Common courtesy: The SHORT ANSWER
Common courtesy is a little something that makes living among other humans so wonderful. When you feel that the world has been so cruel and it leaves you questioning the existence of humanity that is exactly when someone unsuspecting holds the door open for you and tells you to have a great day!
It’s those beautiful, heartwarming moments that cling to you until it happens again.
But, if you were to google “common courtesy”, you would find a more cynical and depressing world. After sifting through the dictionary sites, you come across opinionated articles to which they ask “Where has common courtesy gone?” or “The lost art of common courtesy…“.
Is that it then about Common Courtesies?
Summing up humans in a few short titles, it looks like many of us don’t think people are kind anymore. The idea of common courtesy is gone and it has been replaced with cold shoulders and angry looks.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case, you can be the person who holds the door open and reminds others that common courtesy is here to stay. It need not be difficult, or impossible and the rewards are smiles and thank you’s.
From Merriam Webster dictionary, common courtesy is defined:
But to conclude the short answer, common courtesy is about making the world a better place with one little seemingly insignificant gesture at a time.
Kindness goes a long way to making others happier and it easily spreads.
If people are genuinely wondering what the answer is to world peace, it truly begins with something as tiny as smiling at a stranger.
Maybe it is even just helping a mother out after her exhausted screaming toddler drops his favorite blankie on the ground and picks it up without judgment but empathy.
Life is already hard, we should be helping each other out as best as we can.
Common courtesy is not just about doing something, it’s also about thinking and feeling too.
Being there for a friend who lost their job…. common courtesy.
Holding the elevator door when you see someone rushing in… common courtesy.
Just being there for your grandmother sitting quietly after she found out she has terminal cancer… common courtesy.
Being as passionate about bugs as your child is when he excitedly picks one up to show you!…. common courtesy.
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This is exactly what living elegantly is all about, just common courtesy over and over again. This little paperback talks about the common courtesy slowly disappearing, but is it?
Where people feel connected, loved, and know that the world is not some harsh place where it chews you up and spits you out. Instead, it’s a place full of people who are there to help each other out. Whether you know them or not.
Common courtesy is NEEDED in the world and what makes it worse is that everyone thinks it’s gone.
Common courtesy is everywhere – explained!
If you are saying that it is lacking you might be looking in all the wrong places.
Next time you are out, you might find a few people who are bitter but that just means that maybe someone needs to show them. People usually put on a front or be rude because they’ve been hurt.
The best way to do this is just to live with common courtesy as a way of life and learn how to deal with rude people.
It has changed a bit, maybe more people are being less trusting of strangers. I suppose that is just how life goes and it would be terribly naive to ignore that fact, but you can still display huge amounts of courtesy towards others if you realize that common courtesy can be given anywhere at any time.
Is there a lack of common courtesy?
If you were to look at each individual person at any moment, you might think that people are just terrible and that there is no more common courtesy or even common decency left. You might think elegance is dead.
But you would be sadly mistaken.
The same question can be refrained into asking are people nice anymore?
And clearly, the answer is yes, but like mentioned before if you feel that it is nonexistent, you might be looking in all the wrong places. Humans have a huge desire to be helpful and long for that connection.
One way to get that feeling is to be there for others. Why do you think that we have so many people helping out others that are more vulnerable? With this whole situation that the world has gone through, it has shone lights on all the people who can be called heroes by some.
Common courtesy is not lacking, but what is, is the fact that it happens.
What gets the news is the negative and sad things in life. The hurt and the dying.
Instead, no one is shining the lights on the people who go out and seek people to help. The people who give food to the hungry, the company to the isolated or lonely. No one writes news stories on the mothers who hold their daughters after hurtful breakups or employees helping out their customers to their cars.
It goes unnoticed how utterly complete strangers will pick up their dropped money in the street or when a baby waves the onlooker waves back and flashes a big smile knowing that one day this little one will do the same to another baby.
Life is about a circle that goes and never stops and to say that common courtesy is dead is just plain wrong.
Perhaps they are cynical, perhaps I am a naive optimist, but what I do know for sure is that people want to help others, and by writing about how to mean the world does no good, but actually more harm.
