"Please and Thank You", Please and Thank You
I am proudly Canadian. One of the stereotypes of Canadians is that we're ridiculously polite. I have personally thanked a police officer for giving me a speeding ticket, so I guess we live up to that one. Of course, the important part of that extremely brief story isn't that it was a cop or that he was trying to tell me not to go 120 in a 50 zone: it was that I said thank you.
I am tired of how supremely ungrateful the average person seems to be when it comes to the actions of those around them. I have actually gone days without hearing the words "Thank you" slip from anyone else's lips but mine. I think the first part of this problem has to do with expectations, so I'm going to lay this out first and then beat you to death with it: Do not expect anyone to do anything for you that you would not be willing to do for them.
The biggest group of offenders here is women. As always, it's not all women, but if I were to make a pie chart of who's guilty of expecting more from others than they're willing to do themselves, it would look remarkably similar to this pie chart I just did:
That's because I have far too much time to spend in Photoshop to make it look pretty. The offending women expect doors to be held, drinks to be purchased, and jackets to be sacrificed to mud, puddles and dog shit. Now just see if one of them will hold the door open for you.
The problem is that we are growing more and more toward expecting others to do shit for us. Just look at the remote control; we're so lazy we don't even want to walk ten feet to the T.V. to change the television channel, which we're only watching because we're too lazy to think of anything else to do. The simple fact is if you expect anyone else to do something you're not willing to do yourself, you are a hypocrite, and you suck.
Now here's the kicker: when someone else does something you don't expect them to do, such as holding a door open for you or not tripping you as you run to a taxi, fucking thank them for it! They didn't do it for personal gain, they did it because it's a nice thing to do. They did it because it's the reasonable thing to do.
They did it because as reasonable people, they know it's the polite thing to do, and they expect you would do the same for them. At least, they expect that until you completely fail to show any kind of gratitude. Then they know that since you're rude, you must expect them to be rude as well. And it's only polite to live up to expectations, right?
You know that door you opened for them and they didn't say thank you for it? Accidentally close it on their ankle. That drink you ordered them? Accidentally tip it over on to their clothes. That puddle you covered with your jacket so they wouldn't get their shoes dirty? Hit them in the head with a rock. It doesn't have the same kind of poetic justice as the others do, but believe me it's liberating.
All you have to do is say please and thank you when appropriate. Someone goes out of their way to be nice to you, you should thank them for it. You'd like someone to hold the door for you so you can get your luggage through? Say "Excuse me, could you please hold that door for me?" And if you're not willing to say please and thank you, or to hold doors, then get used to people not doing them for you either.