Is Civility a Dying Art?

I was thinking about something this weekend and decided I would share.  I was brought up to be respectful even to people that I disagree with. I think we are all entitled to our opinions. I do, however, have to draw the line if you think that I should live my life in the same way you live yours (in other words, imposing your religion on me).  In these scenarios,  I usually choose to end the relationship when someone is trying to force their belief system on me. If we can’t agree to disagree peacefully, then I need to walk away.  Otherwise, it’s all good. You can believe whatever you want. It’s your right. You can live your life however you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. That’s your right. Yes, it’s all good, it really is. I don’t have to be disrespectful to you just because I don’t agree with you. I’ve never been the insulting, name calling type of person, never have been  and never will be. But it’s been an interesting trend that  I’ve been observing for the past couple years or so where it  seems like people think they have the right to be rude to you even if you simply disagree with them politely.  When I have chosen to distance myself from these people, I have been told that I am the one who is behaving wrong, that I am wrong for wanting distance, wrong for wanting them out of my space.  I have been repeatedly told (by multiple people) to “get used to it”, “not everybody is nice”, “welcome to the real world”, and even that my life has been “charmed” up to this point because I expressed that I have not encountered this behavior before in the past. I’ve been told I should be able to just deal with these people and not let them bother me. This is true, but why should I even have to?  I remember a time when we could really dislike each other and disagree and still not be insulting and hateful.  Is civility such a lost art that we have come to expect rudeness, insults and name calling because we disagree? Is this so “normal” that I have become the “weird one” because I do not want these kinds of energies in my space? I have  been called “intolerant” for not allowing rudeness to myself and my friends. (You kind of have to laugh at that one, what a way to justify your shitty behavior!) I don’t call it “intolerant” , I call it honoring yourself and those you care about.  Well, if not wanting people around me who are rude, insulting, condescending and bigoted makes me the idiot, then I guess I am am the idiot. I am not interested in having a dialog with someone who opens the conversation  with “what the fuck?”. That doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to add stress and pain  to my life by having people around me who are unnecessary (sometimes there are people you are forced to deal with, like a boss or coworker) and who drain my energy.  This is the only life we have so why fill it with those who want to be hateful? And if that makes me the weirdo, then I gladly accept that title.   ~Kathy Lee 4/8/2013


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