Southern Hospitality

The term “Southern Hospitality” is something that people all over the country use to describe the warm, friendly feeling you get in the South when you interact with most strangers. Everywhere I go people hold doors open for others without a second thought. We are taught to use good manners when dealing with people in our everyday lives. I know that as a young girl I was taught to always say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” when speaking to adults. This small piece of instruction instilled in me as a youngster has stayed with me throughout my entire life. Even now, when I interact with men or women (whether they are older than me or not) I always address them as ma’am or sir. I have also noticed that many of my friends and relatives have the same manners. I have cousins who were born and raised in Chicago, and they do not speak with the same manners as my brother and I do. I never really noticed the difference in our mannerisms until last Christmas break when we all went out for dinner and my brother and I addressed the waitress with a polite “Yes, ma’am” while our male cousin was very short and somewhat rude to our waiter. He also made a comment about how he thought it was strange that my brother held the door open for the people entering the restaurant before us. I thought it was very interesting that even though we are closely related, we had very different ideas about the types of manners that were appropriate in this restaurant situation. I love the fact that whenever I am walking around campus and enter a building behind someone, they automatically hold the door until I reach out to hold it myself. I always say thank you. It is just an implied interaction that pretty much everyone follows as normal. When I went to New York for Christmas a few years ago, I was quite displeased with the lack of community feel. It didn’t seem like anyone cared about anyone else. No one held a door for me or anything else that I was used to from back home. I love the way that at home in the South, everyone seems to be a part of a real community instead of just a bunch of people living in the same area. I love that one of the things we are known for is our “Southern Hospitality”. A lot of my family is from the North and I know that they all think of the South as a friendly place and love to visit us down here. I am definitely going to raise my children with the idea of Southern Hospitality instilled in them. I want my children to be incredibly polite and know how to navigate the world. I think that the tradition of “Yes, ma’am” will continue in the South as long as people continue to raise their children in this tradition. One of my favorite sayings is, Say what you will about the South, but nobody retires and moves up North.

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