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#241 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
OK I am talking more about when I'm having a real conversation with a client. I've never said "thank you for calling XYZ company" -- I just wouldn't say that.
I wasn't talking to clients. I was answering phones. (I actually didn't talk to clients, exactly, in that particular job. I worked for the manager of a packaged office building, and our "clients" were our tenants. I did work for them...reception, tons of word processing, some accounting, a bit of very basic graphic design, etc...but I also worked in the same building with them. It was probably a somewhat unusual work environment, because my customers were also sort of like my co-workers.)

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I might say, "Hi, how are you today, could you please hold for a minute, OK I'm back, thanks for holding, what can I do for you?" and then "OK I'll take care that right away, I'm sorry we didn't catch that sooner, thank you for being so patient" etc. things like that...
And, in the time that took me, I'd have lost other calls (no - not always - it wasn't constantly that busy, but sometimes it was).

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or when I used to work in a coffee shop, "Here's your coffee, thank you, have a great day!" Basically I treat clients & customers as human beings not people I have to deal with to get my job done... I can't imagine being too busy to say or listen to thank you... it takes literally a second or two & makes the whole experience a little more personal. I've been incredibly busy (trust me, I alone replaced a 6-person team) but I still never felt like Thank you was a waste of my limited time.
Have you ever had seventeen (or twenty...or twenty-five) phone lines ringing at once? I've been far, far busier, in general, than I was at that job. But, I've rarely been in that kind of "every split second counts" position anywhere else. Waiting for the "thank you" meant missing one of my calls...and not answering the phone is not something that people excuse in a receptionist.

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But you ARE assuming the worst when you assume that most people don't really MEAN thank you, please, etc.
Find the post where I said that "most people don't really mean" those things. If I said it, I'll edit, because something came out wrong.

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You are assuming that they don't truly care about you, you are assuming that they are self-absorbed, you're assuming that they are parrots who repeat the words they were taught to say with no feeling behind it. I don't see how you can say that's NOT assuming the worst?
I guess it would be, if I'd actually said that. I'm not assuming that they do mean it...but, that doesn't mean I'm assuming that they don't.

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I know from other threads you've both posted on that you definitely have a unique worldview, and maybe there are more cultural/geographical differences at play than what we're really seeing in this thread. I'll admit I'm very curious what your life is like, what the people you generally encounter are like, I kind of feel like you're from a whole 'nother planet so to speak, & I'm fascinated by you view on things!!
I feel compelled to say "thank you".
(Is that irony or something else?)
I've spent most of my life feeling like an alien, so that was actually a fairly...validating post. Thank you.

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#242 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
I can't imagine being too busy to say or listen to thank you... it takes literally a second or two & makes the whole experience a little more personal.
I've often gotten the impression from most toll booth workers that they'd rather I didn't waste the millisecond it takes to say thank you. I usually get a "STHU and get out of here already because I have like a trillion more cars behind you to deal with and you're like the 80 billionth person to say that to me so it's just more noise" vibe from them. Sometimes I think it might be more polite of me to skip it. It might just be a north/south culture clash thing though.
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#243 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I think you completely missed my point. I didn't think those people were jerks. But, there were times when I simply had too many lines ringing to have time to listen to "thank you" (yes, I am aware that sounds insane, but it's true nonetheless), and cutting them off while they were still talking would have been rude, and unprofessional. I don't know where you got "assuming the worst" about people from the fact that I didn't have time to listen to it.
Because you yourself do not attach meaning to those words, and you said so. At least, not when you were working. Some people at least TRY to mean it.

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No, sometimes I don't. It's trained in. In the particular situation I was talking about, it was a job requirement. No - I wasn't really appreciative of receiving the same telemarketing call for the 10th time that morning. The things I said on the phone were required by my job.
But sometimes they do, and who are we to assume the worst (that they don't care)?


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No. I can't. That's why I keep saying that nobody means it and every single person only means it as a habit, and that people who those words are heartless jerks. Oh, wait - no, I don't. I haven't said that at all. Of cours some people mean it. But, not everybody means anything by it. They're words. They don't mean anything to me, personally...somewhat more when I'm saying them (usually) than when I'm on the receiving end, but still not much.
You'd rather assume the worst about many and be wrong about some, than assume the best about many and be wrong about some. I get that. I'd rather be wrong about the rarer jerks in life.

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And, you're actually making my point. If I say words that I've been taught to say, and don't mean them in a heartfelt and sincere way every time, then I'm not as "thoughtful, caring and nice" as other people? Seriously?
Actually, you said that you did not mean those words--you didn't say always or never, and neither did I--and I am saying that other people DO mean those things. Which presumably would be much thoughtful, caring, and nice. So yeah. Seriously. Basically you are generalizing your experience with manners to everyone else. You didn't mean it, so neither did they.

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Some of the nicest, most caring and thoughtful people I've ever known have had "bad manners", and some of the lease caring, thoughtful and nice people I've ever known have had exquisite manners. The two are separate concepts.
Yes, but there are areas in between manners and morality, such as when you speak to people in a respectful way. It is just not nice to not speak to people in a nice way. It's not thoughtful.

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For what it's worth, I'm well aware that many people are nicer, more thoughtful and more caring than I am. And, some of those people don't say "please" and "thank you".
Why not?!? Just to make a point?


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I disagree with your counterpoint. I'm sure there are people who have "internalized the love" such that every single "please" and "thank you" is genuine (although I don't see that as saying those words automatically - that's automatically feeling apprecation - which I'll admit sounds odd to me, but I think I know what you mean - and then using the appropriate words). I disagree that those are the "best people". This is actually the thing about "manners" that gets my goat. It's the assumption that people who use those words are the "best people". So arrogant.
It's not only manners. It's the kindness. You are begging the question, assuming that manners are meaningless, therefore, people who use them are saying meaningless things, and therefore, hypocrites. But most other people are operating on the assumption that they do mean something--something small, perhaps, but something.

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I've been accused throughout this thread of making assumptions about people who say these words, but people seem to be proud of making assumptions about people who don't. How does that work?
I think we are all making assumptions. But I'm happy to admit I assume the best in people. I'm willing to risk being wrong for the sake of the returns when I'm right.

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The words are meaningless, in and of themselves. If you say them with an underlying love, appreciation, etc, then they're not. What does that to do with training children to say "please" and "thank you"?
No, they're not meaningless. Saying them has meaning. You don't have to have a particularly deep feeling at the moment you say them to imbue them with meaning.

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#244 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I think we are all making assumptions. But I'm happy to admit I assume the best in people. I'm willing to risk being wrong for the sake of the returns when I'm right.
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Why not?!? Just to make a point?
Is this an example of "assuming the best in people"? They don't say "please" and "thank you", so it must be "just to make a point"?

No - the people I'm thinking of simply weren't raised with "please" and "thank you", so they don't think to say them. They don't have the habit.

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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Because you yourself do not attach meaning to those words, and you said so. At least, not when you were working. Some people at least TRY to mean it.
Try to mean it? What does that even mean?

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But sometimes they do, and who are we to assume the worst (that they don't care)?
This is one of the differences in the way we see this. I don't think that someone saying their rote set spiel at work is doing anything wrong, and I'm not "assuming the worst" of them by thinking they don't mean anything by it. I tend to think they don't mean anything, because I know it's a common job requirement for front line workers, but I'm not assuming the worst. They're just doing their best to get through the day, just like the rest of us.

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You'd rather assume the worst about many and be wrong about some, than assume the best about many and be wrong about some. I get that. I'd rather be wrong about the rarer jerks in life.
hmm...but you said the "best" people say "please" and "thank you", so you're assuming the worst of people who don't say them. Actually, because you're assuming the absence of those words says something negative about the people who don't say them. I'm not assuming the presence or absence of those words says anything - positive or negative - about the people who say them...hardly "assuming the worst".

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Actually, you said that you did not mean those words--you didn't say always or never, and neither did I--and I am saying that other people DO mean those things. Which presumably would be much thoughtful, caring, and nice.
This is another place we disagree. I don't think meaning "please" or "thank you" makes someone more thoughtful, caring or nice than either not meaning them or not saying them.

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So yeah. Seriously. Basically you are generalizing your experience with manners to everyone else. You didn't mean it, so neither did they.
Oh, seriously? That's not what I'm saying at all. If it were based just on my own feelings about those words, my views would be very different. I'm not generalizing in the sense that you mean, though. The words don't mean anything, in and of themselves. Mind you, most words don't, imo. It's what's going on underneath that means something.

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Yes, but there are areas in between manners and morality, such as when you speak to people in a respectful way. It is just not nice to not speak to people in a nice way. It's not thoughtful.
Agreed. We simply have different concepts of what constitutes not speaking to people in a nice way. And, I find the fact that you keep using "thoughtful" interesting. We're (or I am, at least) talking about teaching children to always say "please" and "thank you". That can be taught in a thoughtful, mindful way, but there's nothing inherently thoughtful about an ingrained habit.

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It's not only manners. It's the kindness. You are begging the question, assuming that manners are meaningless, therefore, people who use them are saying meaningless things, and therefore, hypocrites. But most other people are operating on the assumption that they do mean something--something small, perhaps, but something.
Nope. I'm not assuming that people who use those words don't mean them or that those people are hypocrites. I don't even know where you got that.

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No, they're not meaningless. Saying them has meaning. You don't have to have a particularly deep feeling at the moment you say them to imbue them with meaning.
I disagree. I don't disagree that you don't have to have a "deep" feeling to imbue them with meaning. I do disagree that saying them automatically has meaning. Sometimes, it does. Sometimes, it doesn't.

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#245 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
and a student from myanmar thought we were making a mountain out of a molehill. for him it was very simple.

he said something like in myanmar we operate from a place that everyone is grateful for all that everyone does. so you dont ever have to say thank you or please. i asked him specifically and he said no - no one says ty to waiters, to salespeople to anyone really. doesnt mean ty is not said. it is used once in a while but not all the time. he said treating people kindly - being kind and not usign harsh language was being respectful.
That's interesting.

I found this quote on another site: "We have thank you in Burmese....However, Burmese don’t say thank you as frequent as Westerners. We say thank you only when we really mean it. So, if a Burmese don’t say “Thank you” to you, don’t be offended. But if he says thank you to you, it means he is really thanking you from his heart, and you should be proud of it."

So....if I visit someone in Myanmar and I do something nice for them (prepare a dinner, bring a long a gift from the USA, what have you), and I hear nothing of thanks, it's not so much because they have thanks in their heart which I am supposed to presume, but because they mean no thanks, and there is no thanks in their heart.

That seems rather insulting.
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#246 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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My interpretation is that you're taking "really mean" it one way, but it was meant another. It seems like you're taking it to mean something like "we don't say 'thank you', because we don't appreciate it". I'm taking it to mean more like "we don't say 'thank you', unless it's a really, really, really big deal"...as in, they wouldn't say it for holding a door, or putting the bar up behind your stuff on the checkout counter, or bagging their groceries...but would say it for carrying those groceries to the car, when you notice that they're on crutches.

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#247 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
he said something like in myanmar we operate from a place that everyone is grateful for all that everyone does. so you dont ever have to say thank you or please. i asked him specifically and he said no - no one says ty to waiters, to salespeople to anyone really. doesnt mean ty is not said. it is used once in a while but not all the time. he said treating people kindly - being kind and not usign harsh language was being respectful.
I really like their attitude on this subject. It's like everyone assumes the best about everyone else and no one has to say please or thank you just to prove they're not a jerk.
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#248 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Is this an example of "assuming the best in people"? They don't say "please" and "thank you", so it must be "just to make a point"?

