Happy National Common Courtesy Day! Every day is a great day to find ways to be courteous, but it seems like now is a better time than ever. It’s easy to slip into protection mode and put up defenses, but there are many ways be can be kind to others. All it takes is a little thought. In other words, be CONSCIOUSLY COURTEOUS AND KIND.
I’ve come up with some ways to give the gift of courtesy and kindness to others, and I’d love to hear any ideas you have also!
For the love of all things good, take a step back when driving. Let someone in when they’re trying to merge, even if you think they’ve been a complete jerk. Just let them in and smile. Is it really going to hurt you to do so? I know people are idiots out there sometimes (a lot of the time). Be consciously courteous while driving.
THE PARKING SPOT
We’ve all been there. Two cars approach a parking spot at the same time. They both put their blinkers on. OMG who should get the spot? If you’re relatively healthy and don’t mind walking, give them the spot and park out a little farther. Enjoy the walk and the fact that you did something a little bit nice for someone else.
It’s almost habit for many people to look away from others, as if there is this introverted part of us wants to take control. But force yourself to smile, even when you don’t feel like it. You make them feel better. You feel better. It’s unbelievable how much better a smile can make you feel. There are studies that our facial muscles tell our brains how to feel, not the other way around, and that smiling can make us feel better. Give it a try and brighten someone’s day.
As you’re out for a walk (or at a store or wherever), greet people. You don’t have to get close. You don’t have to shake hands. But a “Hi, how are you?” with a smile can really brighten someone’s day. We are social creatures, and even these small social interactions can help our psyche.
Think through your friends right now. Who do you think may need their day brightened just a little bit? Okay, once you’ve figured it out, send them a quick text. “Just thinking of you.” It’s doesn’t have to be anything deep or drawn out. Just a short note to show you care.
THE PHONE CALL
Want to go one step beyond the text? Pick up the phone and actually call someone. Maybe it’s a family member you’ve been putting off talking to for a while. Maybe it’s a friend who’s kids don’t live close. Now is a better time than ever to call people and stay connected. (On a side note, if it happens to be a person you think you’ll end up in a screaming match with, perhaps choose a different person to call. This is supposed to help, not hurt.)
Got a neighbor who maybe doesn’t get around as well as you? There are so many ways to be courteous and kind to them. Offer to walk their dog. Or clean their cat litter box. Or check their mail. Or fill up their gas tank. Or pick up groceries for them. It can be a small favor or a big favor, but checking in on people and helping where you can will make you feel amazing.
Maybe you don’t want to run out to the store, but you can still order someone a gift and have it delivered. It can be small or big, but whatever it is, make it thoughtful. Think about who you are buying for, and then buy them something they love!