Let’s Revive Common Courtesy!

Today is National Common Courtesy Day, according to the National Day Calendar folks.  According to their website …

National Common Courtesy Day on March 21st serves as a reminder of the behavior that keeps society from melting into a sea of madness. In addition, the day brings awareness to how crucial common courtesy is in our lives and provides examples to help us improve.

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, courtesy is described as a: behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others: courteous behavior b: a courteous and respectful act or expression.

Common courtesy can be as simple as saying “please” and “thank you” when asking for and receiving a service, gift, or assistance. Kindness and courtesy go a long way and are noticed by others even if you do not realize it. Letting someone in front of you in traffic is easy. Hold open a door for someone or give a person a hand with his groceries. Give up your seat on the bus to someone who might need it. Introduce yourself to the new employee or kid at school and take the time to introduce them to the rest of the crew.

All simple, common-sense things, right?  For some, yes, for others … not so much.  In today’s climate of political and social unrest, common courtesy often appears to have left the room.  I do see examples of common courtesy on the rare occasions I am able to leave my house.  I was having trouble with the digital card reader a few weeks ago when I was checking out at Kroger with just a handful a few groceries, and while the cashier was giving me dirty looks and rolling her eyes, a gentleman behind me stepped up and helped me get the machine to register my card.  I thanked him profusely and he actually tipped his hat to me!  But more often what I see is quite the opposite of courtesy.  Take a look on social media … any of it … Facebook, Twitter … and see some of the things written there.  Last week I saw a post calling for the execution of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Twitter, and worse yet, numerous people … thousands of them … were supportive of that post, including one of the readers of this blog!

Road rage and gun violence have increased during the last two years, since the start of the pandemic.  WHY???  Is it really the fault of the car in front of or behind you that you must wear a mask, or that your favourite restaurant has closed, or even that you’ve been laid off from your job?  Does that gun solve your problems?  Hardly.

Every day we hear about people being rude to servers in restaurants, cashiers in stores, and there has been a spate of airline passengers having to be restrained by duct tape, or a plane having to detour from its destination because crude passengers, aware of but fighting against mask regulations, have physically assaulted airline staff or other passengers!  These things, my friends, is NOT who we are … or at least not who we should be.

I’m not sure when the notion of ‘common courtesy’ began to be tattered and worn.  I think the years of the former president played an enormous role, and of course COVID and the associated restrictions also contributed.  But to be honest, Americans have never won the contest for common courtesy even before the “Reign of Trump”, so Trump and COVID merely served to exacerbate the situation.

And a bunch of today’s politicians certainly aren’t setting an example!  Some have promoted and encouraged violence against any and all who disagree with them, while others follow and promote conspiracy theories.  At least two that I’m aware of made last year’s Christmas cards from photos of their young children all holding guns!!!  This is in direct opposition with the concept of ‘common courtesy’!!!

I typically think the ‘National Days’ are propaganda, meaningless and trivial although sometimes good for a few laughs, but this one, a day set aside to think about and renew our determination to treat others with respect and courtesy, is one that I think should be observed more than once a year … like, maybe every day?

We can make our voices, our opinions, heard without raising our voices, without abusing others, without name-calling and cursing.  We can hold open a door, step aside, help someone who is struggling, even if they don’t believe the same as we do.  We can be staunch defenders of certain values and beliefs, and still be kind, still treat others with decency and respect.  And who knows … if we help somebody today, maybe … just maybe … that person will in turn help somebody else, and thus a movement is begun.  Okay, so maybe I’m being a Pollyanna, but folks … this violent hatred we are seeing all around us simply must 🛑STOP🛑 … and what better way to start the ball rolling than by making a concerted effort to observe National Common Courtesy Day?

48 thoughts on “Let’s Revive Common Courtesy!

  1. I agree but with conditions. Courtesy varies between communities. What is courteous in one might be offensive in another. So don’t assume that someone isn’t being courteous if their actions seem rude or offensive to you. My wife grew up in a very different culture from mine, and even after 50 years we still instinctively perform little “courtesies” that the other finds rude.

    Being autistic, I still find I’m often told I’m being rude or discourteous or worse – being deliberately obnoxious. No matter how hard I try to follow what I believe are the correct social rules I tend to make social faux pas with monotonous regularity. And having prosopagnosia has landed me in no end of trouble. Most people seem to prefer to think that I’m being deliberately rude to them rather than accept I am unable to recognise them. Seldom is an explanation of face blindness accepted. Courtesy should go both ways, but apparently not of you’re autistic or have prosopagnosia.

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    • You make an excellent point … different cultures DO have different norms or standards of civility. On the other hand, some things are just uncivil no matter who you are or where you’re from, such as cursing at a person for something they cannot help, or … cutting someone off in traffic.