No - the people I'm thinking of simply weren't raised with "please" and "thank you", so they don't think to say them. They don't have the habit.
No, it was a question.


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Try to mean it? What does that even mean?
Think of what the words mean, why people use them, and consider whether the person to whom you are speaking deserves that respect.


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This is one of the differences in the way we see this. I don't think that someone saying their rote set spiel at work is doing anything wrong, and I'm not "assuming the worst" of them by thinking they don't mean anything by it. I tend to think they don't mean anything, because I know it's a common job requirement for front line workers, but I'm not assuming the worst. They're just doing their best to get through the day, just like the rest of us.
You're right, assuming the "worst" as I wrote (I'm not going to re-read the thread, but I think I wrote that) was too strong. Certainly you're assuming they don't mean it and that they are misusing those words and really are not thankful to have their jobs, etc.

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hmm...but you said the "best" people say "please" and "thank you", so you're assuming the worst of people who don't say them. Actually, because you're assuming the absence of those words says something negative about the people who don't say them. I'm not assuming the presence or absence of those words says anything - positive or negative - about the people who say them...hardly "assuming the worst".
Let me rephrase this "best" thing since I think you are taking it for something it's not meant to be.

Is not the most moral person the person who can do moral deeds without even thinking about them, so in the habit of being kind, thoughtful, and gentle? Or is that person merely a robot? But how can we avoid becoming such a person if we are to be genuinely good for such a long time?

It's not a question of labeling people who use common courtesy as "better" than others. It's a theoretical example used to illustrate what happens when we assume that only deliberated choices are moral or immoral, and that other actions are not.


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This is another place we disagree. I don't think meaning "please" or "thank you" makes someone more thoughtful, caring or nice than either not meaning them or not saying them.
Why is it not nicer to think, "I appreciate that person--I recognize she took time out for me, and I'm going to say it to her, so she knows it and feels better." or at least, to have a sort of general, abbreviated feeling of that sentiment and to verbalize it, than to just think, "Meh, open door, lucky me, whoop-die-doo."

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The words don't mean anything, in and of themselves. Mind you, most words don't, imo. It's what's going on underneath that means something.
I think you're trying to say that words have no meaning without a specific concept attached to them and that that concept must be held in the mind at the time of the utterance for the word to have any meaning. Otherwise, they are utterances like "boop!" or "gleck..." or whatever.

However, I think that (a) that is not how human cognition works, and (b) this is evidenced by many conversations in which people are able to communicate without thinking very deeply or even somewhat deeply about what they are saying.


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here's nothing inherently thoughtful about an ingrained habit.
There is something thoughtful indeed about INGRAINING that habit.


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Nope. I'm not assuming that people who use those words don't mean them or that those people are hypocrites. I don't even know where you got that.
Well if you're not assuming that they don't mean them, then why... are you suggesting that the words are meaningless due to lack of meaning or intention behind them?

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I disagree. I don't disagree that you don't have to have a "deep" feeling to imbue them with meaning. I do disagree that saying them automatically has meaning. Sometimes, it does. Sometimes, it doesn't.
So why not assume the best?

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#249 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I have no idea. I've never seen anything like it before. She just has a lot of trouble with that kind of thing. She's finally getting to where it's not quite so bad, but it's been a long, hard road.
Do you think it's possible that your daughter's troubles have anything to do with your own negative-to-indifferent associations with saying and hearing "please" and "thank you"? Could you have communicated the fact to her that you don't believe these phrases mean much - that they are simply ingrained habits in most of us (if I'm understanding you correctly), and this set her up to be conflicted in situations where she's expected to use them?
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#250 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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I really like their attitude on this subject. It's like everyone assumes the best about everyone else and no one has to say please or thank you just to prove they're not a jerk.
Yes, but the student also said:

"and he said when he came here he had to really learn. to do just the opposite. and he found society here operates on the idea that one is grateful only when they say it. it is not assumed that one is grateful. he said he was initially perceived as rude. he got dagger looks until someone explained things to him and he learnt the norms here."

