Considerate conduct implies that we are aware that our behavior has impact on others. We can put ourselves in another’s shoes and imagine how we would feel if someone were on the other side of us. Questions to ask ourselves:
- “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?”
- “Is feedback informing me as to whether my intentions seeming to align with impact on others?”
- “Am I consciously approaching interactions with thoughtfulness and kindness?”
The practice of considerate conduct, like etiquette-fulness, requires self-awareness to grow. When we aim for etiquette-fulness, behaving in recognizably respectful and thoughtful ways and mindful that others are on the other side of us, we consistently abide by our good manners and kind ways.
A favorite book on my shelves is Choosing Civility, by P.M. Forni, who was the Cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project. In the 2002 book he offers “The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct,” which have not outgrown their usefulness.
How We Ought to Treat Each Other with Considerate Conduct
- Pay Attention – Only after we notice the world, can we begin to care for it.
- Acknowledge Others – Say hello to everyone. Avoid treating anyone as invisible.
- Think the Best – Most people are doing the best that they can in the circumstances they’re in.
- Listen – You have two ears and one mouth so that you listen twice as much as you speak.
- Be Inclusive – Push past your boundaries; expand your experiences.
- Speak Kindly – Kind words are never, ever wasted.
- Don’t Speak Ill – When you speak unkindly about people, it says more about you than others.
- Accept and Give Praise – Give praise and receive praise; both matter.
- Respect Even a Subtle “No” – Honor other people’s boundaries.
- Respect Others’ Opinions – Honor other people’s opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement.
- Mind Your Body – Appearing our best should be the goal.
- Be Agreeable - Look for opportunities to agree. Don’t contradict just to do so.
- Keep it Down – Noise is pervasive and frustrating.
- Respect Other People’s Time – Arriving on time is a basic rule of considerate behavior.
- Respect Other People’s Space – Respect that personal space is important.
- Apologize Earnestly – Be sincere and repair damaged relationships.
- Assert Yourself – Learn to say no when you need to say no.
- Avoid Personal Questions – People are entitled to their privacy.
- Care for Your Guests – Commit yourself to your guest’s comfort.
- Be a Considerate Guest – Commit yourself to being a good guest.
- Think Twice Before Asking for Favors – Try to solve your problems yourself.
- Refrain from Idle Complaints – Let go of unproductive complaining.
- Give Constructive Criticism – When disagreeing, stick to the issues and don’t make it personal.
- Respect the Environment and Be Gentle to Animals – Defend what can’t defend itself.
- Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame – Own it.
Being etiquette-ful in every social and professional situation, personally or digitally, has as core objectives promoting positive and harmonious relationships. The commitment to considerate conduct takes us to attentive listening, polite speaking, and the use of courteous language. We are punctual and reliable and hopeful that the efforts we make will be a small contribution to a better world.
“A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.”
~A. A. Milne
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