Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Good manners have died like a germ in hand sanitiser

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Good manners have died like a germ in hand sanitiser


Jane Stephens: Good manners have died like a germ in hand sanitiser

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

You beauty, finally they’ve revived a Bonza word!

I am excited about the new airline out of the coast. It will be awesome having those destinations at our finger tips but even better More

Your Say: cul-de-sac fury, road fix and new sandsation

Thanks Sunshine Coast News for the article: 'Bureaucracy gone mad': residents told neighbourhood garden project must go. A quick look at the setting is interesting More

Sami: why families are sometimes third time lucky

And just like that many of us fell in love with Prince Louis of Cambridge. He is my favourite kid. And I have three of my More

Jane: how approach to inclusion creates exclusion

Our society has come a long way where diversity and inclusion are concerned. Our new Parliament more closely reflects our society in its mix of More

A sudden death at showtime and things left unsaid

Every year, around this time, I write about how the Nambour Show has a special place in my heart as my dad died on More

When parents battle for kids, this is what happens

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia require parties to attempt mediation in parenting disputes before seeking a judge to determine it through More

A simple ‘hello’ is not too much to ask for. A sunny ‘good morning’ is generated with just a few facial muscles and uses fleeting eye contact. Hardly difficult.

But the search is on for these, which seem to be lost. Good manners have gone the way of the dodo, washed away like a germ drenched in hand sanitiser.

The girl in the local newsagent who seems bored and grumpy. The Aldi checkout operator who is robotic and rushed. A lad who walks in partway through a presentation with head down. A woman who answers her phone half way through another conversation without apology.

Is this the best we can do?

It would be easy to blame the past year, where confinement and various kinds of COVID-driven limitations have kept people apart or in isolated groups, but the Sunshine Coast has only been grazed by COVID.

Local journalists supporting local people. Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news coming by subscribing to our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article 

As an acquaintance said this week, the people of the Sunshine Coast should be skipping and jumping, so healthy is our economy and dreamy our lifestyle.

Of course, in a COVID world, the need for manners has ballooned.

Covering our mouth when we cough is a matter of public health as well as courtesy and not standing too close is a rule, not just polite.

It is not old fashioned to expect or extend good manners – and I don’t mean curtsies and hand flourishes should make a comeback.

It’s the pleases and thank yous that are MIA. Eye contact. Listening. Waiting your turn.

I travel by bus to work and am stunned at how few people greet the driver on pick up much less say ‘thank you’ as they disembark.

A driver takes the traffic stress for us and stays alert as we read or watch or interact virtually.

They get us where we want to go at a prescribed time – and they are not worth a simple hello?

It seems awfully churlish and oddly remiss.

The drivers must be used to it, because they don’t bat an eyelid. I feel the affront for them.

The art of conversation appears also to be on the skids.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via:

It seems that many people are waiting for their turn to speak rather than actively listening.

It would be easy to blame the young and shake our heads sagely about how the world has gone to hell in a handbasket because of all that screen time and immediate gratification, but oldies are often their own kind of gruff and rude.

That so many people are isolated in our community makes the dearth of real dialogue – even in a surface, social nicety kind of way – particularly sad.

It is said good manners open doors that the best education cannot and that they are always in fashion – along with kindness.

We need them. They set us apart from the other animals, hallmarks of civility and courtesy. Good manners make others feel seen, valued and respected.

And they cost absolutely nothing.

Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer.