What Happened to Common Courtesy?

Photo Credit:  yorkblog.com

Photo Credit: yorkblog.com

Maybe I’m too old-fashioned,well-rounded, and open-minded. Maybe I care about what other people think more than most.  Maybe I’m in the minority, but what ever happened to common courtesy?

It used to be everywhere around me, in some places more than others.  I’ve lived in multiple states and grew up around plenty of different lifestyles and cultures, but most of my childhood resided in Torrington, Wyoming.  This is a place where everybody either looked after each other or rebelled with one another.  Sugary-sweet church ladies lived behind the block where cops busted a mom of one of my friends for embezzlement, possession, and drugs.

If I had stayed, my only choices as a resident were to be either “super nice and kind and helpful to everybody all the time, y’all” or to care only about myself and the rush of whatever bad thing I could have done, no matter who I hurt in the process.  Luckily I left when I did.  Most friends and acquaintances that have been straight left as well and haven’t returned.  Some who stayed, were not so fortunate.

Why am I bashing Wyoming?  I’m not bashing anything or anyone, other than the polar opposite ways those around me were raised.  Us four Normans were transplants who ended up living there for about five years.  We had a different way of treating others in comparison to those who were born and raised with Wyoming standards, yet we had a lot in common with those church ladies more than the thugs.  We practiced mutual respect.

“Treat others as you’d want to be treated” was always common courtesy.  We wanted to be treated nicely so we were nice, even when we didn’t want to be.  Human decency was and still is a priority in who I was and who I am today based on all the places I’ve lived, including Wyoming.

Before you bring gender into this, I’m not focusing on the stereotypical chivalry type of courtesy.  I’m talking about checking up on an elderly neighbor without being asked, using “please” and “thank you” as often as possible, holding in your cranky-morning-person attitude for the barista who’s just doing their job, etc., etc.  Men and women used to be polar opposites, sure.  However, gender roles and societal shifts have blurred the lines to where men are not tough providers just as women are not dainty man-pleasers anymore.  I’m all for equality, only if the courtesy for differences remain out of respect for all humanity.

Am I sounding negative?  Am I jaded by the big-city mentality I’ve gained after leaving 0-to-60 territory?  Or are we now more selfish than ever, no matter where we live?  We don’t realize how simple little things that used to be second nature are being ignored out of unnecessarily inflated risks.  There are bad people everywhere, right?  Don’t go out alone at night, always lock your doors, report lone weirdos at playgrounds, leave your sexy clothes at home so you don’t get raped, these go ON AND ON.  And what about technology separating us from reality?  Are you too mesmerized by something on your phone’s screen to notice those around you, or are you trying to hide from the world so you don’t have to interact with it in any way, good or bad?

We’re all missing out on all the goodness in the world when we think only for ourselves.  It all starts with us, seeing ourselves in others, and keeping our positive spirits up.  What would happen if you sent flowers to your wife just because you want her to know you’re thinking of her?  Or gave up your seat on the bus to someone with a bunch of heavy bags who could use a load off?  Or took the stairs so the family of four can fit in the crowded elevator together?  Make it a point to practice common courtesy / human decency / whatever you want to call it before it’s too late.

About Mandy Norman

Mandy is a content manager and designer by day, and crafter/hobby writer/thinker by night. Her relationship with her cat, giraffes, music, and caffeine are borderline unhealthy, but nothing stops her from speaking her mind and “making things look pretty.” She mans two blogs in her spare time, whatmandythinks and whatmandyloves. See All of Mandy's Posts

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