Shweta Madhu pupil living in Sharjah Image Credit:

16:35 Gulf News: Are we evolving? The world seems to be getting ruder and cruder.

16:40 Pranita Masand: We are definitely evolving as we are learning new things on a daily basis and trying to adapt to the new lifestyle. However, it’s sad to see that as people are succeeding and achieving greater heights in life, they are becoming ruder. People are no longer courteous. They tend to ignore people in their surroundings and don’t have the same level of respect as they once did.

16:41 Mariam Khawar: It is true, sadly. It seems that people are becoming more crass in general. However, I would not call this evolution, as evolution entails growth. Whereas, falling from the grace of etiquette is not at all growth or progress. It is rather a step back to the dark ages.

16:43 Shweta Madhu: First off, I think being rude has become a choice and most people dive in head first. There’s no subtlety to unruly conduct. For so long, every time rude behaviour is demonstrated, we simply shrug our shoulders and sigh and due to having ignored it for so long, it has become a way of life. Society has become less thoughtful of others and less mindful of manners and self discipline.

16:43 Jerry Selayro: I believe that we are more influenced by the environment we are in because of having been exposed to so much rudeness.

16:45 Pranita Masand: I feel that social evolution is one of the main reasons for people having become rude and cruel.

16:46 Mariam Khawar: Let us keep in mind that what is a social norm today was once a rebellious feat. Because we have come to accept crude behaviour, it has started to look like a norm. Nevertheless, what is wrong is wrong even if we become more tolerant of it.

16:49 Pranita Masand: It’s the peer pressure that people experience today that forces a lot of them to conform. Sometimes people end up giving up who they really are, just so that they are accepted.

16:50 Gulf News: It is no longer bad manners to give your phone preference over people in a conversation.

16:50 Jerry Selayro: I am so guilty of phubbing everywhere and most of my friends have mentioned this to me. Also as the internet is just one click on our phone, it is always tempting to check your Facebook status, tweet, or even send an email whilst having a date. I thought it was acceptable behaviour.

16:50 Mariam Khawar: Very rarely and not at all when I am with people who know me. As I myself have never subjected anyone to such an insult, I do not tolerate it being directed to me either. I make sure to let people know that to have a conversation, they have to maintain eye contact. One has to make it a responsibility to let people know that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

16:51 Pranita Masand: Phubbing is sadly a very common phenomenon in today’s world. I feel that it happens on a daily basis and sometimes I end up doing this myself, too. Though, I try my best not to do it. It’s quite an insulting thing to do, especially if it’s someone trying to say something important to you and all he/she wants is your attention.

16:52 Jerry Selayro: I agree that I prefer talking to people on the phone. Although I love having a conversation but sometimes people move on. They prefer to be friends online rather than in real life. I have a lot of ‘close’ friends on the internet. Am I unreal? I don’t think so, but it is just easier that way.

16:52 Shweta Madhu: Phubbing actually happens to be a common social norm. As a high school student, we are in the heart of the tech craze and most people I know do this. Good etiquette while speaking to someone has become a choice rather than a rule in today’s world and there’s no better way to escape it than hiding behind one’s phone.

16:53 Mariam Khawar: I disagree with the statement. It is and will always remain a sign of barbarism to stare at your phone when someone is trying to have a conversation.

16:53 Pranita Masand: However, we have to keep in mind that Dubai is a multi-cultural city and a lot of cultures find making eye contact as offensive. So while you’re having a conversation, the person may be looking down or looking all around the place but at you. This is because it is awkward for them to make eye contact and not because they are being disrespectful.

16:54 Jerry Selayro: Is phubbing bad behaviour? Definitely not. Especially, if you are talking to a person with no interest in you at all. Or maybe some boring person is with you.

16:56 Mariam Khawar: It is the person who chooses to be rude, not her/his phone.

16:56 Pranita Masand: I think I disagree with Jerry on that. Although you may not be interested in a conversation, it’s still important to give that person your attention since he/she deserves to be heard. It’s best to let them know that you’re not interested rather than phubbing.

16:57Gulf News: People no longer find basic necessities like holding the door open a necessity.

