September Is National Courtesy Month, So What Exactly Is The Meaning Of Courtesy?
I find ‘courtesy’ to be an interesting word, probably because we unfortunately don’t hear it too often. I assumed I understood the meaning of courtesy, but I looked it up, just in case.
The meaning of courtesy
Dictionary.com kindly informs me that ‘courtesy’ has a number of definitions; those most closely applying to our discussion include:
- 1. Excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior.
- 2. A courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.
- 3. Indulgence, consent, or acquiescence
- 4. Favor, help or generosity
I like it!
Striving for proper etiquette and the core meaning of courtesy
One of my career aspirations in younger years was to be an etiquette consultant – can you imagine the pressure of constantly trying to be perfect – and teaching others to strive to do the same? I’m glad I let that one go. I do still value and appreciate manners, and I think courtesy is a core value of good manners, as reflected in definition #1.
So, in real terms, what are the meanings of courtesy and proper etiquette? Courtesy is gentlemen opening doors for ladies. Courtesy is taking turns while talking, instead of talking over someone else. Proper etiquette is letting someone go ahead of you in line because they only have two items and you have 17. Courtesy is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know how I feel about saying thank you. It’s a ‘given’ and a ‘must.’ Saying thank you is the first step in courtesy; we were all taught it as toddlers.
So what’s all this about National Courtesy Month?
I’m not sure, really. I found it somewhere on the vast Internet plains, and it resonated with me. Once I found it, I searched far and wide to find more information about National Courtesy Month but came up dry. But it does exist!
Personalized stationery and the meaning of courtesy go hand-in-hand
For every 50 personalized notes produced, I’d venture to guess that at least half of them will be used as thank you notes. When you think about it, courtesy is at the heart of our business. So it seems only natural that we should extend a friendly gesture, a courtesy if you will, to National Courtesy Month.
How to Celebrate National Courtesy Month?
Remember the meaning of courtesy and what behavior makes for proper etiquette. Say please and thank you. Send a thoughtful, personalized gift to someone who could use a lift. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Pay the toll for the person in the car behind you. Send personalized cards with handwritten thank you messages, congratulatory notes and ‘I miss you’ sentiments. Just be creative and courteous…and make someone smile!