There’s an interesting juxtaposition of being courteous and being modern. Not that I think these two things are opposing each other, but at times they lay on opposite sides of a very fine line. Let me explain.
Growing up, boys are taught to be forward, to go after what they want. To be gentle, and kind but in some ways more aggressive. To protect and to fight.
It’s in these things where the social dynamics take an interesting turn. Imagine this, you go out on a date, to for a guy, a lot of the time, it’s engrained in us to pay for the meal. Not a bad thing, or a thing I am complaining about, but something to be very aware of. If we don’t, we are thought of as cheap or stingy.
It’s just strange to think about, the system or manners have a certain non-contemporary nature to it. Most of the rules are in assuming a certain power dynamic between men and women. With the rise of modern feminism, we need to take a brief look into how these manners manifest themselves.
Paying for a meal, now the best suggestion I have heard about this is either to split the bill or whoever does the asking does the paying (now that does lead first dates to usually lean on the guy but that’s a whole other issue).
Asking people out. Though it falls primarily on the guy, I feel like now is a time where girls can feel comfortable (not that asking someone out for the first time is easy) asking.
Opening the door for people. A little bit goes a long way, plus, I would be happy for people to open the door for me but maybe that’s just because I am a bit lazy.
Driving people. This goes according to comfort and vehicle. I feel like this should just go to whoever feels least comfortable about things. Though it can be a good exercise in trust, meeting someone at the location has never been easier.
Not talking about politics or religion. Probably a good idea in general unless tha’ts what both people are bonding over. Its great to know people and that is always a fun topic to talk about but the conversation has a lot of other places to go too.
Of course, the easy way to go about things is, just to follow the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have done unto you”. This makes things very simple in the long run and can prove to be an effective way to approach pretty much everyone you come in contact with. Here’s the kicker though, people appreciate when you enact old time courtesies (the appropriate ones).
The difficulty stems from what to do and where in this environment its sometimes hard to gauge how familiar you should be with someone. Each person is different as is each relationship. Learning how to navigate it is going to become more complex as time goes on. I think as long as you go in with good intentions and the other person well being in mind we will do okay.
I don’t think it will make things any less confusing but it will certainly make it so you know exactly where you stand.