manners

A rude thing that people do to wheelchair and mobility scooter users

So, here’s a thing that happens a lot:
  • Someone rides a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a room that has many chairs in it
  • They want to sit on one of those chairs.
  • Several people, trying to be helpful, dart in to remove the very chair they wanted to sit on

This is very annoying.

  • Especially when it happens several times a week
  • Especially when the people who dart in to remove the chairs are very proud of themselves for Helping The Disabled
  • Even more so if they don’t understand “actually, I want to sit in that chair”, and keep removing it anyway
  • Even more so if the person has to physically grab the chair they want to sit on to prevent it from being removed
  • (And sometimes people react badly to being corrected and become aggressive or condescending)

Do not do this annoying thing.

  • Instead, find out what the person you want to be helpful to actually wants
  • People who use mobility equipment are not actually glued to it
  • And different people have different preferences about where they want to sit
  • You can’t know without asking them
  • (You can’t read their mind, Some people seem to think that mobility equipment transmits a telepathic call for help regardless of the person’s actual apparent interest in help. Those people are wrong. You have to actually ask)
  • You can’t know where someone wants to sit unless you ask, so ask
  • One way you can ask is “Would you like me to move anything?”

If you forget to ask, and make the wrong assumption:

  • Recognize that you have been rude
  • And apologize, and say “Oh, excuse me” or “Sorry. I’ll put it back.”
  • This is the same kind of rude as, say, accidentally cutting in line
  • Or being careless and bumping into someone
  • This is not a big-deal apology, it’s basically just acknowledging that you made a rude mistake
  • People make and acknowledge rude mistakes all the time with nondisabled folks
  • The same people who say “excuse me” when they bump into a nondisabled person, are often completely silent when they do something rude related to someone’s disability
  • Being on the receiving end of a lot of unacknowledged rudeness is degrading and draining. Particularly when you see that the same people who are rude to you without apologizing say “sorry” and “excuse me” to people without disabilities they interact with
  • Do not be part of this problem
  • When you are inadvertently rude to someone who has a disability, it’s important to acknowledge and apologize for it in the same way you would for any other inadvertent interpersonal rudeness

Gender neutral greetings

Just wondering if you know of a gender neutral greeting for someone you don’t know? Like- costumer things. My ‘script’ my mom taught me has me saying things like “Excuse me, miss, but I can’t find ___,” or “excuse me, sir,” or ma'am or mister. is there a gender neutral version of this?
realsocialskills said:
The only thing I can think of is just leaving off miss/sir entirely. Eg “Excuse me, but I can’t find ____.”
I think that isn’t usually seen as rude.
Do any of y'all have another suggestion?

aura218:

realsocialskills:

lady-brain:

realsocialskills:

 chavisory answered: If you’re having wine, have some soda or cider too in case there are people who avoid alcohol. Hard cider is also a nice alternative to beer

realsocialskills said:

That’s an important point. If you’re having a gathering that includes alcohol, it’s important to have non-alcoholic drinks too. 

A lot of people avoid alcohol for various reasons, and you don’t always know who they are.

And even people who drink often find it easier to avoid drinking too much if there are non-alcoholics drinks available.

Also, consider who you are inviting when you’re deciding whether to have alcohol. If you’re inviting people who tend to be really obnoxious when they’re drunk, it might be better to stick with soft drinks.

lady-brain said:

I would suggest, if you are a host, letting all invitees know ahead of time explicitly whether or not there will be alcohol (or drugs, or anything else people might want to avoid or be forewarned about) at your event.

I’m a sober alcoholic, I appreciate knowing whether there will be alcohol so I can make the decision whether or not I am able to attend the event. I understand when people require alcohol/other substances to socialize/feel safe (especially since I used it for anxiety myself), so I know that not all my spaces can be alcohol-free, and I don’t require that. What I do require is a heads-up, because I am not comfortable around alcohol all the time, around all people, in all locations. It depends, and I need to make the call myself. I can’t do that if I don’t have that information.

realsocialskills said:

I agree this is an important thing to do, but I don’t know of a polite way to do it. Do you know of one?

aura218 said:

I’m in recovery. I usually blame not drinking on “a bad stomach” or “It interferes with my medication” or “I don’t want to drink or an empty stomach” or “I exercised today, I really need to hydrate.” 

