How to Human 101: Common Courtesy

Child holding thank you sign
In a community, being human entails more than the basic functions of breathing, eating, and sleeping. Successful coexistence requires basic common courtesy. Common Courtesy Day, celebrated every March 21st, is a reminder that how we treat others is telling about our character and moral makeup, paving the way for us to either be accepted or rejected by our peers.

Cultural Bridges

Perhaps the most verbal form of universal courtesy is "Please" and "Thank You." But courteous words are not the only type of politeness we should be concerned with. Maintaining hygiene standards, respecting elders, and not making inappropriate gestures are also important. Following a universal code of courtesy helps create tight-knit groups and other beneficial relationships which can help us cross over cultural divides.

The Merry-Go-Round Effect

Whether we like it or not, people make judgments based on what they see and hear and will treat people accordingly. Ever hear the saying, "What comes around goes around,"? Being kind and respectful to everyone you meet is essential. Bonus: Statistically, kind and respectful people tend to have more positive relationships in their lives.

How to participate?

  1.  Assess yourself. Do I practice common courtesies with everyone I meet?
  2.  Say please, thank you, and sorry when appropriate.
  3.  Be grateful to those who do good things for you.
  4.  Hold the door open for someone.
  5.  Give up your seat on the bus to someone in need.
  6.  Introduce yourself to the new hire or new student at school then introduce them   to your co-workers/friends.
  7.  Let people get in front of you in traffic. Road Rage is definitely not courteous!

Remember, common courtesy isn't something that your grandparents did. Basic common courtesy will help you be a happier more fulfilled individual and will lead to a stronger more functional society. Being courteous will pay you back in the end-- Karma may even hold the door of opportunity open for you.

Contributed by Angelica Mecham