You might be trying to understand where elegant living fits into common courtesy and the lack of. Why does it matter, being elegant is about only making yourself better and looking your best.
Sure, that’s part of it.
But the main chunk, the big point of living elegantly is about others and making the world a better place.
Common courtesy is one of the easiest and fastest ways to do this! To master your elegance is to make someone else smile and feel like they belong. Common courtesy is just a way of life for an elegant woman and the idea of it lacking is just not true.
If you sincerely want to live your life as an elegant woman, then you need to be serious about how important common courtesy is for those around you. It can change the outcome of so much. If you don’t believe me, just think of when you were most vulnerable. When you needed someone to lend a helping hand, and now imagine if someone would have been there to help you out how that could have changed. Be that person for someone else.
How to show common courtesy?
So if it isn’t lacking, and people need to see more of it, then how do you do this? How do you show common courtesy?
There really is no wrong way to show common courtesy, as long as you are being a kind and wonderful person you have nothing to worry about. Living an elegant life is so intertwined with common courtesy that it is hard to have one exist without the other.
The beauty of that is that you don’t need to worry if you are doing enough or if that you have been showing common courtesy because odds are you are the living example that everyone wants to see.
You can show common courtesy by just being nice and helping out whenever you see fit, you don’t need to start the day trying to map out where you will be good because the possibilities are everywhere. You can show common courtesy by just simply saying hello to someone and acknowledging them in a friendly manner.
Common courtesy shouldn’t be difficult, but shouldn’t be overlooked. If you have a feeling where you think that your smile doesn’t matter, then you know you are wrong.
Is common courtesy really dying out?
If you google the term “common courtesy”, you will see a few definitions and also a few opinionated pieces. Mostly they are referring to how good ol’ common courtesy is fading away from society as if it’s late for a meeting.
But the question is, is it really?
Sure, people seem to be rushing from one activity to another without regards to other people’s feelings. And yes, people seem to be more or less angrier or even generally less friendly then they used to be. But is this elusive time, where people were friendly, really real?
Yes, people were nicer. There wasn’t as much distraction and people did move slower therefore meaning there was more time to sit and chat with strangers. People found that small talk was not only a normal daily activity, but it also could have been considered a sport among the elders.
You know what humans are really good at doing?
Human beings are great at remembering things, that really didn’t happen or if they did, it wasn’t exactly as they remember. It happens all the time, even you do it. When you think back to the “happier time” it was always when you were younger and if you were to relive it, you would find that it really wasn’t as amazing as you remember it.
This is not to say that people were nicer, because they were, by like mentioned earlier, they had more time. There was more emphasis on helping others with little actions then now, but what needs to be mentioned and where it was never talked about in the other sites is that common courtesy (like everything else), evolves to mean new things.
What is the difference between courtesy and respect?
The two of them might be used interchangeably, but to be honest they do mean very different things.
Let’s take a closer look here…
The two are very closely related, but they can really be telling with the kind of person you are.
An elegant woman doesn’t matter who you are or what you are but what does matter is that you treat them all the same. Regardless of age or gender or social status, you do it because it is just the right thing to do.
They both are very important and should never be overlooked because it helps the world become a better place. But respect is usually a bit different since the person that demands your respect has either done something to gain it or is just a person of an advantage or a head. But when it comes to this case as being an elegant person it doesn’t matter.
Regardless if the person has done anything to gain your respect, or the contrary, if they have done something to lose respect you cannot let the change the way you feel about them. It cannot change the fact that you need to treat them properly and with all the love and kindness.
*IMPORTANT NOTE*: This is not about getting stepped on or taken advantage of but just being a good person and expressing love.
Elegance is not about how people see you, it is must less selfish but more about how you treat the world and how others feel about it, how you make others feel and what their place is in the world. It is about making others know that they have at least someone who will listen to them.
You will be the person that everyone will want to come to. It might not happen at once or even now, but it will happen eventually and others will see that you make them feel wonderful and the word will spread. Not only will the word spread but the feeling that you give others will and then others will also spread that feeling.
The question of what the difference is irrelevant to elegance, it should also be irrelevant to you as well because what matters most is that you do your best to every single person regardless of what they have done and who they are.
How do we show respect?
