Dear Crissy

Is common courtesy dead?

There were so many times during my pregnancy that I wanted to write a post about the lack of common courtesy I noticed.

Do you hold the door open for the person behind you?

The one thing that I have seen over the past couple of years, is that so often people who are less than five paces in front of me while walking into a store, will fail to hold the door open for me. I noticed it more when I was pregnant, because seriously, who doesn’t hold the door open for a woman who is 9-months-FEELS-LIKE-14-MONTHS-pregnant. Who? What kind of person is this? Did I just happen upon a string of bad experiences, or are common courtesies just really not in practice anymore?

Common Courtesy

Should pregnant women receive special treatment?

I have to admit, when I was pregnant with Evan, I really thought that people were going to view and treat me differently. And yes, by different, I mean special. I thought that people were going to take one look at me in all my glowing, pregnant glory, and immediately unleash phrases like, “Aww, can I help you carry that?” When appropriate, of course.

I always expected the teenage boy bagging my groceries at Kroger to ask me if I needed help to my car when I was pregnant, too, but guess what? I don’t think it ever happened. I had to specifically request help, and it was always as if I was really asking a lot when I did.

Granted, maybe I shouldn’t have anticipated that people would really care that I was pregnant. I mean, there are any number of pregnant woman in the room at a given time, and producing offspring is one of the most common, and basic human functions. Right? Obviously, I am simply making it clear that I realize on some level that pregnancy may not merit special treatment, but come on. Come ON. It does, right?

What do you think?

Do you find that there is a lack of basic common courtesy today? What about a little special treatment toward pregnant women, should it be a given, or should pregnant women just suck it up and stop anticipating any favors?

Crissy Page

Crissy Page is the founder and CEO of Dear Crissy and Parent Pretty. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two spirited and super-cool kids.

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  1. Stephanie — March 10, 2011 @ 1:05 am (#)

    I think overall, there is a lack of common courtesies. I think people really have become a little less aware of those around them (maybe b/c we’re always on our smartphones?) However, I have to say, when I was pregnant, I did get special treatment (and I really really liked it!) People let me go ahead of them in the supermarket. And I actually did have someone ask me if I needed help once carrying something. Maybe I just looked so awful and round that they felt sorry for me!! I think I got more special treatment pregnant than I did with the baby in tow, though.


  2. Danielle SG — March 10, 2011 @ 1:09 am (#)

    Crissy, it is not a lack of common courtesy, but a lack of respect for human life. Why should pregnant women get any special treatment when many people believe that you shouldn’t even be having that child. I got that so much when I was pregnant (had six). I always would get the jibes that the world is overpopulated. Then of course, we have just selfish people who have no thoughts of anyone else but themselves. But I think it is more about a lack of respect for human dignity. When life is not respected, there goes society.


  3. Jenn — March 10, 2011 @ 1:19 am (#)

    I’m in west Texas and everybody holds the door for everyone, says excuse me, says thank you, etc… it’s kind of nice to live in this “bubble”!


    • Ashley — March 10th, 2011 @ 2:06 am

      Same thing here in Oklahoma. But when I lived in California it was ridiculous. Even in Northern California, in the rural areas, people are very ME-centric.

      Common courtesy is dying along with chivalry.

    • Crissy — March 10th, 2011 @ 11:41 am

      Jenn, I wish it was a little more like that here.

  4. ellen — March 10, 2011 @ 1:28 am (#)

    It is a lack of concern they are showing not just for pregnant women, but for anyone. I will tell you, it varies by region and by size of the city, but what I am seeing is more people are looking down at their phones/devices & spending less time in the real world.
    It doesn’t matter if someone is pregnant, or you’re in a wheelchair- they dont see you.

    Common courtesy just isnt important if someone is playing angry birds. Neither is driving safely (I see women constantly texting while driving with kids in their car)

    It’s time to look up & see those around us again.


    • Crissy — March 10th, 2011 @ 11:40 am

      I think you’re right, Ellen!

  5. Brian — March 10, 2011 @ 1:32 am (#)

    I think in the younger generation, it is indeed dead, or at least dying very quickly. I’ve got 3 daughters, 1 son, and I have to fuss at them often about holding the door for others; not just the opposite gender. Although at times I’m surprised and touched at how thoughtful they can be at times.


  6. Asta Burrows — March 10, 2011 @ 1:39 am (#)

    It would have been nice if I once, just once, had been offered a seat on a bus whilst I was pregnant!


  7. Matthew Robinson — March 10, 2011 @ 1:55 am (#)

    As I was raised in a traditional yes-sir-yes-ma’am kind of home, I think the door should be held/opened for a women whether they are pregnant or not. Not because women are fragile or can’t do it themselves, but because it’s a courteous gesture. Especially if she is pregnant or has her hands full. That said, it is increasingly difficult to extend such gestures. I have been snapped at on several occasions for holding the door for a woman; in one instance, I was even called a sexist and told I was “what’s wrong with society.” I have other male friends that have experienced similar reactions. Whether it’s holding the door, offering to help with a cumbersome load, or giving up a seat on a full bus, some women take offense. I will grant that some of the people who let the door slam in your face are simply discourteous, but others, men in particular, worry about how they will be perceived. Chivalry isn’t dead, but I’m not sure how much longer it will survive. I’d love your (or others) reaction to this. Should men simply shrug off the occasional sexist-sensitive woman, or should just avoid going out of our way to hold a door?


