By Chris Croll
Doesn’t it seem the world has become a lot less courteous lately? Drivers, customers, pedestrians and others around us seem so self-consumed and crazy-busy that they sometimes forget to do unto others as they would have done unto them.
Here are 10 reminders of behaviors once considered “common courtesy” that are becoming less and less common. Let’s each take a pledge to do our part to raise the collective “CQ” (Courtesy Quotient) of our community.
I hereby pledge to…
1.Be on time. Sometimes we can’t help running a few minutes late but there seems to be a trend away from valuing punctuality these days. Late is rude. Be on time or call to let the office or person who is expecting you know that you are held up.
2.Attend. Once you are in the presence of another human being, give them your full attention. Stow the phone, ignore the flashing iWatch and tune in mentally to the conversation. Human connection is so important for good health—let’s remember to value the time someone gives us.
3. RSVP.Many Northern Virginians are blasé about letting hosts know whether or not they will attend events. Sometimes people RSVP the day of an event in the affirmative, which can really throw off seating and dining arrangements. If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to something, kindly RSVP on time.
4.Give others the right of way. If your shopping cart meets another at the end of an aisle, graciously let the other person go first. If someone is trying to merge onto the road, slow down and let them get in front of you. The few seconds it takes for us to be courteous pays back in spades as the goodwill is paid forward to others.
5. Say “thank you.” Handwritten thank you notes may be a thing of the past (sorry, Grandma) but let’s at least remember to thank the cashier, bus driver, bank teller and others with whom we interact on a daily basis for their service.
6. Exercise grace when others make mistakes. When someone screws up, even if it annoys or inconveniences us, let’s try to show the person grace and forgiveness. None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes – every day.
7. Admit my own mistakes. If you make an error, say you’re sorry. Owning mistakes is not only respectful to the people impacted, it’s an indication of the strength of one’s character.
8. Throw around compliments like they are free. Actually, they are free so let’s sprinkle them around liberally. If you think something positive about someone, say it out loud. A simple compliment could lift the spirits of someone in ways we can’t possibly imagine.
9.Not be so self-critical. While we’re showing respect for others, let’s make sure we also respect ourselves. None of us is perfect. In fact, we are all highly flawed. We need to give ourselves a break. Being true to ourselves sometimes makes us unpopular and that’s OK.
10. Disagree respectfully.The proliferation of social media has resulted in a level of animosity that would likely never take place among the same people if they were standing in a room together. It’s okay to disagree with others but let’s remember to do so in a way that isn’t nasty or harmful.
I need these reminders just as much as others do. We all get so busy, we sometimes prioritize getting things done over The Golden Rule. Our amazing community works best when everyone is looking out for everyone else. Let’s take this pledge together and see if we can raise Loudoun’s CQ. Not only can we make life more pleasant for one another, but we can set a good example for our children who are, like the character Roz from the movie Monster’s Inc., always watching.
Chris Croll is a parenting consultant specializing in educating and raising gifted and twice-exceptional children. She leads the National Center for Gifted Services and the nonprofit Loudoun County Parents of Gifted Students, and is a member of the Loudoun County School Board.