One of the things I remember most about my school days were that we addressed teachers by Mrs. Miss or Mr. (Ms. wasn’t used much then). The adults in our surrounding were also addressed in the same manner.

Saying please and thank you was second nature to us and it was always expected, no matter who was saying it. And holding the door open for someone else was common practice.

Today is National Courtesy day, a day to help us remember that how we treat others is more a reflection of our character and values.

Here’s the thing: what we see as being courteous in our home, our community or our work environment may not be seen as the same for other groups. Courtesy is culture dependent.

Having said this, there are some basic and universal courtesies that are considered common around the world:

  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Proper hygiene
  • Respecting elders
  • Avoiding offensive gestures

Why Being Courteous Matters

I’m sure you’ve been around some rude, obnoxious person, someone who will push you just to be in front of you in a line, someone who doesn’t say thank you or please whenever you do something for them.

How does that make you feel? Not very appreciated and most probably not respected. People judge us by the behavior we practice both in public and in private. This also means that people will hang around those they feel most comfortable with, along as being respected and valued. Courteous people tend to be surrounded by other courteous beings. It’s worth it.

Since today is Common Courtesy Day, let’s take a moment to become more aware and mindful of our interaction with others and extent some extra courtesy to those that might challenge us a bit more. When someone is being courteous to you, let them know. Acknowledge and reinforce the positive behavior.

Ways to be courteous

Be courteous is some examples of how you can show courtesy towards others.

  • Everyone benefits.
  • See something on the floor? Why not pick it up.
  • Offer the last piece of candy or cookie to the other.
  • Open the door and let the other pass in front of you.
  • Acknowledge people you meet with a warm “Hello.”
  • Use “Please” and “Thank You” when asking or receiving something.
  • Avoid talking over someone else. Let others have a say.
  • If you see someone who looks lonely, take a moment to talk with them.
  • Driving? Give someone a chance to go in front of you.
  • Don’t wait to be told to take out the trash, fold your clothes or put the table on.
  • Put your dishes in the dishwasher. You’ll be surprised at the impact this will have.
  • If you make a mess, clean up after yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.
  • You love music? Great! Use your headset when in public places so that others won’t have to listen to it.
  • If you finished the pot of coffee, make a fresh one so others may enjoy it too.
  • Give up your seat to elders, pregnant women, or anyone in need of sitting down.
  • On your phone? Talk in a way that you’re not including everyone around you in the conversation.
  • Don’t talk or text during a movie in the theater or at concerts.
  • Don’t take up all the space when sitting on the bus, the train or on a plane. Share the space with others.
  • Be mindful of the perfume or cologne you wear. A little will go a long way.
  • If you borrowed something, return that item in it’s original (or better) condition than you received it.
  • Make promises sparingly and keep those you make.
  • Ask someone if they need help when crossing the street, putting on their coat or getting up from their seat.

What other  behaviors and acts of courtesy to you do? What would you like to see more of happening in your world?

Let me know below and I’ll be sure to respond and be appreciative.


Are you in need of some Self-Care and Support? Check out my FREE Ebook on Self-Care For Stepmoms. Simply fill in your name and email and I’ll send it to you right away.


Claudette Chenevert The Stepmom Coach

Claudette Chenevert  works with stepmoms struggling to create a cohesive family. As a Master Stepfamily coach, she provides education, support and tools enabling families to achieve their goals within a specific time frame,  often surpassing expectations. She helps you find what works best in your situation so that you will be able to create the kind of family you truly want. For more information about her programs and services, go to


    • StepmomCoach

      Sometimes, little reminders like these can help make a difference. Just today, when my husband helped with getting lunch on the table, I looked at him and said “Thank you. I really appreciate it when you chip in.” And then I smiled.
      Just made the rest of our day nicer.

  1. Tamuria

    Wouldn’t the world be an even more amazing place if everyone treated others with basic courtesy? It often feels like manners are a thing of the past. (I know how old that makes me sound). 🙂 It’s great you pointed out that courtesy means different things in different cultures. It’s important to consider this before allowing ourselves to be hurt or angry when someone behaves in a way we think of as rude.