Just as we are to show common courtesy to one another, it is important to also show respect. It is quite easy to show respect, but then that begs the question to why does it not happen more often?
The answer is simple really, it is that in this world of isolation, over independence and entitlement, it is about the ultimate question, “What’s in it for me?”
Sad, I know, but that is the truth. Many people would rather not do anything if there is little reward. It has been ingrained in our culture for a while, and that is now catching up to us and we are all paying the price.
How do we show respect?
It starts with the Golden Rule, and moves to how to make other people around you more happy and make their life easier. It is about seeking what YOU can do for others even if there is nothing in it for you at the end. Respect is funny because now it is thought that you need to almost GAIN or EARN the respect of others, but before you had it if you out ranked other people. Even if that means that you were a bit older, you automatically gained the respect.
That needs to be brought back, not to be abused or taken advantage of, but to show that others deserve our respect.
Show others respect by showing that you care, that you acknowledge their presence. Start there.
List some common courtesies
Many times when we are going through some hard times, we are scared to be alone but at the same time, we don’t want to be scolded or told what to do.
We just want to be with someone that even if they don’t understand they understand that they want company. The power of your existence around them can be huge and this simple gesture will never be forgotten.
This one is often overlooked as not as important. When someone has a funeral everyone is quick to jump to buy the flowers, spend money, cook them food, make something elaborate just to show “look at me and what I did!” when really, the most needed thing is to not be left alone.
Be there for your friends, your families the strangers you see. Allow yourself to be available and maybe not today, or tomorrow, but sooner or later you will see a moment where you are at the right place at the right time and that someone is in dire need of someone to just be there.
Not to tell them that life will be okay, it will get better, or that they made mistakes. No, this common courtesy is about just allowing your shoulder to be there for a cry or a hand to hold in need or if necessary the embrace.
Be there for strangers, the ones that just can’t seem to figure out what to do next and the last thing they need is someone telling them something else. Especially the unwarranted advice is never from a professional but someone who really has no business doing so.
Show the common courtesy as one that is there for moral support. The one that even if they made a mistake, it is not your place to judge or to “fix”.
This common courtesy is just to be there. Sit through the heavy emotion, the sad, happy, frustrated or whatever it is. You are there for others. That is one of the strongest common courtesies you could ever show.
This one seems to be so simple it doesn’t make sense reading. However, it happens so many times throughout the day. You say hello and how often do people actually say hi back?
This doesn’t just matter though with verbal conversations, it could be a smile or a wave. The main issue is that you should try your hardest to respond to everyone.
Remember the very important fact of being an elegant woman, that it is the simple act of acknowledging that other people exist and that you’re happy to be there with them. If you’re unsure of what to do to respond, the easiest and most effective is a genuine smile. Always exude elegance!
Perhaps you have that one email that needs to be answered or that invitation that you keep forgetting to send back the R.S.V.P. or to call back your mother but you just keep putting it off.
This is also detrimental to your elegance because it is saying (without saying it) that you’re not as important as i am, which even you might not think that consciously, subconsciously your actions are saying that.
Respecting other’s spaces
It can be easy to forget that other people can hear you, especially when you’re having a good time with someone. You laugh hysterically or respond in a louder voice because of your excitement. Most of the time it is done because of an honest good time, but other times it can be because you’re trying to draw in attention.
Regardless of the reason, it is a good skill to be able to refrain from being too loud or too big with your movements when you are near other people who aren’t included in your conversation.
Respect that other people don’t and should not be subjected to listen to your story. If you are out in a park and you are walking around with your friend, the other people went to the park to relax or be with family and they don’t necessarily want to hear the juicy details of last weekend.
It’s easy to get carried away, and if it happens, it’s okay. But keep in mind that common courtesy is not just please’s and thank you’s and holding doors open, but it is also respecting that other people want and have to co-exist with you. Being the most elegant woman you can mean not having other people hear things that they simply don’t want to. Plus, it helps keep your mysterious aura when they can’t hear you talk about how you drank too much!
Be kind – in any way you feel comfortable
Being kind is written everywhere!
I really don’t think many people are disagreeing with this, but what I do see is that people are sometimes uncomfortable with what is suggested or even expected. This is what can put a dampener on how people will react.