My kids live in the US, so I teach them the social norms of the US so that they will not be perceived as rude.
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#251 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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#252 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Do you think it's possible that your daughter's troubles have anything to do with your own negative-to-indifferent associations with saying and hearing "please" and "thank you"? Could you have communicated the fact to her that you don't believe these phrases mean much - that they are simply ingrained habits in most of us (if I'm understanding you correctly), and this set her up to be conflicted in situations where she's expected to use them?
No. I don't. My feelings about this were nowhere near this strong until I spent a couple of years watching her go through hell trying to meet social expectations that she doesn't understand and that make her horribly uncomfortable, and started thinking, "why the hell are we putting her through this, anyway?" This is a personality/temperament issue, and it's really, really difficult for her. (Many things are very difficult for dd1. She doesn't have any easy temperament in any way - not easy for herself, and not easy for the people around here. She's a delight, and has the most fascinating mind I've run into in a long time...but she doesn't have an easy time of things.)

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#253 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Yes, but the student also said:

"and he said when he came here he had to really learn. to do just the opposite. and he found society here operates on the idea that one is grateful only when they say it. it is not assumed that one is grateful. he said he was initially perceived as rude. he got dagger looks until someone explained things to him and he learnt the norms here."

My kids live in the US, so I teach them the social norms of the US so that they will not be perceived as rude.
Right, so I have no idea why the mannerism of other parts of the world is even relevant. Interesting - sure, but that doesn't change my view. I'm sure my kids, if they chose to live in or visit other countries, could adapt quickly. I'm assuming them saying too many thank you's wouldn't offend anyone in another culture. Whereas, there is a high probability of them appearing to be rude if they were to not say these polite terms in our country.

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#254 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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My kids live in the US, so I teach them the social norms of the US so that they will not be perceived as rude.
I never said anyone should do otherwise. One can appreciate another culture without thinking that it can translate to their own.
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#255 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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Think of what the words mean, why people use them, and consider whether the person to whom you are speaking deserves that respect.
I'm still not following you. What the words mean (according to their definitions) is somthing along the lines of "we really appreciate you calling us today" or "I'm asking if you'd mind if I put you hold". We - the company - frequently didn't appreciate the call, and I was going to put them on hold, whether they minded it or not (as I wouldn't be saying "hold" in any context if I didn't have to put them on hold). It was a set spiel, and "trying to mean it" wouldn't have changed anything.

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You're right, assuming the "worst" as I wrote (I'm not going to re-read the thread, but I think I wrote that) was too strong. Certainly you're assuming they don't mean it and that they are misusing those words and really are not thankful to have their jobs, etc.
Wrong. I'm not assuming anything - that they mean it or that they don't. I know very well that there are people out there who mean it and people who don't, and I have no idea which are which. (Okay - that's not accurate. Sometimes, I have a pretty good idea, but it's not based on "oh, she's a receptionist, so she must not mean it" or anything like that.)

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Let me rephrase this "best" thing since I think you are taking it for something it's not meant to be.

Is not the most moral person the person who can do moral deeds without even thinking about them, so in the habit of being kind, thoughtful, and gentle? Or is that person merely a robot? But how can we avoid becoming such a person if we are to be genuinely good for such a long time?

It's not a question of labeling people who use common courtesy as "better" than others. It's a theoretical example used to illustrate what happens when we assume that only deliberated choices are moral or immoral, and that other actions are not.
I've never thought about it in this particular way, because I'm not even slightly concerned with who the 'most moral" person is. If someone jumps into a lake after a drowning toddler (as I remember from upthread, but don't remember who mentioned it), I really don't care if they just did it without thinking or if they thought about it first. They tried (and hopefully succeeded) to save a child's life. That's what counts.

