Do you ever find yourself walking along a pavement facing two or more people walking towards you? How many times do these people make space for you to pass? Or do you find yourself having to stop for them to pass or having to step into the road?
What does it cost to pause, to make space, to give another person room to pass by comfortably and safely?
There is no loss of face in us acknowledging other people and taking simple actions to avoid hindering their progress. Often we don’t even need to stop, but just to move slightly, perhaps taking an extra step or two.
But the result achieves far more. Very often this simple act will result in achieving eye contact between pedestrians, a smile and even a ‘thank you’. Many people appreciate these simple yet powerful acts of courtesy.
Perhaps they don’t seem very big in the scheme of life, but all these small acts add up to make our lives happier and less stressful as we realise that there are millions of people in the world who support and help each other naturally.
Robert Zarywacz is courtesy consultant for the National Campaign for Courtesy.