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Nikki Luongo Headshot

Has Social Grace Gone Out the Window?

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We live an age where flipping someone off is as common as a smile, and let's face it, we're quick to tell someone to go to hell when there isn't enough time in the day to listen to other people whine and complain. We only have so much time in the day to get things done and stopping to pay attention to someone is just more time wasted. Even in the social media world we purposely start fights so we can tell someone off so we can feel better about ourselves...

I've noticed, not just in Boston but everywhere that the level of rudeness has heightened to ridiculous portions. People are even willing to shove little kids out of the way to get over on them. Tantrums are epic. Fuses have gotten shorter and shorter. And it's over ridiculous matters: people threatening to kill each other over parking spaces, cutting each other off in lines. The crime rate has skyrocketed because of behavior like this, and yet we're still so surprised when things go completely crazy and people get hurt.

The boundaries have also gone as well. What was considered unacceptable behavior is now being accepted. Questions you wouldn't image being asked, are actually being asked. A few weeks ago at a football game, I was standing by myself when a man, around the same age as my Uncle, the Godfather, put his arm around me and asked If I was wearing a denim bra because I had on a jean jacket with jeans and a black shirt underneath. This man, whom I had never met before, stood there and actually waited for an answer.

Even if I could regain the feeling back in my tongue -- because the instant the question was out in the air, my entire mouth went numb -- how do you respond to that? Do you scream sexual harassment or laugh it off?

And someone, who I had dated back in the day, laughingly asked what I had done with my life, the assumption had been that I had been sitting, waiting around for Ed McMahon to pop out of the grave and deliver a publisher's clearing house check. But of course no one really knows what's going on in other people's life. They just figure since they see postings on a social networking site, that your every thought and whim is basically filled under a 200-word status.

I realize that people being rude is never going to change and that at times it's ignored but then when it's aimed specifically, it hurts; sometimes it's just tiring: like being back in high school and started a fight among your friends to see where their loyalties lie. At a certain point and age, it's time to put away all that nonsense.

As a Masshole, you are expected to simply give it back. It's like rudeness was programmed into our systems, but even we sometimes reel it back so people won't think we're completely awful. My Aunt Mame believes that the assumptions of others are the reasons why we still act like we're in the Stone Age, no matter how far the times or technology has progressed.

It's almost like being bullied all over again except this time, we're old enough to have some sort of snappy comeback. When it happens online, we're armed to the teeth with witty retorts and insults. We can have full-blown fights without ever leaving the comfort of our bedrooms. It's almost like phoning into work, except we can stay in our jammies and torment people through the computer.

There are always going to be people who cross the line on a regular basis because they don't think before they act or are looking for someone to argue with. The question is how to deal with them because being polite doesn't work and being a jerk doesn't work either. So where's the fine line?

Do you think lately that people have been extraordinarily out of control in the evasive questioning department or statement making? Has someone said something so awful you literally stopped in your tracks?