    • StepmomCoach

      I think we need to remember that although we are all human beings on this planet, we also have different perspectives and ways to acknowledge and address each other. I remember when I went to Japan for a conference, as a woman, we were taught how to address Japanese men and women, when to talk about work and when to engage in fun activities. I learned a lot about courtesy in different cultures.

  2. Sharona ES

    One of the things that being courteous, it shows respect. For instance, when you are supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, be there at that time, not show up 45 minutes late…Respect!!!

    • StepmomCoach

      Being on time is one of Bernard’s biggest issue. He’s upbringing was such that being late meant you disrespected the other person. It was a habit that I learned early on once in our relationship.

  3. Leona Martin

    I taught my kids that no matter if someone is being disrespectful to you, don’t do it back. Use the ‘please’, hold the door open for others, let others go ahead of you, and yes ‘thank you’. I feel when we show respect others feel good, will do it back themselves and more.

    It makes things much more happier and easier. Pleasing.

    • StepmomCoach

      Great points Leona. I think that as parents, it’s our responsibility to show our kids how to be courteous and it starts with us being courteous with others. Simple words make a big difference in how people see you.

  4. Jennifer Quisenberry

    It certainly seems that being polite is sadly a lost art form. I grew up going to cotillion where polishing my manners was simply part of what one did when growing up. I guess that dates me a bit. People really notice when you’re polite. It’s best to be polite and kind.

    • StepmomCoach

      I had only read about cotillions in books. It’s a big thing I believe in the South. My granddaughter who lives near Leesburg told me about what they teach. I thought there were lots of valuable lessons to be learned from this tradition. We sometimes let time honored traditions go because we think it’s old fashion until we realize that those same traditions also kept us civilized.

  5. Candess M. Campbell

    I love this! This is exactly what we need today. Most of the adults I witness don’t have these basic rules down. Let’s model for our children and learn to own our own behavior and say we are sorry when we miss the mark!

    • StepmomCoach

      Being positive role models is a great place to start to help our younger (and older) generation towards a path of empathy and courtesy.

  6. Tandy Elisala

    Oh my goodness, Claudette. Courtesy should be common sense. Common sense isn’t always common practice. I love that there is a National Courtesy Day. I love your list of benefits from being courteous and your examples in action. I raised my kids to be courteous people. It’s amazing to me how many times when we are out and about I hear people saying thank you for being courteous. They go on to say how too often people are rude or don’t take time to demonstrate good manners. It’s sad. If we were all more courteous, the world would be a better place!

    • StepmomCoach

      I was just going to say common sense isn’t common but you beat me to it. I have so many stepmoms come to me and complain about the fact that their stepkids don’t even acknowledge them with a hello and good bye. My son went through a period where he didn’t even look at my husband. That pushed my buttons big time. I had not raised him to be impolite and disrespectful, no less to my husband.
      After some mother/son talk about how when he disrespected my husband, he was also disrespecting me, that was the end of that episode. He told me he had never intended to disrespect me or my husband (although I’m not sure what he thought his behavior meant.) Rudeness is not something I tolerate at all in my home.
      Courtesy is the route to lead to better understanding and acceptance.

  7. Meghan

    Yes! Our culture seems to have gotten so much less courteous and so much more egocentric. It saddens me to watch the disrespectful and rude behavior that’s become the norm in society today. I’d love to see people be more patient, especially with seniors. I’m pained when I watch impatient people getting angry or being mean to others. We’re all strapped for time these days, so I think that makes patience difficult! But, I’d love to see more respect for seniors. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone made a commitment to more acts of courtesy?!?!

    • StepmomCoach

      I believe that courtesy starts at home, with a couple being courteous to each other, then showing their children to be respectful of their elders, in schools addressing the teachers as Mr. or Ms then their names, etc. We’ve allowed people to become overly “familiar” with people we’ve only met a few hours.
      When I first moved to VA, I had several young men my son’s age who addressed me as “Mam” and I laughed because I felt so old. Then I came to appreciate the fact that these young men addressed me in a way that was being courteous and respectful.
      Another thing that I think we are slacking on is simply keeping the door open for the next person behind us. I enjoy having someone (man or woman) hold the door for me as I approach. I feel like I’ve been seen and acknowledge.
      I agree Meghan that more courtesy can go a long way. All it takes is for us to practice being courteous and hopes it goes viral.

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