Be kind every day.
But do something that you feel most comfortable with. Perhaps you don’t want to visit someone, but that you don’t mind sending them food from a local restaurant. Or maybe you don’t want to spend money and home baking some cookies will hit the spot perfectly.
Not everyone will be the same and that is good, but never let the reason you are shy, outgoing, quiet, shortage of time or money be an excuse as to why you can’t do something kind for others.
And if all else fails, remember that a genuine smile can do wonders!
Your family counts as well!
It’s true that most people are polite to strangers, treat others they see throughout their day with the utmost respect and admiration but once they are home they are left with an empty shell of a nice woman. How incredibly unfair! But it happens to all of us.
One word, love.
You love your family so much that you know deep down if you respond quickly or with a little attitude, they will be easy to forgive and move on. It happens to everyone. Although it’s true that most of the time your family will not take it personally and love you just the same, what is it that you are teaching your family? Especially the children?
It’s important to stop leaving our families with the little energy we have and dedicate some beauty and patience to them.
Common courtesy must also be extended to your family, even if you’ve had a hard day, regardless of how your children never listen or your husband doesn’t want to cook and you’re stuck with dinner even though you had to work late. By showing common courtesy, (and not nagging!) you will see a shift happen at home and it will spread throughout your children and husband.
When mamma does a certain thing or feels a certain way, she has the ability to transfer that feeling to the rest of the family. Just like that cliche, “If mamma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.”
Besides the terrible grammar, it makes complete sense and it shouldn’t be ignored the amount of power you as an elegant woman has.
Common courtesies today (following the virus)
Yes, this year has really changed our life from how we interact with others to how we respond to people we know. Sadly, that means if common courtesies were rare, now they are even thought of as problematic. People will not do anything that might get them too close to someone.
While that is understandable, it cannot be denied that it seems that it could get us into trouble in the future. But what cannot be forgotten is that the most important part is to be kind to one another in every situation. Something small here can seem like a big deal.
This is a stressful time for everyone, regardless of the virus has touched you or someone you know personally. Tensions are running high and it is your job as an elegant woman to make sure that everyone around you feels as comfortable as possible.
Being elegant today is not just about looking a certain way, it is about respecting boundaries that others have put up. It is wearing the face masks if it is asked, or standing further and waiting your turn. It can even look like you might be having to wait longer in lines before heading into your local grocery store. But, because you are a graceful and elegant woman, you will be doing this with joy and pleasure.
Since your time is no more valuable than anyone else’s, your patience has increased and this will help relieve any tension or anger that others will have because it is not going their way at the time.
You set the expectations around you, you are being watched and you have an audience. Being elegant and poised in this kind of world is so important to show to others how beneficial living elegantly will lead you.
Common decency- to conclude
Common courtesy is a beautiful way to gesture to others that they matter.
Never feel that there is no need because there is a lack because there really isn’t! Sure, they may have changed a bit, but in reality, common courtesy is still alive and well!
Always embrace your elegance and try to include a common decency act every single day!
Make the world a better place!
Other wonderful posts about Etiquette Classes
Conversation Starts To Make You Confident
How to Properly React to Nosy People
Saturday 25th of July 2020
Thank you for this important and helpful lesson. I plan to incorporate many of your suggestions. You are correct, elegant living at its best begins with common decency.
Sunday 26th of July 2020
Thank you so much Kamila for your wonderful comment :) I hope you enjoy the rest of your day
Saturday 27th of June 2020
Common courtesy can be dead sometimes, but I try not to let me get me down though. Great read I feel like I could always do better!
Sunday 28th of June 2020
Never allow others to let you down, try to see the beauty in everything. Common decency is everywhere, people are wonderful. Common courtesy is not lacking. Keep up the good thoughts :)
Saturday 27th of June 2020
When you think of common courtesy, you do think that it might be lacking, but you're right! It's everywhere and I hope to continue and be better at my common courtesy, thankyou so much for this
Sunday 28th of June 2020
Thank you so much Tiffany! At times, common courtesy can seem like it is lacking -- but in reality, you just need to look deeper and find it. People are amazing, but if we choose to always look towards the negativity, then that is all we will find.