Are We Living in a Selfish Society?
Is the culture of a selfish society taking over and ‘love your neighbour’ dying a painfully slow death? Every time I leave my house and walk or drive in public, I’m amazed at the attitudes of some people. There’s so much aggression around that it’s scary to open your mouth, even to defend yourself.
What’s going on? Is it the financial crisis, lack of jobs, stress, mental health problems or just sheer selfishness?
- Selfish people on public transport
Sprawled across four seats and half of the aisle on the train this morning sat a young man with his bicycle. Not only that, he played his music so loud everyone in the carriage had to listen to it. A teenage schoolgirl nearly tripped over his bicycle. She giggled and apologised to him. He grunted and gave her a dirty look.
A young lady got on the train at the next stop. She sat down, turned towards him and politely said, “Could you put in your earpiece please. I don’t want to listen to your music.”
He didn’t even look in her direction. He just shouted out, F*** off!
To which she replied calmly, “Excuse me?”
He turned towards her and repeated, “F*** off!” So she quietly pulled a newspaper out of her bag, sat in her seat and read it. Nobody on the train said a word or even lifted an eyebrow.
The loud music continued for another four stops until he left the train. Listening to other people’s loud music, by force, seems to be a common thing on public transport these days.
Have you ever queued up for a bus for ages? How do you feel when out of nowhere someone conveniently appeared as the bus pulled up, pushed in front of you and casually got on?
- Is chivalry left in the dark ages?
As I walked down the stairs from the train station one morning, a lady struggled to get her suitcase up the stairs. So I offered to help her. She smiled, thanked me and told me that the only people who offered help were women. She said she found it quite surprising.
On another occasion a middle-aged woman stood on the train opposite a young man, who was sitting down. She glanced towards his direction. He was offended by her looking his way and yelled out, “What you looking at? Eh? What’s your problem? Come on then!”
She didn’t get angry, but told him, “Please don’t speak to me like that! Do you know that I’m old enough to be your mum? Please show some respect.”
While travelling on the trains, I’ve seen other women give up their seats to elderly people or pregnant women many times. It wasn’t because there was a shortage of seats, just that men occupied most of them. Instead of offering their seats, they sat there as if it was quite normal for the people who needed it most to stand, while they sat down.
Maybe it’s normal thing to do in this modern society and I’m being too old-fashioned. What do you think?
- What about our little darlings the future adults?
The worse time to travel by bus is when schools close. For a start you have to fight to get through the crowd of children to get on the bus. When you eventually get on, they take up all the seats. And then they all shout together at once, which is how they have conversations. If you tell them not to shout, you’ll probably get sworn at or ignored. Some of these little darlings have no concept of good manners or respect.
Are people just selfish or is there another side to the story?
Sometimes selfishness goes deeper than what we see on the surface. Take that guy on the train this morning. Who knows what was going on in his head or in his life? Maybe he had mental health issues, came from a background where he was physically and verbally abused or was just having a bad day.
Some people are a walking ball of stress, ready to explode at the slightest confrontation. There are a number of reasons why people act selfishly. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the community spirit doesn’t exist any more. There are many family breakdowns, absent fathers, redundancies, children who have to look after their siblings, mothers who get drunk and abuse their children or people who have no support and have to cope by themselves.
So, next time you see someone acting selfishly, look beyond their actions and ask yourself why they are behaving like that. We’re all selfish in our own ways. Just that some are more selfish than others. Therefore, their behaviour may impact in a negative way and sometimes cause harm to someone who didn’t do anything to deserve it.
What gets your back up about selfish people? How do you deal with it?
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Photo credit: Idea Go