With ever-busy lives, we often forget that simple things can make a difference. National Common Courtesy Day is a great way to remind ourselves that the world is better off when we show gratitude and graciousness in both big and small ways. Hey, it only takes a small gesture to be a big hero. Remember to say “please” and “thank you” on March 21. It could make a world of difference!
National Common Courtesy Day timeline
IITTI was formed
An organization named IITTI was formed to test employee etiquette in interviewees.
Emily Post began documenting etiquette
Emily Post was a famous author who wrote a best-selling book called "Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home."
- 18th Century
The Enlightenment Era and politeness
Politeness, certain artistic standards, and behaviors started becoming markers of affluence and upward mobility.
- 551–479 BC
Confucius shapes morality and manners in China
The Chinese teacher, philosopher, and politician fostered a mindset that shaped morality, correctness in relationships, and justice.
- 3rd Millennium BC
Ptahhotep wrote his Maxims
The ancient Egyptian Vizier Ptahhotep wrote a book of Maxims that discussed how to treat others and exhibit self-control.
How to Observe National Common Courtesy Day
Introduce yourself to someone new or shy
We've all been new to work or school and probably felt intimidated or left out. Introduce yourself to someone new, shy, or who is sitting alone. You could make a friend and you'll make someone feel included.
Remember the small actions
Giving up your seat for someone who needs it more than you do, holding the door open, and replacing the roll of toilet paper for a new one are all great small ways to show courtesy to others. Best of all, they're free!
Donate time or money to a meaningful cause (or a friend)
Maybe there's a charity that means a lot to you. March 21 is a great day to volunteer for this cause or donate a few extra dollars to whatever piques your interest. You can also call a friend you haven't had the chance to talk to, buy them a cup of coffee, or help them with something they might need.
Why National Common Courtesy Day is Important
You can participate in many small ways
Courtesy means different things to everyone. Most holidays involved giving gifts or buying something, but Common Courtesy Day involves giving up your seat for someone who needs it more, not cutting in line, saying please and thank you or making more coffee if you drank the last cup. It's easy to participate and contribute to this day.
Doing good for others actually has benefits
Scientific evidence shows that doing something good for others benefits your health. Volunteering and mentoring are some of the biggest examples of doing good for others, but random acts of kindness—including the oft-forgotten display of common courtesy—is a good way to make the world a better place for everyone.
Good deeds are contagious
Creating a respectful environment begets you more respect. This is especially true at home and at work. Show courtesy to the people around you and pretty soon they'll follow your example.