Amy Alkon grew up in Farmington and is now a science-based syndicated columnist, author and frequent contributor to NPR programs. Alkon looks at how behavior affects the way we act. Her new book is called “Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*CK”. She speaks with WDET’S Amy Miller about how as a society, we have lost the constraints that once kept us from being mean or rude to others.
Alkon says at one time people lived in smaller towns, villages and tribes. To maintain acceptance in those societies residents had to control their behaviors or risk being ostracized. She says now we live in societies that have grown more quickly than the evolution of our brain and capacity to handle socialization on a large scale. Because of that, it allows people to act more rudely or in an uncaring manner.
Alkon says random acts of kindness can help others feel better about themselves and help us as individuals feel that we are making postive contributions.
On the other hand, she says people who act rudely should be called out on their behavior. For example, she says she often leaves sticky notes on cars where the driver has taken up two spaces or when people “steal your time” by talking loudly on their cell phone while standing in line at a coffee shop. She recommends taking their picture and posting it on line as a means of calling them out.
Click on the player above to hear the interview