metro: courtesy is a thankless pursuit
There’s one school of thought that etiquette exists to make others comfortable.* WMATA’s latest campaign seems to be right along those lines. The primary focus is to make sure that priority seating is available to those who need it, but they’re also sneaking in a few common courtesy tips as well.
This brings us around to another, possibly more widely-practiced, concept of etiquette: to make oneself feel better. While I usually encounter this on a daily basis in the name of chivalry**, this morning’s commute saw the third time I’ve seen someone make an offer of a seat… that was declined.
You’d think that would be the end of it, an offer, a refusal and everyone keeps riding. Yeah, right. In each of these instances, the person offering the seat proceeded to go on talking for at least another minute to: themselves, their friend and this morning to the person refusing. Each time about how they’re just trying to be nice and how maybe they shouldn’t even bother and how now they’re being made to feel bad! While the man this morning was very polite in offering his seat, the woman refusing was equally polite considering that she probably just didn’t want to interact with the dude at all.
So please, if you take it upon yourself to perform an unsolicited act of kindness and it isn’t accepted or well-received, let it go. Or to translate for the selfless-impaired: they’re the jerk for refusing, don’t dwell on it and possibly make yourself a bigger jerk in the process.
* There are also, of course, both more sinister and selfless interpretations, all of which I won’t go into at this time. 😈
** Yes, it was absolutely necessary to make all of us wait to get off the elevator or walk through that door just so your warped sense of masculinity could be appeased by letting the female go first.†
† And don’t think we all didn’t notice you totally checking out her ass.