Posted as a comment in someone else’s journal, but I want to save it here. Regarding common courtesy, and how small favors may not be returned or even noticed by others…
I believe two things.
1. Common courtesy isn’t. People are either stupid or selfish a lot of the time.
2. If I’m going to expect people to act a certain way, I have to act that way myself. If the power of expectation has any real power, it should work when the belief/expectation is strong – strong enough to be unconscious and automatic.
So. For myself, there are very few things that I believe strongly enough to “trust” absolutely everyone to do. For example, I choose to believe that people will be honest with me and will not try to hurt me on purpose. This is a naive belief — I have been proven wrong before and it will probably happen again, though rarely. I weasel out of being proved wrong by redefining those who fail to meet these two basic criteria as “non-persons”. For the most part I get some mileage out of this belief, because it allows me to assume a certain minimal level of trust, even with complete strangers. But, the belief breaks down if I compromise myself — so part of the bargain in keeping the faith is that I will never lie to anyone ever… which I haven’t done in my adult life.
By comparison, the belief that everyone will always be courteous to me is just not there in the same way. The expectation has no power, because common sense tells me something different about so-called common courtesy. Some days I don’t even rise to the level of being courteous myself, though it’s rare, it does happen, so such a belief would not even pass the sniff test looking at a statistical sample of one.
But, still I persist in having common courtesy for others. Maybe it’s just because my momma raised me right. I have pretty much decided I don’t care who notices, and I don’t care if it is returned… I take pride in myself for doing it, and that is enough; it has to be. How else am I going to change the world, other than going out of my way to *be* the type of person I would like the world to be filled with?