Hey Mr Postman: They are also more reluctant to give a cup of tea to builders or tip the postman at Christmas. Picture: Rogan Ward

London - It’s not just your imagination – young people really are getting ruder.

Today’s 18 to 34-year-olds are less likely to say hello to neighbours or open the door for the elderly than those aged over 55.

They are also more reluctant to give a cup of tea to builders or tip the postman at Christmas.

Research showed the age group were 23 percent less likely, on average, to carry out common courtesies than over-55s.

Neighbours were ignored by nearly 35 percent of the group compared with only 15 percent of over-55s. Youngsters were also 18 percent less likely to open a door for a woman or an elderly person, 17 percent less willing to give up their seat on public transport for a pregnant woman and 12 percent less likely to offer it to an elderly passenger.

While 83 percent of the over-55s surveyed said they would always give builders working in their homes a cup of tea, only half of the younger generation would do the same, according to the YouGov survey of 1,000 adults for RatedPeople.com.

Tipping is another courtesy that seems to have been lost between generations, with the younger group 41 percent less likely to tip the milkman – if they have one – at Christmas and 36 percent less likely to give a festive tip to the postman.

While nearly half of over-55s would always tip a hairdresser, less than 30 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds would.

Psychiatrist Dr Clive Sherlock said the changes in behaviour were evidence of society becoming more selfish and a “lack of respect”. He said: “People now are more concerned for themselves and less concerned for other people.

“Communities are now much more about material gain and looking after your peer group, rather than bothering with the people who live next door or you meet on the street.

“People’s respect for themselves has gone down and with that goes down respect for other people. There is a decline in respect for other people’s feelings. That is a major change.”

Dr Sherlock said it was likely technology was encouraging people to be “more involved in themselves”.

“One thing that probably enforces this to some extent is the way in which people are plugged in to iPods and their mobile phones,” he added.

A separate YouGov study for RatedPeople.com also found the younger generation was less likely to let builders use their toilet or tell them to help themselves to a cup of tea.

More than six in ten of 1,000 tradesmen surveyed said homeowners had become ‘more demanding’ in the past ten years. Fewer than a quarter said they were always offered a cup of tea on a job.

Liam Hamblim, of Scadbury Building Services, said: “As a self-employed builder I often don’t find time to stop for breakfast or lunch, tea is what gets me through the day.

“I don’t expect homeowners to give me access to tea making or toilet facilities but, during the winter months especially, those small things mean a lot.

“When you’ve next got a builder in I urge you to make them a ‘cuppa’, it’s a British tradition that’s always appreciated.” - Daily Mail