it’s time to be civil (8)


“To be civil – to behave, that is, in a manner that takes into consideration the feelings and the comfort of others – means practicing the art of giving. This practice is at the same time free and binding. Although not obligatory (it is not prescribed by law), it creates a bond between those involved. When we are courteous, we expect to be answered in kind. Even a minimal transcending of the self calls for a comparable transcending on the part of the other. By treating you the best way I know how, I appeal to the best in you, urging you to do the same. The practice of civility is the applying of gentle force with the goal that everybody be a winner in the delicate game of the social exchange.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 26-27

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