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Updated: Nov 5, 2019

During the past two weeks at work, we have had a mandatory civility training for the entire office. One would think as adults, it is not necessary to have a training on how to be civil. However, it seems we still have not figured out how to come to work, do our jobs and go home without some conflict. Although the training has provided my colleagues and me with valuable information, it is sad to say that most probably will not use the information given once the training has ended. I have always thought of myself as a civil person but during the course of this training, I have realized there are many areas within the umbrella of civility that I need to work on.

Civility is defined as [1] training in the humanities, [2a] civilized conduct especially: courtesy, politeness, [2b] a polite act or expression. This does not appear to be a difficult thing to do: be polite or courteous in our actions or expressions but people struggle with it every day. Even if someone were not generally a kind or friendly person, common courtesy would be a mutual response. A simple example of this common courtesy is someone says hello, say hello in return.

Every day I encounter or witness people who are foul to others for no apparent reason, apparent being the vital word here. Within this civility training, I have learned that what may not be apparent to me is a person’s inner struggle and turmoil and I should not be so quick to judge or show my bias when faced with what I see as an uncivil person. It is true that we do not know what a person may be going through, that is why civility is so important. If a person is rude or impolite, be nice anyway. The way we treat them shows more about us than it does about them. We never know how our kindness, despite his or her apparent rudeness, can change someone’s day.

The current climate in this country is the absolute opposite of civil. We can observe in the news and on social media, people being rude, displaying ill manners and being downright evil to others. It seems as though social media has enabled people to be as crass and insulting as they wish without any consequences and without feeling remorse. With “keyboard protection” in full effect, people can talk about your children, your family members, body shame and engage in all kinds of disgusting behavior with people online.

Now it is accurate to say we have freedom of speech and can say what we please, however, having freedom of speech does not mean we should be vile and disgusting human beings. Displaying tact and civility should be the rule, not the exception. More and more people, in person and online, give me the impression having manners and choosing to be a kind person is a lost concept. The confidence and audaciousness people display when intentionally being mean and hurtful to others is appalling.

In a world that seems to thrive off negativity, let us choose to be civil. Every day, let us make a conscious effort to be kind, positive and courteous to people we meet. I know it is difficult. It is difficult for me, especially with certain people. Nevertheless, let us start to show our humanity again. Maybe your civility affects someone in a positive way and then that moves him or her to be civil to someone else. As cliché as it sounds, we must spread love and not hate. There is no shortage of depictions of horrible human beings these days, let us change that narrative and be an example for our children and future generations of how to be amazing, civilized people.

[1] “Civility.” Merriam-Webster, 2019. Web. 26 March, 2019



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