Remember that having a drink in your hand makes you appear social, so just holding soda will ward off anyone asking why you’re not drinking. You don’t have to keep drinking it and filling it up. Also, bottles of water, coffee, and tea are a socially acceptable alternative; water is healthy, and coffee or tea can be explained as you being tired and needing to perk up to socialize, since alcohol makes you sleepy.

If you’re driving, you always have that out. If you’re a woman, you can always say “I’m leaving soon, I want to be alert to walk to the subway” and who cares if you’e not leaving for an hour. IF anyone says “I thought you were going,” you can always say “I thought i was, but I’m having such a great time!”

But really, you don’t need to explain why you’re not drinking. Just, “I’ll have a soda/water/coffee, thanks” should be reason enough (and remember you don’t have to drink it, just hold it). No one needs to know your medical history and it’s rude to insult the drinks that the host chose, so no one expects you to overexplain why you aren’t drinking. “I don’t want to drink tonight” is fine.

realsocialskills said:

I absolutely agree that no one has to explain to anyone else why they aren’t drinking. What I meant is that I don’t know how to politely warn people that there will be alcohol at a party.

Those sound like good suggestions for deflecting pushy people though.

The one I’m a bit hesitant about is saying that you want to be alert to walk to the subway, though. Because then what do you do if a guy who is giving off creepy vibes says “Don’t worry about that, I’ll walk with you?” It strikes me as likely to open the can of worms rather than close it. Have you used this one successfully?

lady-brain:

realsocialskills:

 chavisory answered: If you’re having wine, have some soda or cider too in case there are people who avoid alcohol. Hard cider is also a nice alternative to beer

realsocialskills said:

That’s an important point. If you’re having a gathering that includes alcohol, it’s important to have non-alcoholic drinks too. 

A lot of people avoid alcohol for various reasons, and you don’t always know who they are.

And even people who drink often find it easier to avoid drinking too much if there are non-alcoholics drinks available.

Also, consider who you are inviting when you’re deciding whether to have alcohol. If you’re inviting people who tend to be really obnoxious when they’re drunk, it might be better to stick with soft drinks.

lady-brain said:

I would suggest, if you are a host, letting all invitees know ahead of time explicitly whether or not there will be alcohol (or drugs, or anything else people might want to avoid or be forewarned about) at your event.

I’m a sober alcoholic, I appreciate knowing whether there will be alcohol so I can make the decision whether or not I am able to attend the event. I understand when people require alcohol/other substances to socialize/feel safe (especially since I used it for anxiety myself), so I know that not all my spaces can be alcohol-free, and I don’t require that. What I do require is a heads-up, because I am not comfortable around alcohol all the time, around all people, in all locations. It depends, and I need to make the call myself. I can’t do that if I don’t have that information.

realsocialskills said:

I agree this is an important thing to do, but I don’t know of a polite way to do it. Do you know of one?

musingsofanaspie said: two thoughts (1) if the host says not to bring food, it’s polite to bring a small host(ess) gift that you think the person will like (2) it’s okay to invite people by saying “I’m asking each person to bring a side dish, would you be able to do that?”

realsocialskills said:

About host(ess) gifts:

  • Flowers are generally considered appropriate
  • But not roses, especially if you are a man and the host is a single woman. Roses are associated with romance and are likely to be seen as intrusive flirting.
  • If the host has children who will be present, something for the kids can be a polite choice. But make sure that it’s either a thing that can be shared easily or that there is one for each kid (eg: if there are three kids, three kaleidoscopes, not one).

About inviting and saying you’re asking everyone to bring a thing:

  • It’s better to tell someone this *before* they accept the invitation
  • Because if they’ve already said yes, there’s no polite way to change their mind after being asked to bring something
  • Especially since some people are uncomfortable declining directly and make polite excuses like “I’m sorry, that sounds lovely, but I have other plans.”
  • So they might say yes and not really be ok with it because there’s no polite way to say no at that point