What ever happened to common courtesy?

Generally, when I walk into a building and see people behind me, I politely hold the door open for them to grab on their way in.

It has never occurred to me that this act of kindness could be seen as an inconvenience of any sort. It has always seemed to be a common courtesy.

Unfortunately, over the years, I have started to see that common courtesy may become a casualty of the past. I am not saying that people are becoming ruder, but, more so, a heightened level of apathy has developed in our society.

It seems that people have become so accustomed to these courtesies that they feel participating in them is an overall waste of effort. I can assure you that when somebody holds open a door for me, I do not find it cliche and I appreciate the effort.

I would like to think that the whole reason the English language has the phrase “thank you” is for verbal compensation for common courtesies.

There are plenty of other examples where people do things that do not match up with common courtesy. For instance, when somebody sneezes, oftentimes the people around them will remain silent and act as if nothing happened.

Honestly, for the life of me, I cannot find a valid argument why one person cannot simply say, “Bless you.”

The era of texting and cellphones has created a completely new problem. “If you’re talking to someone and they are on their phone at the same time, I always feel they aren’t really listening to me. It’s a big pet peeve of mine,” said Stephen Flask, a graduate student at Youngstown State University.

You would not take out your phone while talking in a job interview, so why should you when talking to anybody else?

People these days seem to live by the lifestyle of live and let live; their problems are their own and your problems are yours. With that logic, you are responsible for opening your own doors and blessing yourself when you sneeze.

This logic is not completely flawed because, in the end, we are responsible for ourselves. But, I think taking it as far to say that you should not hold open a door for the person behind you is a bit much.

You aren’t losing anything by helping out others, even if it is as trivial as holding open a door. That small act may just turn someone’s bad day into a good one.

Granted, that may be a bit of an optimistic outlook on the whole thing, but what’s wrong with keeping an optimistic attitude and doing the little things that could very well lead to an optimistic outcome?

Share this: