Have you ever been at a restaurant and said, “Thank you” when the waitperson brought your bill? How about when they pick up your card to run the payment? I bet you have. I also bet you have thought nothing of it. It is common courtesy, good manners, polite and just plain good practice. I remember doing a mental double take when thanking a parking enforcement officer who issued me a ticket just as I got to my car. Why on earth was I thanking him so profusely? And since I was being so grateful, why wasn’t he responding in kind? Does it matter?

In our department (Member Solutions) I have talked to many people in all types of situations. Frequently these include people who are in distress and in need of solutions when the options are not optimal. A wise man (a divorce attorney who also doubled as a family counselor, of all things) once told me that when under stress people frequently do and say things they wouldn’t dream of doing or saying under normal circumstances. I always attempt to remember this fact, and practice patience, listen, understand and assist as much as possible when it seems as though the person on the other end of the conversation is abnormally distressed, aggressive or even abusive.

As an adult human and a participating member of society, I too have experienced times of excessive stress (including but not limited to, financial stress), and have, I am sure, reacted/ acted in a way that was far less polite and courteous than I would have behaved under other more pleasant circumstances. This is where the understanding comes in. I understand what it is like to have human emotions, make human mistakes and turn to other human resources to resolve, rectify or just comprehend the situation I find myself in. I know how difficult it can be to rise up out of this state and bother with what is courteous if not, less and less common.

It seems to me that courtesies are becoming less and less common as the stresses become more and more common. I understand the concept, but feel that as fellow humans it is doubly important to respect and support one another through the difficult times we are all experiencing in our society. The easiest way to do this is to get back to the simplicity of the old common courtesies. We are, after all, in this thing together. Take a moment to sincerely thank those who are doing their best to do what they can. In no time it will become a habit that others will appreciate and possibly pick up in their common practices.

Thank you for reading and I do wish you the best of all things.

Shannon Callahan

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One Response

  1. Lara Simmons says:

    Two thumbs up Shannon! Thanks for writing this – a great reminder to all of us!

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