Whatever happened to manners and respect?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My parents raised me to be respectful of others and to mind my manners. So pardon me if I get a little punchy with those who are pushy and insensitive.

Let me elaborate:
I have chronic acute lymphademia in my right arm and wear a custom fit compression sleeve. I was careful when being fitted to get a color that most matched my skin tone. Far too often I have strangers approach me with the belief that they have an inherent right to know why I wear the sleeve. That is not what is so bothersome, it is the manner in which they ask. "What did you do to your arm?" is what I hear most. What makes them think I "did" anything? Or, "Carpal Tunnel?" with a smirk.

I have tried several responses over the years including ignoring the question (that only leads to demands of an answer), asking them why they need to know (I was called rude),asking them if they would ask a person in a wheelchair what they did to their legs (not the same thing I'm told) or just smiling and walking away (again I am the rude one).

So what makes them think they can insert themselves uninvited into my personal life with abrupt questions? Hubby says I shouldn't get so twisted, that it is just human nature to be curious. I don't buy that. I am curious about the person in a wheelchair or wearing the eye patch, but that does not give me any right to invade their privacy just to satisfy my curiosity.

It is not the younger set, either. It is the older men and women alike, and they should know better. The younger set generally does not even acknowledge my swollen arm in the sleeve (or lack of breasts for that matter, but that's another topic).

Now, on occasion, I have had a more polite approach and I am usually happy to respond. One dear older lady once approached me in the grocery and said "Excuse me, but I see you are wearing a girdle on your arm. May I ask why?" I thanked the lady for her genteel approach and talked about my arm and the associated issues.

So I suppose it is just the approach that offends me. While I try to be tolerant of people's lack of manners I also request they respect my privacy if I do not feel like discussing my health with them.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    ... I agree, I think that it is the way that people ask about it... I wear a preventive compression sleeve and fingerless gauntlet when I am active and people ask me about it all the time... some ask if I have an elbow injury ... but it really doesn't bother me because I know that it is a curiosity, especially with other women...

    I remember years ago I had a friend that had cerebral palsy and she could not stand for people to stare at her... She told me that she would rather have people ask her what was wrong or what happened to her than to stare and make assumptions... I actually found out that she had CP by asking her and that is how we became friends...

    I am sorry that people have approached you in a rude manner, and it is not their business, but I can also understand why people are curious; I am curious by nature myself, but I am also careful to be tactful and consider the situation before I approach someone with such a personal question...

    ... and I agree with RAVENCREST1, I think that a lot of it has to do with what a person was taught as a child... some people just don't know any better, but in some cases ignorance is not bliss especially at someone else's expense...

    ~ Dee ~ emoticon
    4356 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/24/2009 12:03:26 PM
  • no profile photo CD4256071
    4363 days ago
    I totally agree with you regarding the rudeness of people. I have noticed that many people think that they have a God given right to enter your personal space, wheather it is a question of which is none of their business or a parking space, driving lane (don't get me started on that) etc. I would never in a million years even think of saying some of the things I hear from people's mouths. I am 56 yrs young and I still address my elders by Mr. or Mrs. I am courteous and respectful of people. To bad many are not. My greatest compliment came from a stranger who commented on my son being a gentleman and saying that it was nice to see that some young people could be polite and respectful not only to a stranger but to their Mom. I think I did a good job teaching my son what I was taught. We just need to be thankful that we know what is proper and feel sorry for those who don't. I know the feeling tho, some times you just want to SCREAM!!. Take care. emoticon
    4367 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/12/2009 9:28:40 PM
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