Jupiter in Libra – Manners ‘Round the World

A few days ago, I worked with a client in Africa.  She emailed me today because she realized she did not thank me for the consultation. I’m glad she did this. It’s prompted me to write this post, which I’ve intended to write since Jupiter went into Libra.

Two years ago, I moved to the American South. Southerners are known for their good manners and their reputation is well deserved. I was raised…um…poorly.  Having Mars and Mercury in Libra, I have always aspired to have manners.  I’ve been at this since I was a ten-year-old child, reading Emily Post that I got from the library. I can’t say that I ever succeeded. I have improved my manners, but that’s different from having good manners.

I moved to the South from Colorado. I lived there for more than twenty years, having come from Arizona.  People in Arizona tend to be warm. Seriously. They’re warm and they’re casual. People in Colorado are cold and casual.  I never figured out why, but manners are definitely not a focus there.

When I moved here, I knew it was going to be ‘Sir” and “Ma’am” all the time. If you don’t grow up using these titles, they sound awkward when they leave your mouth.  Again, with time and practice, I’ve improved.  But here’s the interesting thing I wanted to write about:

I was talking about this with a friend some months ago. She lives in region that does not use formal terms. She said if you were to call someone, “ma’am” in her city, they’d probably look at you as if you had three heads and they may even correct you.  I knew exactly what she meant!  I’ve seen this reaction before. But check this out…

In practicing my Southern style manners, I wanted to speed progress (Mars in Libra), so I started to call people “ma’am” and “sir” when calling for service. I’m talking about national stuff. T-Mobile.  Home Depot customer service. I had no idea where the person I was talking to might be located. But I’ll tell you something. It sure made a difference in how I was treated.  It was amaaaaazing.

It didn’t matter who or where I was calling, the person on the other end of the phone, was invariably kind.  I could really notice it when I called folks in Colorado. Yep!

I had a corporation when I lived in Colorado. I dissolved it when I move but there were loose ends here and there. For example they billed me four times for something I paid before I left. I could have gotten on the phone and cussed them. Stupid baboons! Instead it went like this.

“Hello?

“Yes, ma’am. I have problem and I’m hoping you can help me with it…”

BAM. Instant nice.

Now if you try this and a Southerner (living wherever) picks up the phone and encounters manners on the other end, they will help you to the end of the earth and back again.

It’s not too late. Jupiter is still in Libra. Is there anyone out there who will cop to the fact, they set an example of rudeness, everywhere they go?

If you’re like that, what do you think about experimenting with a new way to present and express yourself?

I’ll tell you one thing. If you work for tips, you’d be well advised to acquire skills in this area. Especially if you’re young.

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Jupiter in Libra – Manners ‘Round the World — 20 Comments

  1. I prefer warm and casual. Like in Scotland… I was VERY happy there. Being called maam makes me so unhappy. Here it is ONLY an age judgment. Referencing Jessi Klein.
    I know Im not answering the question.

  2. I was born and raised in Southern California, but I have happily spent the past 10 years living in South East Texas. 80 miles from Dallas and 80 miles from Shreveport, La. We call it “The Pine Curtain” on account of being surrounded by “Piney Woods”.

    Despite the fact that I am not Southern Baptist, I absolutely love it here. I go to Walmart in the evenings when the sun goes down and the temperature drops a bit. I see a white minister in casual dress praying with a young black woman while I am looking at produce. I know he is a minister because I have seen him praying with people a few times over some months now. I smile inside, grateful to live in such a caring community.

    I cross over to the beef section, and I stroll up to a store employee and give him a hug. I walk up and down the isles while store employees stock shelves. I look them all in the eye and say hello. Any female, employee or customer I would immediately address as “Maam” or by their name if they wore a name tag. Any male no matter the age would be “Sir” unless I could see a name tag. I make a point of saying hello to any employee there and specifically using their name. Sometimes I see a smile, it is nice to hear others call us by our name and inquire about our day.

