- “Please” “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” All three phrases are very necessary in long-term relationships of any kind.
- When it is clear that someone doesn’t want to talk about something, or doesn’t want to interact with others/specific people, giving them their space instead of trying to force the issue. “What’s bothering you?” the first time is legitimate inquiry. Anytime after that, it’s just being invasive and rude. People talk when they’re ready – and they may not talk to you.
- Introductions. Proper introductions actually do matter. It helps break ice for people when they get more than “Name, name, have at!” It demonstrates that you have given thought to both people when you make said introduction. Even people with strong personalities can be a bit shy. I should know since I’m one of them.
- Checking in before making a request, and listening to what that person says rather than pushing your own agenda. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said very clearly “I am too busy right now,” and had people request manuscript feedback or some other non-profiting, non-reciprocated favor.
- Asking permission instead of demonstrating entitlement to forgiveness. I’m not obligated on that latter one, especially if you actually harm me or someone I love.
In smaller ways:
- Bothering to properly use a turn signal.
- At grocery stores, making sure the person behind you gets a divider bar.
- Some women are different about this, and their reasons are valid. But I don’t feel somehow less feminist or patronized when someone opens a door for me. I feel appreciated, acknowledged, and valued when someone does it.
- Making eye contact with wait staff. Exchanging pleasantries with them.
- Taking responsibility for your own spoiler exposure. This demonstrates respect and awareness that the Internet does not revolve around you. (Admittedly spoilers don’t bother me.)