However, I don't consider this whole issue of "please" and "thank you" to even fall under that umbrella, because I don't attach any moral value to those words being said or not said. I simply don't. It's not because I don't mean them (as I frequently do mean them). It's because they're words. They reflect a societal expectation (and I freely admit that societal expecations are an area where I'm seriously challenged), not a core value

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In response to this: This is another place we disagree. I don't think meaning "please" or "thank you" makes someone more thoughtful, caring or nice than either not meaning them or not saying them., you said:
Why is it not nicer to think, "I appreciate that person--I recognize she took time out for me, and I'm going to say it to her, so she knows it and feels better." or at least, to have a sort of general, abbreviated feeling of that sentiment and to verbalize it, than to just think, "Meh, open door, lucky me, whoop-die-doo."
My comment wasn't a matter of whether it's nicer to think "I appreciate this person, etc.". It's partly a matter of whether one instance of being nicer means the person is nicer. However, I've certainly said "thank you", because it's an expected social courtesy, in situations where I didn't appreciate the person's action at all. (And, just to be clear, as this has been misinterpreted multiple times in this thread, that does not mean I assume that every freaking person who says "thank you" is being non-authentic.) I wasn't being "nice" - in some situations, I was kind of annoyed. So, that doesn't make me a nice person in any way. If someone makes eye contact with the...door holder, for instance...and smiles, but doesn't say "thank you", that doesn't mean they're thinking "Meh, open door, lucky me, whoop-die-doo", either.

Quote:
I think you're trying to say that words have no meaning without a specific concept attached to them and that that concept must be held in the mind at the time of the utterance for the word to have any meaning. Otherwise, they are utterances like "boop!" or "gleck..." or whatever.

However, I think that (a) that is not how human cognition works, and (b) this is evidenced by many conversations in which people are able to communicate without thinking very deeply or even somewhat deeply about what they are saying.
I can't argue what you're saying on some levels. Obviously, "thank you" doesn't mean the same thing as "boop". But, there's a difference between dictionary type meaning and underlying meaning. I'm talking about the underlying meanings. There isn't a universal underlying meaning for "thank you"...it's dependent on the person saying it.

Quote:
There is something thoughtful indeed about INGRAINING that habit.
In that case, all the people who grew up saying this stuff have/had thoughtful parents. That's awesome...but it doesn't say anything about the characer or motivations of the people saying it. It says something about their parents.

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Well if you're not assuming that they don't mean them, then why... are you suggesting that the words are meaningless due to lack of meaning or intention behind them?
IMO, the words are meaningless, because of their status as a social convention. Some people mean them when they say them, and then they have meaning. I'm not assuming anything one way or the other.

Quote:
So why not assume the best?
hmmm...partly because, by and large, people who assume that saying "please" and "thank you" says something about the speaker's character annoy the heck out of me (irl - a specific conversation about this online is a very different context). Maybe it's supposed to come from a place of appreciating veryone, cultivating gratitude, etc, etc. but that's not how I see it play out in real life. If I assume the best of the people who say it, it's a very short jump to assuming the worst of the people who don't. I have no desire to go there at all.

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#256 of 256 Old 07-16-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
Right, so I have no idea why the mannerism of other parts of the world is even relevant.
That part of the discussion has definitely got me thinking about some of the reasons my husband and I don't really expect those words from our children. Given that's what the discussion was originally about, it seems relevant to me. Anyway, it's not something I've ever consciously thought about, but we never really expect those sorts of formalities here probably because we assume a lot and are open to other forms of expression. We all say "please," "thank you," and "sorry" at times, but it's not expected.

That said, how we do things in this house isn't always appropriate when we're out in the world. So I will continue to model and encourage socially acceptable behavior when we're out. My daughter seems to have caught on pretty well already. Today, for instance, when a cashier asked her if she wanted a sticker she said "yes please" and followed up with a nice "thank you" when she received it. But that's not necessarily how it would have gone down at home. It's just like how she understands that we wear real clothes when we're out in public rather than just underwear or pajamas like we do at home.
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