Being polite is not just something we should teach our children. Practicing what we preach would be good too.

It’s astounding the number of adults who don’t say thank you, you’re welcome, return a phone call or an email. Are you the person who doesn’t return a smile or warm greeting on the street? Have we become so busy and self-involved that courtesy has gone out the window?

Being polite is not only a sign of etiquette: it’s a sign of respect for another person. By treating someone with courtesy, you’re showing them respect.

If you intentionally don’t return a phone call, email or other communication outreach, you’re sending the signal that that person or request doesn’t matter enough to warrant a few minutes of your time. That frankly, they don’t matter.

Etiquette expert Susie Wilson sums it up like this:

“The goal of good manners is to let other people know they are significant; they are important enough to elicit good manners and deserve respect. Neglecting good manners can make you seem arrogant and insult people around you.”

Wilson’s right. And really, is there anything more annoying than waiting for an answer from someone and never receiving it?

Is it that we’re really too busy and overwhelmed with the barrage of daily tasks barreling toward us, or have people become lazy?

Another blogger said maybe people are just too sick of humanity to want to try anymore. That notion may not be too far-fetched. It’s a vicious cycle then, if that’s the case. People get sick of dealing with impolite people, so they fall down the rabbit-hole and become one of them themselves. Ouch.

Some may use the excuse that they don’t have the answer for someone’s question, therefore, why reply at all? That’s just plain rude, especially if you know someone is hoping you have an answer. If you don’t have the answer, try to direct them to someone who does, or at least have the courtesy to tell them you don’t know. That way they’re not waiting and wondering.

Do you know how much it can brighten someone’s day if you simply smile and express a polite greeting? It can turn the day around for someone, and you may not even realize it.

The saying goes “You catch more flies with honey that you do vinegar.” While we’re not sure exactly why you’d want to catch a bunch of flies, it means people will be nice to you if you’re nice to them. A simple concept really. And a better cycle to be on that the one mentioned above.

Try it. It works.