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Oh Where, Oh Where Have the Niceties Gone?

Wow.  I am put off. I am disgruntled.  Am I living in the right century?

Today I wrote a few emails to get some information. (The names have been changed to protect the innocent . . . or the guilty, in this case!) The first email went a little like this:

Hi John,

Is your week going well? Say “hi” to Cary for me, please.

Is the meeting today at 10 AM at the church after all?



To which John replied:


Hmmm, that isn’t feeling very warm and fuzzy.  I am going to trouble myself to go to your meeting—I’d like you at least say “thanks” to me.

Next email I wrote went something like this:

Hi Jessica,

The meeting went well.  I think your presentation was excellent!

I’ve thought about it, and I would like to volunteer to set up the display you were talking about.   I think it will take me about 6 hours initially and then an hour a week to maintain it.  I would need to get the information packet from you to get started.  If you and the other members of the committee like that idea, I’d be glad to get it going on it.

Have a great day!


To which she replied:

Okay by me.

What?! I just complimented you and then volunteered my precious time to set up your display and all you can say is: “okay by me”!!?

I am a Jane Austen fan— I admit it unabashedly.  I yearn for the niceties—for the formalities, if you will—that make life so much more pleasant. I delight in listening to the conversation when a love-tormented Mr. Darcy accidentally stumbles upon Elizabeth Bennett out walking.

“Is your mother well?” he asks.

“Quite well”, Elizabeth replies.

“And your father?” Mr Darcy continues.

“Yes, very well indeed”, Elizabeth returns.

Mr. Darcy longs to shout out the deep yearning feelings of his heart and his struggle with her rejection of him, but instead, he is a restrained gentlemen. He goes through the paces of pleasant exchange.  Somehow our texting, twittering, facebooking has reduced us to one line replies that show little concern or appreciation.

I just looked up “niceties” in the dictionary and it said, delicacy of character. Oh yes!  That is what I feel is lacking!

Yesterday, Louisa did something I thought was unfair and I asked her to apologize.

“Well, I’m not sorry”, she reasoned.

“Say it anyway”, I replied.

“S-aaaw-r-e-e-e” she exaggerated.

I felt better.  I really did. It didn’t really matter so much to me if she meant it or not. It still felt good to me to hear it.

Niceties. Formalities. Pleasantries. A more delicate society.

I miss it!

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