Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Highlights

Open

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

5 Ways to Bring Back Civility

It’s not too late to reverse a trend of bad manners and poor etiquette

“Whatever happened to civility?” is an oft-heard lament, particularly among those of us over 50 who recognize civility’s increasing absence in a world changing at warp speed. Technology has forever altered the style, speed and reach of our decidedly less personal communication. Escalating vulgarity, lax standards, sensational media and polarized politics reign. Society today is far different from what it was when we were young.

See also: Planting the seeds of good manners.

Man wallpapering blue sky over snake pit - 5 ways older Americans can help create more civility in our culture

Reversing the current course of incivility is a challenge for our times. — Illustration by James Steinberg/Getty Images

While rudeness is pervasive and rising (one recent report concluded that bad behavior may be the “new normal”), the societal and financial costs of incivility are astronomical — impacting our homes and relationships, schools, economy, health care and government.

Civility is more than polite courtesies. Derived from the Old French and Latin term for “good citizen,” civility enables us to live respectfully in communities; it is the glue that binds our society. It can be the difference between life and death — as, for example, when health care professionals bully subordinates, cover mistakes and create mistrust. It is an essential component of our human sustainability, enabling us not only to survive but thrive.

Reversing the current course of incivility is a challenge for our times. Until a rudeness vaccine is developed, we must dig into our civility tool kit.

There are compelling reasons why we should. A life is not defined by a single act, and few of us will ever achieve national acclaim or perform deeds that change the course of history. However, there is “greatness” in treating others with respect, compassion, kindness and generosity. With this we can make a difference in the lives of many.

Next: Use these 5 tools to save civility. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Proper Etiquette
Related Video

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Downloadable mobile app from AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points