Clipped from: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/equal-respect/article66451965.ece
It’s a two-way social exchange through which healthy human relationships are established
To build solid relationships and to lead a happy and successful life, everyone needs to learn the importance of mutual respect and practise courtesy towards the people we meet. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/Istockphoto
Every individual wishes to be respected. That is human nature. We should be polite in our manners, speech and behavior towards the person in whose company we are. The way we look at the person, the way we receive and greet him, the way we make gestures towards him, the way we speak to him and the way we take leave of him reveal our regard for the individual.
Only through proper courtesy shown towards the person, we can convey to him that we recognise the other person, care for him and we like to listen to what he says and to make him comfortable and pleasant. This is what politeness means. When we expect somebody to respect us and be polite towards us, we must realise that at first, we ought to respect the person we are with. After all, respect cannot be demanded, for it is not one-way communication and it is understandably an exchange of give and take.
Respect is a two-way social exchange that ultimately paves the way for healthy human relationships. A pleasant smile, a hearty handshake, kind and courteous words such as please, thank you and welcome; gentle manners and appropriate body language go a long way in establishing good human relationships.
When egos erupt, courtesy simply vanishes, relationships get strained, and social or professional environment becomes hostile. The egoistic individual simply expects respect from other people to gratify his ego without extending courtesy to others. So personal ego is certainly the enemy of good relationships.
When we treat others with respect, we lose nothing and, instead, we can gain more in the form of good rapport that helps us a lot in our profession, career, business and daily routine of activities. Courtesy, when applied well, greases the wheels of life’s engine and makes it run smoothly. But discourtesy, resulting in rude and arrogant behavior, spells doom, poisons the social and professional atmosphere and makes life miserable.
This is exactly what I witnessed recently at a bank. A few years ago, I visited a bank to withdraw some savings. There was a queue at the counter, consisting of about twenty people. It was a busy hour. I stood, waiting my turn. The queue was moving rapidly. The transactions were going on swiftly. The cashier at the counter was a middle-aged man with silver hair. I was to hand over the filled-up withdrawal form to him. Before me was standing a tall, bony man, a pensioner perhaps, with a savings account book in one hand and a filled-up withdrawal form in another hand. He gave the form to the cashier, who took a few hundred rupee notes from a bundle of currency notes and put them into the counting machine. Not satisfied with the counting of the notes by the machine, he manually counted the number of hundred rupee notes meticulously. Then, he made entries in the customer’s account on a computer screen and, later, inserted the customer’s account book into the printer. Casting a look of irritation at the old customer, he flung the savings account book with the cash kept inside towards the man. The customer picked up the book, peered into it and gave it back, saying politely, “Sir, the printing of figures in my savings account book is blurred and unclear. Please, put it into the printer again and make the printing clear.”
At this, the cashier flared up, stood up from his chair and with his eyes bloodshot, he lashed out, “What man… The printing is like that. I can’t help. Go away.” The words of the cashier triggered a skirmish between the old customer and the cashier and snowballed into a fierce verbal duel between the two, threatening to end in a fist-fight. Thankfully, the manager appeared on the scene and persuaded both of them to calm down. Such incidents of frayed tempers often happen because of a lack of mutual respect. .
Soon, I was about to step out of the bank. My eyes caught a poster on the walls of the bank: “The customer is the important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is not an outsider to our business. He is a part of it… We are not doing a favour by serving him. He is doing a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.“
It’s not my intention to say that the staff at banks are impolite or devoid of courtesy. I don’t mean to blame or offend bank employees. Such incidents can also happen sometimes at other government offices where a few staff members — puffed up with ego — behave in a discourteous manner with people who approach them for official work. We must realise that to have healthy human relationships and to lead a happy and successful life, everyone needs to learn the importance of mutual respect and practise courtesy towards the people we meet in our day-to-day activities of life. That’s how we can show our good culture.