      It’s hard enough for those of us who aren’t autistic … I cannot even begin to imagine how much more difficult it is for you, my friend. I had to look up prosopagnosia, as I was unfamiliar with the term. Face blindness … again, I cannot imagine not recognizing a friend or even a family member. My heart goes out to you … and we’ve communicated enough for me to know you are a good man with a good heart … I just never realized quite how hard life has been for you. Hugs, my friend.

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      • Hard life? Compared to the lives of the Rohingya, Uighurs, people in Yemen, Congo and Syria, and many, many minorities around the world, I have had a very privileged life. I often view the knocks I receive as being reminders of how fortunate I have been.

        Just one small request: I prefer being identified as “person” rather than a specific gender. I identify as male but not as a man (so male pronouns are acceptable). Have thought that way probably since before my teens, but the thought that those responsible for the event described in Last Meal were already considered to be young men was the last straw. I was not and never could be like them.

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        • You’re right … compared to those, you, me, and most people live comparatively easy lives. I think we all tend to lose sight of the context, as we go through our days troubled by our own problems. I often complain about being deaf, or about this recent heart trouble, but relative to the problems of others, my life is a bed of roses! I have a warm home, plenty of food, enough money to pay my bills and still buy books, and a wonderful daughter and granddaughter who love me dearly (and vice versa)!

          Mea culpa, Barry … I will try to keep that in mind. Let me start over … you are a good person with a good heart, Barry! I’m glad to have ‘met’ you!

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  2. I have my days, especially after encountering 3 or 4 stoopid people in a row, but I always try to be respectful, and when I realize I am not being respectful, I will always apologize. It costs nothing. So why do so many refuse to be nice? I wish I knew…

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    • Yeah, me too. But I try to remember not to take it out on others … although I have been known to flip a bird at some dude sporting a Trump sticker and confederate flag on his rear window!


      • That is the hardest part, when you are faced with stoopidity at every turn, and thinking is overcome by feeling. A backward step is necessary, but sometimes there is no room to step backwards. That is when you most need to have an interior warning system, or a good friend who will tell you the truth!

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        • True. Keith is, in my book, the gold standard for calm and reasonableness, and I do try … but I sometimes fail. I think that is the plight of humans … we sometimes fail, no matter how good our intentions.


  3. I was out shopping the other day (might have been Muenesday — the days run together), and was surprised about the friendliness and courtesy on display. Almost posted about it. My wife and I were masked, but we were a minority. Our guesses put the masked at about ten percent of the people in the stores. Yet all were exchanging jokes, opening and holding doors, telling others to go ahead of them. It astonished me, but I was pleased. I hope this wasn’t an outlier but the start of a new trend.

    Hugs and cheers, M

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    • I’m glad I’m not the only one for whom the days run together! I sometimes have to look at my phone or computer to figure out what day of the week it is! I’ve had similar experiences. Last time I was in a store, about 3 weeks ago, there were actually 5 or 6 other people wearing masks … far more than in September!!! And most people at least smiled and nodded, so I was pleased by that, although I did receive a few dirty looks for wearing a mask, I presume. Hugs ‘n cheers to you, Michael!!!

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  4. Pingback: Let’s Revive Common Courtesy! | Filosofa’s Word | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  5. I obtain great pleasure from seeing the smile on someone’s face when I open a door or them or give up my seat on a bus. I get no pleasure at all when I see ignorant people not saying thank you for a service received and often have to say it on their behalf loud enough for them to hear me. If their face goes red I know the barb hit home and so maybe next time…………… As Ellen says, it pleases both the giver and receiver

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  6. It appears that common courtesy along with common sense have become quite uncommon. That human beings need to be told or frequently reminded to practice common courtesy does not speak well of us. “Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much. It pleases him who gives and him who receives and thus, like mercy, is twice blessed.” – Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904), journalist and successful businessman. WHAK!! Thank-you!

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    • Exactly … I think the two — common sense and common courtesy — go hand in hand. In these divisive times, I’m usually stunned when I do see someone displaying common courtesy, and yet it does happen quite often. I find that it cheers me to be able to help someone, even in a small way like getting something down they cannot reach, or letting them go ahead of me in line. Just as Erastus Wiman said, it’s a win-win! WHAK!!!

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  7. Jill, you know how I feel about this topic. Civility and civil discourse are a must, in my view. Let me state my favorite quote that you know so well – kindness is not a weakness. Being a jerk does not make someone right, prescient or strong, it just means he or she is being a jerk. False bravado has two apt words to define what it is – a pretense to make people believe you are courageous. Keith

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