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15 Ways To Bring Common Courtesy Back: A Thank You Note To Grandpa Johnson

April 18, 2012 / in General Information / by

I want to tell you a story about a role model of mine and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known…my Grandpa Johnson. Sadly we lost him in March 2008, but as with any great human being, life lessons linger on. 

When I was younger, probably 16 or 17 years old, Grandpa Johnson took me off to the side one day and said he had something he wanted to talk to me about. Curious, and a little nervous, I asked him what it was. He told me that he knew someone in the family had sent me a birthday card with a little money in it and they hadn’t heard whether I received it or not.

Feeling that knot in my stomach, the one you feel when you have disappointed someone, he went on to say (and I’m paraphrasing):

“If someone takes the time to think about you and send you a card, money, gift or something else for your birthday, it’s not asking much to give them a call or write a note telling them Thank You. If you don’t do that, then they may stop doing it because they don’t think you appreciate them.”

He went on to give me a little pocket calendar in which he had hand written the birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other important dates from all of our family members.

From that point on and to this very day, I put recurring annual appointments on my Google calendar: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of the day people lost loved ones, and other important dates.

Each year, I send them a note or call when those days arrive. Additionally, I make sure to thank anyone that does the same for me. 

I’ve shared that story with many people over the years and it recently got me thinking about things that I (and I imagine Grandpa Johnson) would consider common courtesy. And as I’ve gotten older and wiser, it seems like common courtesy isn’t as prevalent as it used to be…in life…or in business. 

I want to bring it back. I’m going to do my best Justin Timberlake impression and try to make common courtesy sexy again. I’m far from perfect and I’m sure I’ve missed some important dates for people along the way, but my heart is in the right place. This list is far from all inclusive, but we have to start somewhere. 

This blog post is dedicated to my Grandpa Johnson. I guess you could say it’s my final Thank You note to him. 

15 Ways To Bring Common Courtesy Back

1. Say Thank You. A lot.
2. Say Please. A lot. 
3. Do at least one nice thing for someone else every day.
4. The next time you are thinking about someone, act on it. An email, a phone call, a text…don’t let the thought slip away. 
5. When you ask someone for help, return the favor. 
6. Hold yourself accountable. Once you learn to do that, then teach others to do it.
7. Open or hold the door for someone else. 
8. When you tell someone you are going to do something, do it. 
9. Reply promptly to emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook comments, Tweets, etc. 
10. Show up to ALL meetings on time. If you’re going to be late, call and let the other person know.
11. If someone invites you to do something and you can’t go or don’t want to go, at least thank them for thinking of you.
12. Refer business to someone at least once a week. Or at least tell people in your network about them.
13. If you see trash anywhere, pick it up.
14. If you end a business relationship or friendship, take the road less traveled by and tell them why.
15. If you love, appreciate, admire, respect, are inspired by, or look up to anyone, TELL THEM. It will make their day.

Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it. If you know others that might enjoy this post, please share it with them. If you have other common courtesy tips, share them!

Me? A blogger?

Honestly, I was skeptical. My first few posts were dry, hard to write and not very interesting, even to me. Then I had a breakthrough. I wrote about my passion for Bruce Springsteen. Very personal, very “non-banky.” The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Pam Berneking

Pam Berneking

Former President and CEO of Alterra Bank

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