Nobody’s perfect. Anyone with a hint of self-awareness and honesty will acknowledge that. But often, recognizing our failures helps us to overlook those of others. After all, we usually find it far preferable to put up with a bit of frustration over our friends’, loved ones’, and coworkers’ foibles than to give up entirely the pleasure of having them in our lives.
Yet, it seems that in the last two years something has changed. Significantly. All you have to do is watch the nightly news to see it. Violent outbursts on planes, on buses, in subway stations, at schools, and workplaces. Patience seems to be in short supply these days and sometimes it feels like you’re more likely to get a wallop upside the head than a kind hello when you venture out of your house in the morning.
How do we explain this newly contentious world we’re living in? It’s not all that difficult actually. Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve pretty much been living in a state of continuous fear and lockdown. As the number of months in isolation increased, so too did the number of traditional social norms and rules of etiquette we were more than ready, willing, and able to break. In short, we’ve lost our manners. And there’s a psychological explanation for it.