Why Being Courteous to Everyone Pays

Everyone has an invisible tattoo that says “Make me feel important”. My philosophy is to treat everyone as if they are important ….because THEY ARE!

Just thinking about this brings to my mind that story about the college test that really drives home how important each person truly is. You may have heard or read about it—there are variations of this story floating around in the internet. The professor gives the test to his class. As the students come to the last question, there are comments such as, “You’re kidding!”, “This last question doesn’t count, does it?” The reply is always the same—yes, that question counts. And the question is, “What is the name of the person who cleans this classroom?”

This is a great lesson to learn while in college—yet some people seem to never learn this important life lesson. We have the power to make others feel important by expressing our genuine interest in them. They are very likely to value us in the same way and want to help us when and if we need it. But that should not be the driving force in treating everyone with respect. It is the right thing to do and will make your life more pleasurable.

People respect us when we respect them. If someone thinks that we are not being courteous they are not going to want a relationship with us, much less respect us.

We never know who the people we are dealing with are connected to. It’s just easier to be nice and courteous to everyone. Imagine how you would feel if you learn (after the fact) that that story you told about the nurse who was mean to you and in your view a jerk, was actually the sister of the listener. Now he may agree that she is a jerk—but that’s for him to say, not you. And what purpose did this serve? If you want to vent, wait until you can talk to someone like your spouse or a close friend.

And think of that nurse who was mean to you. Is it possible that she was having a really bad day? Perhaps she just received some upsetting news. Or perhaps she is concerned and worried about a family member who is struggling with financial difficulties. We tend to excuse our bad behavior by rationalizing why we are behaving in such a manner but don’t tend to extend that same courtesy to others.

The point to remember is that it makes sense to be courteous to everyone—and it is the right thing to do. And if someone is rude to you or treats you badly, don’t respond in kind. You don’t know what is going on in another person’s  life. Be grateful that you are not them—and continue to treat each person you know with respect.

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