most people who are late, are habitually late. You know who you are. Impress yourself and stop your tardiness. No one will verbally praise you for it, but believe me, everyone will notice.

Put Effort Into Things:
If you’re going to do something, then do it like you mean it. There is nothing more disappointing than someone wanting to take shortcuts or the easy way out. Granted, sometimes that approach is fine…when it doesn’t affect others. But at work, or on a committee, or with something you committed to, your best should be the goal. This includes actually getting dressed to go to the store—even Walmart. Pajamas and slippers should NOT be worn outside of your home—this especially goes for children, teens, twines, and general lazy human beings.

No Excuses:
One of the fastest ways to achieve mediocrity is through excuses. Excuses are the antithesis of self-discipline, and they are also lies you tell yourself in order to be less than your best self. If you’re cool with that, then keep the excuses rolling. However, if you’re ready to take your ONE life serious and be all you can be, stop the excuses right now! The choice is yours.

We’re just approaching the halfway mark of 2024, which means there’s still time
to be the change we want to see in the world. I’m trying. Are you?