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Good Manners and Random Acts of Kindness Matter

More often than ever it feels as though I must bite my tongue and restrain myself from reacting to rude, inconsiderate behaviors.  Maybe that is just my perception or personal experience, but it feels like inconsiderate behavior is becoming the norm. Drivers are cutting people off, riding bumpers, or getting in the fast lane to go slow, customer service folks are not interested in providing polite, helpful service, and people are demanding things they don’t deserve, etc.  Across all generations, it seems people have become less considerate, more focused on their interests, and often rude, leaving those of us who experience that behavior with negative feelings towards them.  When that happens, we are less inclined to engage and be helpful to them, creating a negative cycle that has a ripple effect.  Somehow, folks seem to have lost the importance of politeness, sometimes even viewing occasional “random acts of kindness” as a replacement.   But these are two, very important, but very different, things!  Politeness and good manners lay the groundwork for respectful interactions, while random acts of kindness add an extra layer of warmth and generosity, creating moments of connection that transcend social boundaries.


Politeness is about showing consideration and respect for others, setting the tone for mutual respect and dignity in our interactions, and acknowledging the worth of every individual, regardless of differences. Whether it’s a simple “please” and “thank you” or maintaining appropriate language and tone, politeness fosters an environment of understanding and cooperation that is essential for navigating the complexities of social interaction. It is a foundational component of effective communication.  By creating a mutually assured comfortable, respectful space for dialogue, openness, honesty, and receptivity are encouraged, and people are more likely to engage in constructive conversations.  With mutual understanding and consideration, communication is clearer, and misunderstandings are reduced.  Politeness should always be present.


While politeness and good manners should be foundational, random acts of kindness are the “bolt-on”.  These spontaneous gestures of goodwill and generosity have the power to brighten someone’s day, create moments of joy and connection, and sometimes may even save someone. Whether offering a helping hand to a stranger, paying for someone’s meal, or simply offering a listening ear, these acts embody the essence of compassion and empathy, reminding us of the inherent goodness in humanity.  Sometimes a random act of kindness is simply asking someone you may not know, but who seems sad, if they are ok and listening to the answer.  A simple, powerful interaction that can make all the difference.


Research has shown that engaging in acts of kindness benefits the recipient and the giver’s mood and overall well-being. The simple act of making someone smile, connecting, and helping can evoke feelings of happiness, fulfillment, and belonging.  Our world is so often filled with stress, negativity, and evil that these moments of positivity are beacons of light, reminding us of the power of human connection. One of the best things about random acts of kindness is that they often inspire others to engage in similar acts of generosity, creating a ripple effect of kindness that spreads throughout our communities. When we witness acts of kindness, we are reminded of the impact that our actions can have on others, inspiring us to pay it forward and contribute to creating a more compassionate and inclusive world.


So, while all our interactions should always be founded in politeness, random acts of kindness are also essential components of a thriving and interconnected society.  The more I think about this, the more I think it doesn’t matter what we call it……consideration, empathy, and connection towards all, whether friends, family, or strangers, should form the basis for all our interactions.  By embracing both in our daily lives, we can contribute to building a more compassionate and inclusive world for all.


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop


So, as we navigate the complexities of our lives, let’s commit to cultivating kindness and politeness in our interactions. Whether it’s holding the door open for a stranger, offering a smile to brighten someone’s day, or reaching out to someone in need, each small act of kindness has the power to create positive change. Join us in spreading kindness and empathy – together, we can make a difference in the world, one gesture at a time. Share your own stories of kindness and politeness in the comments below, and let’s inspire each other to create a more compassionate and inclusive society.


Have a great weekend.