Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

On my morning walk, I pass many people, mostly locals and a few from Tides Inn. Always we exchange a “good morning,” or a nod if they are on the phone or talking with another person.

Not long ago I passed two girls talking and said, “good morning,” with no response. About a block later I saw another person pass them and speak, but she received no response either. What happened to common courtesy?

Irritated in Irvington

Dear Irritated,

My first reaction upon reading your letter is that perhaps the two girls were in such a deep and personal conversation that stopping to greet a passerby with words would have interrupted a serious exchange. We will never know, but it is a sharp reminder of how rankling being seemingly ignored is.

Those you met certainly didn’t ascribe to the friendliness of Irvington, for whatever reason. No matter what their situation was, they could have at least smiled, a gesture that is equally friendly but less intrusive.

Please let me give testimony here for the powerful universal language of “the smile.” In just one small, silent and easy upward move of our mouth we can:

• Show we are approachable.

• Say “I am glad to see you.”

• Ease a tense situation.

• Show support.

• Give encouragement.

• Show we are confident.

• According to science, improve our own disposition.

Although you have experienced what must have seemed like a slap in the face, please keep your friendly attitude toward strangers. You ask what has happened to common courtesy. The answer is it is still very much alive because people, such as you, carry it with you to share all of the time. For many of us, it is what changes a crummy day into one with, well, no crumbs.

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at [email protected].

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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