The term “micro-aggression” took hold in 2017. It’s defined as a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group. And I assume most of us have encountered these in our daily lives, even if we didn’t describe them that way at the time.
And it got me to wondering, what is its opposite? I couldn’t think of any, so I created one: Micro-pleasantries. I did this because I think the world would be better off with them. Years ago I was explaining to a friend of mine that I had a rehearsed smile that I used when passing people in the hallway or on the street. It was a pleasant half-smile that was intended to convey that I came in peace and non-verbally wished them well. It was and is a micro-pleasantry ahead of its time.
The reality is that most people don’t make eye contact with strangers anymore. They don’t hold the door, or say thank you when someone holds the door for them. They don’t treat servers in restaurants with courtesy or decency, rarely saying please and thank you. And with each instant that occurs, the thread of the fabric of polite society unravels just a little bit more.
So it’s up to each of us to find our micro-pleasantries to turn the tide back in the favor of manners, decorum and respectability. Watch here for easy ways to accomplish this. We all may just be a bit better off as a result!