September is National Courtesy Month posted in: Etiquette
September is National Courtesy Month, offering the perfect opportunity to extend kindness and respect to our fellow man. In essence, courtesy is consideration. It’s about showing kindness and respect to others.
Today’s high-demand and hurried pace makes it all too easy for common courtesies to fall by the wayside. And our reality TV world which is often ruled by rude and obnoxious behavior in effort to ratchet up ratings doesn’t’ help at all. Unfortunately, blatant disrespect and ruthless conduct toward others seems not only to be tolerated, it is at times encouraged and even in some cases rewarded. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing or personally experiencing ill-mannered behavior you know how uncomfortable and vexing these situations can be (if you have never encountered such behavior, CALL ME – we must talk!) Rude encounters can leave us wondering if some people realize how they come across or if courtesy is becoming a lost art.
So how can you keep courtesy alive? As elementary as it is, the key to keeping courtesy alive in our culture is to live according to the Golden Rule, to treat others as you wish to be treated. This principle directs us to consider how it would feel to be on the receiving end of our words and actions. It’s important to note that courtesy if unaffected by a person’s status in society, balance in their bank account, or whether or not they can do something beneficial for you – everyone is worthy and due common courtesy. We are to show kindness and respect for others in both our initiated conversation and actions as well as in our response – regardless of other’s good or poor manners.
There are small things that we can do every day to show politeness and respect to our fellow man, and most won’t even require much effort. Here are my top tips for extending courtesy to others:
1. Be clear and considerate in your communication. In all things, think about being on the receiving end of your actions – or lack of as it may be. How would you feel if your call wasn’t returned or text wasn’t responded to, you received a curt and seemingly demanding email, you set aside your valuable time only for your companion to leaving you hanging and show an hour late? Communication is an exchange of information between two or more individuals – take care in how your communications could be perceived by others. Be sure to communicate in a clear and honest manner.
2. Hold the door for a stranger. Isn’t it nice when someone holds a door for you? A stranger takes the time to acknowledge and wait for you – how nice is that? This kind of thoughtfulness makes us feel good. We all walk through several doors every day. So, hold the door open for the person behind you – it takes hardly any effort at all, but may mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.
3. Say no to tit for tat. When someone is disrespectful or downright rude to you, don’t
allow it to throw you off course and stoop to their level. I’m not suggesting that you be a doormat. However, depending on the circumstance, you can either turn the other cheek, or respectfully express your thoughts and let the person know that you are wiling to engage further only if mutual consideration is shown.
4. Roadway Rituals. Being one who travels frequently, I am all too aware of the lack of common courtesy when on the road. Drivers often cut off other cars in traffic, fail to use turn signals, and my personal peeve, remain in the passing lane – refusing to let faster cars pass by them. This rudeness has a negative impact on other drivers, and can lead to ‘road rage’, or even worse – an accident. Politeness is a must for all drivers. Common courtesy will make life on the road better and safer for everyone.
5. Leave things better than when you found them. Don’t down the last cup of coffee and walk away as if you didn’t know the ewer was empty. Put on a new pot of brew so the next person doesn’t have to face the disappointment. If you see a piece wrapper or paper laying about, toss it in the trash, don’t just step over it on your way to the copier. If you are the first one home in the evening and the house is in disarray from rushed morning, tidy up, turn the lights down, put the music on and open a bottle of wine – your partner will surely appreciate the inviting environment.
Doing even a few of these things will not only have a positive impact on the people in your life or brighten the day of a stranger, but will boomerang the positivity back to you. When we stop thinking only about ourselves and consider the needs and desires of others – great things happen. We do for others and in turn, it often ends up doing more for us than for them.
This September, let’s celebrate National Courtesy Month by showing patience, kindness and respect to our fellow man. Or be a real renegade, and practice this 24/7 365!
What ideas do you have on how to spread courtesy across our great land?