Some New Rules For Being Polite


Don’t stand in a crowd on sidewalk, in front of an escalator, or in front of a doorway. Why do people do this? The first thing I do when I get off an escalator is continue moving away from the escalator so I won’t be in people’s way. Same with sidewalks — you need to pull over. Just like you shouldn’t stop in the middle of a road, you shouldn’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk. You pull over. More people than you and your friends are trying to get somewhere that you are not trying to get to. There are more preferences in the universe than the ones you and your friends share. All we’re asking for is a little consideration.

Don’t @-reply the person you’re shit-talking. This may come as a shock to you, but my personal Twitter account is not run by an intern. That means I can see you shit-talking me. I CAN SEE YOU. You MADE it that way. Either engage me directly or use my real name rather than my handle when you’re talking trash, like a normal passive-agressive person. Freak.

If you are walking beside your friend on a small-ish sidewalk, at least pretend to move out of the way for the person coming toward you. I’m cool with people who are deep in discussion or are drunk and being oblivious and having a good time — I’m cool with those people simply failing to notice that they’re about to pass someone on the sidewalk and not moving out of the way. That’s excusable because it isn’t inconsiderate, it’s just absent-minded. The people I can not understand, however, are those that walk two abreast toward you looking you directly in the eye as they proceed to not move one centimeter out of your way. I always want to turn around and ask, “Yo, bro, what if I hadn’t moved? There would have been a head-on collision!” I’m not asking for you to stop walking and sidestep completely out of the way for me. I would be happy if you merely affected the idea that the thought of yielding to me occurred to you for half an iota of a second. Just don’t fucking act like I’m not there, a-hole.

Don’t hijack your Facebook friend’s thread to fight someone you’ve never met. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but you know people get notifications for every post you make, right? You don’t need to get into it with strangers/your friend’s brother/someone else awkward. You don’t know this person’s relationship with the person you’re arguing with and you certainly don’t know the person. Why is it so important to engage them and to waste time arguing on the internet? Go outside and breathe. This is not your fight, little one.

In a coffee shop, do not sit at a four-person table if you are by yourself. The reason that there are tables with more than two chairs at cafes and places where people work on the internet is that sometimes groups larger than two come in and would also like to sit down and drink tea together. The only time it’s acceptable to sit at a four-person table if you’re by yourself at a coffee shop is if there’s nowhere else to sit.

Stop calling people hipsters and then making fun of them for being hipsters. First, the definition of “hipster” is so fucked up and confusing now that it seems anyone who happened to buy a sweater from Urban Outfitters is a conformist cultural vampire. You are also hipster if you: like sushi, wear flannel, go to coffee shops, have a Mac, enjoy farmer’s markets, live in a “gentrified neighborhood” (THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES IS A GENTRIFIED NEIGHBORHOOD), need glasses, listen to records, wear tight pants, have Instagram, drink cheap beer, drink expensive beer, like brunch, like selected bands. I’ll stop. But aside from “hipster” having basically no meaningful definition, and aside from it being used as a sort of oppressive tool for shaming people for their preferences, the common complaint about hipsters is that they are mindless conformists, but that they’re also elitists who exclude you. But you know what kind of person generalizes groups of people as mindless conformists then excludes them for it? People who call other people hipsters and then ridicule them for it. The logic of that is messed up. Hipster bashers have become hipsters.

Don’t post crazy political rants on Facebook. If you want to do that, get a blog. No one wants to open their Facebook timeline and see you clogging up their newsfeed with “9/11 was an inside job” or “Paul Ryan is a lizard person.” Seriously, just get a blog we can choose to go to or not go to. Don’t force this on unsuspecting Facebookers.

Stop making fun of people for DIY, shopping at farmer’s markets, eating local food, or otherwise engaging in a more sustainable economy. Here’s why you need to stop ridiculing people who are doing these things — they’re trying to reduce suffering and conserve your resources, asshole. Yes, a concrete consequence of not eating meat is that the suffering and energy use that would have been byproducts of that person’s meat consumption are never realized. By shopping at farmer’s markets, one is reducing your reliance on unsustainable fossil fuel use. Yours. By going the DIY route, people can sidestep supporting corporate operations that exploit third-world laborers and the places they reside. You do not get to ridicule people for trying to participate in that system less. Ridiculing someone for that is very backwards; logically, if you’re making fun of someone for trying to make a smaller number of things feel pain, you’d celebrate someone actively trying to hurt things. Doesn’t make sense.

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