16:57 Jerry Selayro: I always hold the door if I am not in a rush. However, I can see that this behaviour seems to have disappeared. People, sometimes, even slam the door in your face. I have experienced this.

16:58 Pranita Masand: A lot of the times, people see you walking towards the door and still do not have the courtesy to hold the door open. Irrespective of the fact that you may or may not know the person, it’s basic human manners to hold the door for someone.

16:58 Mariam Khawar: It is true; this simple sign of civility seems to be disappearing as well. However, in my experience, I find more and more people holding the door every day. Perhaps, it’s the places I go to or maybe I am just fortunate! Good behaviour beseeches that you hold the door when someone is walking in after you or let the other person walk in first. There isn’t even an argument in it for me. You simply do it!

17:00 Pranita Masand: Oftentimes men are expected to hold the door for the woman. However, I feel even women should hold the door for men.

17:01 Shweta Madhu: Personally I think this is a long gone civility. I have heard too many times that one is too “busy” to hold the door. I, personally, do make it a priority to perform basic civilities, as far as possible but it does seem that civility does not exist anymore, especially when the person is not known to you. Basic courtesies have become a choice rather than a rule. It has come to a point wherein I know that when I have some total stranger extend to me some common courtesy, it reminds me that despite those few disrespectful individuals we all inevitably encounter, there are still many thoughtful, decent people out there. It has come to a point wherein I am utterly grateful for even a simple courtesy that someone else might show. It has become a norm that we expect rudeness.

17:04 Mariam Khawar: The way bad behaviour is accepted nowadays, a gesture of politeness may shock some people.

17:04 Gulf News: Technology is making rude behaviour easier to ignore.

17:06 Shweta Madhu: Technology provides us one thing – anonymity and that is a powerful force. In an age where people are not afraid of being rude in public, there is definitely nothing stopping them when hiding behind a fake screen name. After all, technology makes us invisible. So, I do agree that technology has fueled the lack or courteousness in today’s society.

17:06 Jerry Selayro: I agree, as we use technology as an excuse. We ignore, as we become tolerant of it. Our culture is changing and we seem to accept this type of behaviour.

17:07 Mariam Khawar: I disagree. Technology has made it easier for people to get away with rudeness. You can just slap someone virtually and then log out! Nonetheless, we need to educate our coming generations that harsh behaviour is sacrilege whether it is online or offline. That is the only way we can heal this wound on the face of manners.

17:07 Pranita Masand: More and more people are starting to take advantage of the fact that they can be anonymous through means of technology and are misusing this advantage. People make fake profiles and insult others, disclose their secrets and cause embarrassments.

17:07 Shweta Madhu: Besides, technology allows us to dehumanise others easily because we never see how others actually react to our mean comments. Saying something rude or mean through Facebook or Twitter or even through your little smartphone makes it seem as if rudeness has no consequences.

17:10 Mariam Khawar: I would like to request people to consider other people’s feelings before taking any insulting actions. On the other hand I implore educators (teachers and parents) to instill civility in their wards. This way, a culture of good manners can be developed in our world.

17:10 Pranita Masand: Overall, I feel that as people are evolving, basic civility has slowly started to fade away from people. However, there are still some decent and civil people out there that are performing their basic civil activities. As long as these people continue to do so, there is still hope to change people back to what they used to be, which is well mannered and courteous.

17:10 Shweta Madhu: It is not about why or how rudeness has become a social norm, but what we can do to curb the problem. Personally, the only way to curb the whole issue of rudeness is to stand up for what you believe in. To not succumb to peer pressure and bully someone just because he/she isn’t cool, rich or good looking.

17:10 Jerry Selayro: Technology and modernisation changes our culture. Perhaps after 10 years, there will still be new things but bad behaviour is bad behaviour. There are basic good things in life; such as basic goodness in a person. If we can still hold on to and cultivate these good things in our lives, and we drive it along with modern technology, then the world will be a much better place. It will be good for you and me and for generations to come.

17:10 Shweta Madhu: Rudeness is wrong, online or not, and unfortunately, not many know that.

— Compiled by Donia Jenabzadeh/She is a trainee with Gulf News