I often think some people walk around with the mentality that “It’s my world, everyone else is just living in it.” It begs me to question whether courteousness exists anymore? Has it become as antiquated a custom as, say, chivalry? Is it really as in danger as my daily interaction with people suggests?
I’m the kind of person who holds the door for someone behind me and makes sure to thank the person who did the same at the door ahead. I try to keep my phone conversations at a whisper and to a minimum during my quiet commute to and from work — if I carry one at all. I don’t put my bags on the seat next to me on the train because I know it’s the morning rush and someone is going to want that seat. And when they do take that seat, I scoot over a little more to make sure that person has sufficient room. I throw my trash in trashcans. I cover my mouth when I sneeze or cough. I say excuse me when necessary, please when warranted and thank you when merited. All of these things take little to no effort so it’s a wonder to me why it’s so hard for some people to execute these general manners.
It really doesn’t take much effort to walk the extra twenty yards it will take for you to get to a trash can and throw that empty wrapper away. The street is not your personal dumpster. No one wants to walk around and feel like they’re frolicking in some landfill. We all share this space so let’s all respect it.
Please tone down the phone conversations when in public. Everyone within earshot, and sometimes beyond, shouldn’t know every intimate detail of your life nor do they care to know — though, I often question why it must be held at all. Seriously, unless it’s a life or death situation, I can’t think of one rational reason for a phone conversation during a quiet commute to last any more than five minutes. I also can’t figure out why you can’t put one on hold for the mere thirty seconds it will take for you to purchase an item at a register. Acknowledge the cashier, make eye contact, and eke out a smile. It won’t hurt. I promise. It may even feel good.
If someone is courteous enough to hold the door for you, thank them. Their life’s purpose isn’t to stand there and hold doors for strangers. People don’t exist on this earth just to please your needs. And even if they did, a simple thank you would still be, well, nice.
I’m not a saint nor am I claiming to be one but I know how good it feels when someone is being courteous to me and how disappointing it feels when they’re not. I don’t expect much from people, and I’m not suggesting we should always go above and beyond for strangers. All I’m saying is if you happen to catch someone’s eye today, give her or him a smile. Say hello. Wish them a nice day. A little common courtesy can really go a long way.