In an effort to keep things simple around here, I am going to try and limit my posts to once or twice a week. I don’t enjoy having my email inbox inundated with mail every day from the same person or website and I’m sure you don’t either. I want to be a blessing and not a “Aw, not her again!” I’m also not going to post on Sunday. By now you all know that it is the Sabbath day – for me anyway – and as such I will simply skip those days as an act of refraining from work and simply enjoying my day with my Lord and with family and friends — and my dog.
To close out the month of October I want to talk about five simple ways to show everyday common courtesy. So let’s begin.
#27 – RSVP
I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to invite people to an event and then hear nothing from them. You don’t know if they are coming or not because THEY DIDN’T BOTHER TO TELL YOU. I mean, how hard is it to pick up the phone and tell the host whether you will attend or not? It isn’t hard at all! Nowadays most people include a telephone number AND an email so you have the option of voice, voicemail, or email. I also receive many e-invites. There is no excuse for not answering one of these when it shows up in your inbox – just a click people! Just a click! When my daughter got married I had to divvy up the guest list and assign people to make calls so that we could plan the number of dinners for the reception. So, so, sooooooo frustrating. Please, do yourself and your host a favor and just make the call, leave the voice message, or send an email. There is simply no excuse for such rude behavior. Really, NO excuse. ‘Nuff said???
#28 – Send a Thank You
Can I just ask a question that has been bothering me for a very long time? When did it become fashionable to take the generosity or goodwill of others for granted? The art of the Thank You card has gone the way of the dinosaur and WE NEED TO BRING IT BACK —– PRONTO! It doesn’t take long to write down a few words to express thanks to a person that (1) gave you a gift, (2) took you out to dinner, (3) hosted you in their home, (4) did anything else for you that you can acknowledge with two simple words: Thank You. Yes, it might take a couple of minutes out of your day to write a note on a card, address the envelope, paste on a stamp, and stick it in the mail. So what! Get off Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and grab a pen and paper and be courteous. Sheesh! Parents, please teach your children to acknowledge the kindness of others by requiring them to make thank you cards for birthday and Christmas presents. Moms-to-be and brides-to-be, please send a thank you note to each person that gave you a gift. Please. I don’t care how busy you are preparing for your new baby or wedding. Again, put down the smart phone and pick up that pen! I know that we all love to receive thank you notes. Let’s be people that also love to send them. Getting something by snail mail is fun since it doesn’t happen as often as electronic mail. Maybe we can start a new trend — again!
#29 – Put down the phone during dinner, while having conversation, and during meetings
I know, I know, I’m stepping on toes here. But bear with me as I try to help us get back to the common courtesies from yesteryear. We are so glued to our electronic devices that we have lost the ability to just converse and look one another in the eye, whether socially or professionally. I don’t think I am the only one that feels slighted when the person I’m having coffee with glances at her phone every time it makes a buzz or a hiccup, especially if I am in the middle of saying something. By taking your eyes off of me and glancing at or scrolling through your latest Tweet you are telling me that what I have to say doesn’t really matter to you. At least that is how it appears to me, whether that is your intention or not. Have you been to a restaurant or coffee shop lately and noticed how many people are texting or Tweeting, even when there are other people at the table with them? I’ve also been at business meetings where people are on their phones the entire time the meeting is being conducted. I don’t know if they are taking notes or playing Candy Crush. Feeling the need to be connected to everything, everywhere 24/7 is draining. Simply turning off the phone and putting it away for an hour or so while engaging in real human interaction is one very easy way to start connecting with others and participating in community.
#30 – Make eye contact and smile
Isn’t it funny that I would even feel the need to remind people of this? But, unfortunately we seem to have lost the art of the smile. Eye contact went out of fashion a while back. Can we push against that trend and bring happy back? Smiling and making eye contact makes people feel happy — the one smiling and the recipient of that smile. It exercises our happy muscles and releases endorphins, those feel good hormones we all love to experience. I know of one woman that decided she would smile and say hello to everyone she met during the course of her day. The reactions she got from others was priceless – from blank stares to surprised looks and big happy smiles in return. She loved it so much she has made a decision to consciously make the effort to engage more with others every day through eye contact, a smile, and a hello. I think we can all learn from her, don’t you?
#31 – Call an elderly relative or shut-in
This one is near and dear to my heart. I have a 93-year-old mom that diligently carries her cell phone around in her pocket every day so she doesn’t miss a call. Unfortunately, she mostly receives calls from telemarketers and robocalls. Family? Not so much. I realize that at times it is difficult to have a conversation with an elderly person because they are hard of hearing and it makes phone conversations a challenge, especially if you are calling from a hands free device from your car. Just making the effort is worth it though because the recipient of that phone call is delighted when the phone rings. Delighted. Go ahead and make someone’s day by giving them a call just to say hello and that you are thinking about them. Schedule it on your calendar if you easily forget. Set a timer to make a call after dinner. Whatever you need to do. Then, continue to check in every now and then. Family is a precious gift. Friends are precious gifts. Treasure these gifts by taking the time to make contact. We never know how long these precious ones will be in our lives.
Now that I’ve completely offended everyone – even myself, I will leave you to think about how you might incorporate some of these simple acts of courtesy into your own life. I’m planning on making some new habits by reaching out beyond what is in my comfort zone to what I know in my heart is truly important – human contact on a human level sans anything electronic. How about you? Do you feel challenged to reach out, unplug, or pick up pen and paper? Hope so. I’d love to hear from you one way or the other.