Bus Etiquette: Should You Give Up Your Seat To The Elderly? Psychologist Say No

Date May 29, 2019

Since childhood, we have been taught basic social conventions. We know that we should be polite and considerate. Words like “thank you,” “please,” and “sorry” are indispensable in any well-raised person's vocabulary. We should help those in need and show respect to older people. But how many of these things are actually correct?

How often have you been pressured into or demanded to give up your seat? In this case, people could not care less if you are feeling alright yourself. Many use public transport after serious injuries and surgeries, and some medical conditions impair physical abilities but are not detectable to people around.

Pregnant women and mothers with children often publicly condemn men, in particular, who didn’t give up their seat to them. However, in some cultures, kids, as a younger generation, are traditionally supposed to take care of the elders. So it’s quite normal to see a child standing in public transport in some countries.

It is also quite controversial in the case of expectant mothers since women have struggled so much to be perceived by men as equals. Sitting passengers, whom they criticize to themselves or aloud, could be simply absorbed in own affairs, physically unable to stand up and continue the ride on their feet, or they could be convinced that they are no less entitled to the seat.


Публикация от Lianna (@lianna20132704)

At the same time, many women and elder people often feel awkward because of scornfully patronizing strangers touched by their own noble gesture, or having to walk to the other end of the crowded car to show appreciation for someone who did get up.

As for the elderly, doctors believe that offering your seat to them because of their age and presumably poor health is not only not very ethical, but even harmful. According to doctors, old people should be encouraged to move. It is better for them to stand, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk regularly. These simple things can delay some aging processes and help them stay in good shape that does not require physical and social assistance.

Psychologist Lucia Suleymanova has voiced a similar opinion. She appealed to the authorities with a demand to stop promoting the practice of giving up a seat to the elderly in public transport. Often, people slightly over 50 mistakenly fall into this category. Just a few years ago were active and needed, full of health and plans, and now they are pitied and even patronized. It humiliates them and rubs their nose in the fact that they are on the threshold of old age. How does it affect their health? People develop depression and go through severe mental crises.

Some people will get their seat by all means. Others do not feel as vulnerable as to take “handouts” from strangers and get offended by these kind gestures. There is, however, no shame in being honesty concerned or ask for help if you really need it. And what do you say: is it a good practice to give up seats for elder people in the transport, or are psychologists and doctors right?

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.