I often feel as if the entire world is on the edge. Confrontation often starts with a misdirected glance, a misinterpreted comment, or an outright viewpoint. Cutting someone off in traffic or parking unknowingly in someone else’s spot frequently leads to rude and verbal insults, yelling and physical threats, while snapping at someone at work or in a social environment prompts the flipping of the finger; the timing, angle, and length of your gesture will determine how successfully you deliver an insult.

I have a habit of stopping for those who are standing on the zebra crossing or who are patiently waiting to cross the street. While those are the rules of the road, it is typically assumed as a sign of common courtesy in return when a pedestrian nods or raises their hands in a show of thanks. However, if the pedestrian does not acknowledge me, I often feel obligated to stick my head out the window and remind them to be courteous.

Many people who never express gratitude merely fail to recognise or value kind deeds. They lack the emotional maturity and sensitivity needed to comprehend others’ efforts to be kind or make their life simpler. They take everything that you do for them for granted because that is what they expect.

Over the years, many people think writing skills and best practices should be overlooked when it comes to emailing. Although an informal communication tool, basic courtesies that include friendly greetings and closings are essential to building relationships and networking communications via email. Those who skip these steps, in my opinion, are perceived as demanding or terse.

Given the social and environmental challenges we face today, common courtesy and acts of kindness are becoming somewhat rare. In the short term, rage is acceptable, reasonable and sometimes even adaptive.

While most health professionals believe that anger is a typical response to stress, particularly in the wake of the pandemic when everyone had to deal with social isolation, routine loss, increased fear, and protracted uncertainty, there are those, however, who believe that anger is a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices such as addictions to food, sex, gambling, shopping, the internet and controlled substances.

The saying ‘patience is a virtue’ describes the ability to wait for something without becoming angry or upset. Although patience is a highly desirable trait in a person, it has become more difficult to find in this fast-paced society.

Due to the rise in our needs and expectations, it is not uncommon to encounter people who have no patience. When we let our minds wander and refuse to accept the present moment, we lose patience. Instead, our mind makes the decision to resist, transporting us elsewhere. However, there is no assurance that we will feel any better because our mind will still be restless. It is only a matter of time before we run out of patience once more.

Whatever the case or reason for our lack of common courtesy, it is better for all of us if we coexist in a way that makes life simpler for everyone. Although problems are inescapable, this does not mean that we must burden others with them by taking our frustrations out on them. After all, you attract the energy that you put out into the universe.

Common courtesy gestures have the capacity to instantly alter someone’s mood. The best part is that they do not cost anything. Even the tiniest acts of kindness can make a big difference; however, the fact that common courtesy has become so unusual shows that we do not fully appreciate the influence we have over the lives of others.

Since common courtesy seems to have been waning for a while, it is possible that some people are unaware that there are expected gestures of kindness, such as holding doors open, saying please and thank you, giving compliments, smiling, actively listening, addressing people by their name, minding your own business, disagreeing respectfully, being empathetic, and even helping someone when you are able.

As Maya Angelou rightfully put it, “People will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Although common courtesy may not be enough to bring about world peace, it is a step in the direction of giving each other the respect we all deserve.