There is nothing Common in Common Courtesy

Published 12:32 pm Sunday, January 21, 2024

What is common courtesy? I have heard of it most of my life and didn’t know its true meaning until I Googled it.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines common courtesy as a level of politeness that people can usually be expected to show.

Sadly, today we are lacking common courtesy in our society.

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We forget to thank the barista, we forget to hold doors open for the person behind us and we talk loudly on our cell phones
in public places.

In the South, we are taught common courtesy at an early age. My mother made me write thank you notes for EVERYTHING.

You always verbally acknowledged good deeds, saying thank you when someone opens a door for you or pays you a compliment.

We were taught that we always said please when asking for a favor.

Adults were to be addressed with  “Mr.”, ” Mrs.”,  or “Miss” followed by their first names if they were family or a close friends.

We followed their honorifics with their last name if they were a teacher or prominent person in the community.

In doing these small things, we are showing respect to that person. Being respectful to others builds a cohesive community and work environment.

I was talking to my neighbor the other day. He and his wife moved from New England to Vicksburg four years ago. They are in the process of restoring one of our prominent older homes here.

He told me one of the contractors working on the house asked him the question, “What is the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee?”

My neighbor said after he got his chin off the floor he said he didn’t know and asked what does that mean.

The man proceeded to say, “A Yankee comes to visit but a Damn Yankee comes and stays.” This was his BOSS… Seriously.

This man just set a bad example for all Southerners with his behavior.

In my opinion, all people deserve respect just because God put them here.

So next time you walk by and see your neighbor struggling with her groceries or someone downtown who has their hands full and needs to open a door, be their ray of common courtesy.

As my daddy always said, “It costs nothing to be nice to people.”

Tracye Prewitt works with The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at