The Importance of Having Courtesy

· December 20, 2016
Courtesy has many benefits. Not only does it resonate in others, but it also does us good. On an emotional level, it helps us to be in harmony with those around us.

Courtesy has many benefits. Not only does it resonate with others, but it also does us good. On an emotional level, it helps us to be in harmony with those around us.

Above all, courtesy is a personal value. From the time we are children, others teach us the basics of courtesy and living together.

For these to be effective and useful, it is important for us to always be thinking about these rules. That way we can be authentic when we use them.

Being courteous requires will.

Courtesy is synonymous with likability and recognition towards someone else. It is a universal form of respect. We need to be courteous to be able to enjoy the best relationships with others.

In this article, we will take a look at what courtesy is and how you can use this indispensable quality.

Courtesy, a way to give off positive energy

Something we have all noticed is the power of small gestures from day to day. From “how are you?“ to “thank you” and “take care”, small actions and words connect us to one another.

Also, keep in mind that none of this is possible if you aren’t intentional. To give respect, you need to be close and have a clear goal. You also need to know what needs others have.

We invite you to reflect on this topic by looking at some concrete ideas.

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Why are there people that lack courtesy?

Courtesy means more than the good manners we learn as children. It goes beyond holding the door, giving thanks, giving your seat to someone, or even listening before you speak…

We could say that this dimension is not practiced by everyone. Above all, it’s a personal value.


  • Those who aren’t courteous don’t empathize with others. It’s common for them to put themselves first. They have a proud or defiant attitude.

  • Courtesy is a strategy that allows us to adapt to our environment. Those who lack manners hope that others will change for them.

Dr. Pier Massimo Forni is a doctor and professor at John Hopkins University.

Out of all of his social behavior work, his book “Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct” stands out.

According to Dr. Forni, a lack of courtesy can result from distinct types of social aggression. Also, some cases may stem from emotional maturity or psychological problems.

Kinds of courtesy

An interesting observation is that there are different kinds of courtesy. They are even observable. Stephen Levinson is a scientist who specializes in social relationships. He distinguished two kinds of courtesy that we can see.

  • Negative courtesy: This is related to the language we use. It primarily uses negative sentence structures. Some examples include: “if you don’t mind…” or “if it doesn’t bother you, I’m going to…”

  • Positive courtesy: This is primarily related to trying to create a positive relationship with everyone around us.

Positive courtesy goes deeper than this simple difference. It involves language, gestures, and acts. This is because we want to give the best of ourselves to others.

Because of this, we feel good about ourselves. It’s who we are. Also, there are no hidden agendas.

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Courtesy and friendly people

Surely you have been surprised by someone’s kindness. Perhaps you met a stranger who treated you just like a friend, freely offering you help.

  • At first, we feel surprised. We feel that this kind of behavior isn’t normal. Maybe this person is looking for something in exchange.

  • However, it is normal. Friendly people who are emotionally open do exist. And they make the world a better place.

These are some easy steps to take. They will help us to be authentic and kind people.

  • Use respectful language. This is especially important where you see emotional openness. Some phrases that you can use are “I understand” or “I hear you.”

  • Show a real interest. Being concerned for someone is good. This is especially true if there is something we can do to lighten their mood or better their situation.

  • Act with sincerity. Sometimes, people can be condescending because they use a false courtesy. Some examples include saying “thanks”, “how are you?”, or asking about other things purely out of obligation. Without real interest, these things fall flat.

  • We need to remember, people always see falsehood. And they always take note of it.

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To offer courtesy, respect, and recognition to others, we need to be emotionally healthy ourselves. It is very difficult to offer empathy and optimism when we feel something like resentment.

Even though we aren’t the same emotionally from day to day, we can work at it. We can try to maintain a personal and emotional balance. Only when we are doing well can we offer the best of ourselves to others.

This is our positive energy.