Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’ve seen your columns that mention your definition of civility, and courtesy is part of it.
I’m stunned at the lack of courtesy in people I meet or old friends who’ve decided there’s no longer a need to be courteous to me or anyone they’ve known for a while. It’s as if the fact that we’re long-time friends means it doesn’t matter anymore.
I’m in my forties, and I was taught that you don’t gossip (even with old friends, or maybe especially with old friends). My girlfriend of twenty-five years said I’m no fun. I said I don’t think its fun to judge people or make fun of our friends.
I also have another friend who never introduces herself or me and ignores people much of the time. It’s embarrassing.
What can I do?
Courtesy starts with a grateful heart and you have that.
Top ten tips to developing a courteous nature:
- Gratitude – It’s hard to have gratitude and not give it to others.
- Be sincere – Don’t fake courtesy. People who do this are expecting others to give it right back. It’s not about showing good manners and getting an expected response.
- Courtesy is never casual – Who decided that your closest friends or even your family members don’t deserve a “thank you”, an “excuse me”, or an “I’m sorry?” Those closest to you deserve your best – the most.
- Practice courtesy: Courtesy means being civil which means being caring and considerate. The dictionary also defines it as respectfulness, graciousness, thoughtfulness, refinement, tact, and having discretion.
- Don’t gossip – If you gossip, you can be sure to be talked about, also. When someone confides in you, they expect it to stay with you.
- Handle delicacies with discretion – If someone has lost another close to them, say something simple: “I’m so very sorry about the loss of your mom,” or “I’m sorry about your divorce” (don’t make a judgment about it).
- Don’t “humblebrag” – This is making a seemingly modest or self-deprecating statement with the actual intention of drawing attention to something of which you’re proud. It’s very passive-aggressive.
- Don’t be rude – practice table manners, bathroom manners, and just plain manners.
- Don’t talk more about yourself than the person you are with – Ask questions beginning with a who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Have love and forgiveness in your heart – Don’t find what’s wrong with others – find what’s right (It’s easier said than done).
All you can really do is be the example. No one is perfect at this or anything else. But we can all try.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri