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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2013

Diamond Tip - "Common Courtesy"

By Master Sgt. Randall Fontenot 628th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant

Like common sense, common courtesy isn't so common anymore.


The last decade has seen technological advances render human interactivity nearly obsolete. We conduct most business communication via government email, we interact with friends and relatives via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, text messaging ... by now I believe you see the point.
While all of these are great ways to get information out to large numbers of people in a quick efficient manner, it has also eroded our ability as Air Force members, and society as a whole, to communicate with and, more importantly, exercise common courtesy toward our fellow Airmen.

As I walk around base and observe interaction between service members, it never ceases to amaze me when I see the look, or lack of, I get when simply acknowledging a passer-by. The simple phrase "good morning" is met with a blank stare or a quick turn of the head in an effort to avoid acknowledging another member's presence. If that were a text message, would that person have immediately stopped to acknowledge it? I would venture to say yes.

This seems to be an indication that as a society we have become afraid of human interaction, an interaction that is vital in terms of completing our mission. If you're the member acknowledging a passer by and later encounter them while performing your mission, are you going to remember the person who returned your gesture? While this is assumptive, I would bet you would, and you would in turn be more willing to assist that member.

We discuss networking regularly. I would suggest that networking, in its simplest form, is derived from common courtesy. You never know what impact a simple good morning or good afternoon may have on someone, but one simple display of common courtesy may lead to a long beneficial relationship. In essence, you may have just expanded your network.