    I love the polite customs and culture of this particular area where I live. It is very southern and small townish. I visited Scotland once and I enjoyed the Scotts as well. I particularly enjoyed small towns in Ireland, Ireland in many areas reminded me of what culture may have been like in the 1950’s. I recall going inside a small town Irish store, and hearing Gaelic whispered all around me. I noticed the Irish habit of putting up a smiling face no matter the mood, and the infuriating habit of that same smiling face not telling me a grain of truth while looking me straight in the eyes. The Scotts were in my opinion, a bit more rugged and honest.

  3. I wish ma’am were more dignified like sir. Is ma’am shortened from madame? Madame would be so much cooler (younger, sexier). Ma’am always makes me feel like a 60 year old drill sergeant. But naturally I’d rather be called ma’am politely than b*tched at!

  4. I’ve also been trying to learn manners since forever because it seems so alien to me. I’ve read several books, especially a really big one I found in my grandma’s house. But I haven’t made much progress.

  5. Ive had good responses from exiting a conversation with “have a good day” and “thank you. I really appreciate your help”. It’s so easy to be nice. Everyone just wants their humanity to be recognized. I think that can be expressed in many ways and still be authentic. I’m often in a hurry but at the very least I try to not make someone’s day worse.

    I also like to use namaste although that is not a term many people know. My favorite definition of namaste is “the divine in me recognizes the divine in you”.

    I’ve often wondered what the world would look like if the standard greeting and goodbye was “I love you” or something to that effect.

  6. I work in an office with a few Southerners & they call me Miss Diane. This started when I was about 45 & they still do…which I have to smile at now at this age. I wasn’t used to this term so I asked what that meant & they said it was a sign of respect.
    I get a lot of yes ma’am now out of the office, hey I am 65! Yes, it is different at first, but it is a sign of respect & shows how they were raised. You can tell when someone has been in the military because they use that term too. (Not to mention their work ethic!)
    As for some who I interpret as their saying it as a slam….that’s their problem, not mine. And careful how you use your words…because they can come back to bite you.
    My grandmother used to say “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”.

  7. I grew up in the deep south and with Mars, Saturn, Neptune and Venus in Libra when I moved to NYC I took my manners with me. My first job was as an Administrative Assistant in a major advertising company. Though pretty far down on the corporate totem pole, when there was bad news to be given to a client, I was often tasked with the delivery. Without trying, I softened the blow. Three of my very southern mother’s pieces of advice for coming out on top were “kill them with kindness,” “always let them underestimate you,” and “it never hurts to say thank you.”

  8. I’d love to live in a polite community. Maybe I should move. I get called “Ma’am” all the time though in stores at the checkout stand, but on the other spectrum I also get called “Miss” occasionally, when clearly I am NOT a “Miss”. I kind of feel flattered on one side, but patronized on the other. I do use “Ma’am” or “Miss” as appropriate though when in store and have a question as in “Excuse me Ma’am” but only if they are around my age or older. I use “Miss” on anyone that is a young adult and up t about 40. Then there’s that netherland. What do you think 40-50 year olds should be called?

  9. My Southern grandma was very genteel, if something freaked her out she’d just murmur, “My, that’s unusual.” Without any affectation, it was just her manner.

    On the other hand Midwestern niceness can seem false and grating somehow. If I go back to the small city where I was raised I find it unnerving that so many strangers are smiling at me in stores, etc. I’ve become more reserved now.

    But I’m usually very polite in social situations, maybe I overdo it sometimes. I think it’s my moon and Mercury in Virgo, I like a bit of formality and respect.

    I don’t mind ma’am at all, but at my age “miss” is inappropriate and always sounds snotty. A few years ago a guy doing some repair work at a place I was renting kept calling me “Lady,” but somehow I didn’t mind, I really think it was the best he could think of. It was kind of funny, very Jerry Lewis.

    Just don’t call me Shirley!

    • Your name is a Scottish last name. I find southern niceness grating from what i know cause theyll talk smack about you behind your back. I find both grating ish.
      I like french and spanish people though they gather in groups and i imagine i hear them talking sht abojt me unless im part of the group but they make me happy.

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