    • David Huggins — March 13th, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

      I have experienced this. I still hold the door open for others, and I have said something to anyone who may think I am sexist. Some people just like to have something to yell or insult a stranger over.

      My wife loves it though, so I will continue.

  8. Helen — March 10, 2011 @ 2:19 am (#)

    I wonder if it’s the area? When I was pregnant, I had all sorts of awesome common courtesy, times 10! I was pregnant in Washington state though, and then into Canada. People gave me special treatment all the time. Helped me carry things out, gave me extra food in the restaurants, refilled my drinks, etc. A few restaurants even let me bring outside food in because I was pregnant. I loved being pregnant. :)

    But then, also, now that I’m not pregnant, the whole “open the door for the person behind you” still exists on a regular basis that I’ve noticed. Common courtesy is definitely nice.


  9. Angel — March 10, 2011 @ 6:57 am (#)

    I have taught all my boys respect and kindness. They know how to treat a woman and she does not have to be pregnant. They also have manners and the schools comment on how polite they are..


  10. Jessie — March 10, 2011 @ 7:19 am (#)

    It might not be dead but dying. I teach my girls common courtesy as I was taught by my grandmother. As far as being pregnant and receiving it, I got the door shut on my more times than I can count. It stinks.


  11. Jenn — March 10, 2011 @ 7:42 am (#)

    I think common courtesy as a whole is dying. I have taught my older kids (10&11) to open and continue to hold doors for everyone, get up and let elders have their seat, say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, and “bless you” but lately it seems like I’m the only one. I do believe a lot of it is smart phones and portable video games. My kids have the little Nintendos, but they can only play them at home and long (more than an hour) car trips. I like to talk to my kids at the dinner table and while I’m driving, somedays it’s the only quiet time we have together besides bedtime. I think more people should put those freaking devices down, and pay attention to those around them. Have a conversation with your kids, and let them learn from your good example, not the bad. We have to be the ones to teach them those things, because we’re just not paying teachers enough to do the stuff they already do.


  12. Jen - Life With Levi — March 10, 2011 @ 7:47 am (#)

    I think there’s definitely less than there used to be. Today I was at the drug store – when I pulled in to a parking lot near the front door, the guy in the spot next to me had his jumper cables out & hood up. I asked if he needed a jump. He did. Turns out he had been there for some time & no one had offered to help.

    Simple things like holding a door open, carrying groceries, giving up your seat – these are the small ways you can help someone out and make the world a better place.


  13. Someone's Mom — March 10, 2011 @ 8:35 am (#)

    I agree there is a lack of common courtesy. Even in high school I was appalled by the number of times I got the door slammed in my face going in right behind someone, and I am afraid as an adult, it hasn’t gotten much better. From people shamelessly using family parking spots when they obviously have no family with them, to heavily pregnant women standing on the subway while everyone else is sitting around and studiously avoiding looking at the big belly in the room. I am afraid all we can do is try to teach our kids differently.


  14. Aprile Mazey — March 10, 2011 @ 10:12 am (#)

    I do think that common courtesy is dead. I think a lot of the younger crowd are not being taught specific things such as respecting your elders, opening doors for others and offering help to those who look like they need help. I don’t know how many times I have been shopping with my daughter, both hands full and no one offers to grab a door. Even though they have 2 open hands. I do my best to help others in public and just hope that people see me and try to pass it forward.


  15. Jesse Stone — March 10, 2011 @ 10:25 am (#)

    I was blessed to be raised in a loving household, and also become a Boy Scout and achieve the rank of Eagle. At almost 32 years old, I still hold earning my Eagle Scout rank as one of my life’s best accomplishments. Only passed by my wife and child. One of the points of the Scout Law is to be Courteous. I always hold the door for people whenever I can at least. I have even been known to hold the door for multiple people causing me to become seperated from my group where ever I happened to be at the time. I agree with you in that there is a lack of courtesy in today’s society. From my experience though, and please please take no offense to this, I am kind of gun shy in that in the past I have offered pregnant women help with this or that, and they have given me “the look” or even told me they “didn’t need my help, and how dare I offer”, like I was offending them by saying they couldn’t do it themselves. I realize that not everyone is like that and I continue to offer my help. It’s part of who I am. I love to be helpful and courteous. Helpful is another point in the Scout Law. I found your site through Bloggy Moms, and will be following from now on. I hope you can find some time to take a look at my blog and let me know what you think. I am a SAHDad. Great post, loved that you said what was on your mind.


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