is having respectful, polite behavior.


“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.”

Sir Frances Bacon (1561-1626); philosopher, essayist, statesman

“Intelligence and courtesy not always are combined; Often in a wooden house a golden room we find.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882); poet

“Although the world is full of suffering, it's full also of the overcoming it.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968); author, lecturer, activist

“There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832); philosopher, scientist, author

“Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man's cruelty and baseness.”

Bryant H. McGill author, poet, broadcaster

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919); 26th U.S. President

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”

Henry Clay (1777-1852); politician, orator

“Among the qualities of mind and heart which conduce to worldly success, there is one, the importance of which is more real, and which is generally underrated in our day...It is courtesy.”

Herbert Schiffer

“We owe each other truth and courtesy - though truth is sometimes a real constraint and courtesy inconvenient.”

Max De Pree (born 1924); author, former CEO of Herman Miller, Inc.

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.”

John Wanamaker (1838-1922); businessman, entrepreneur

“Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882); Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

“There can be no defense like elaborate courtesy. ”

Edward V. Lucas author

“The small courtesies sweeten life; the greater, ennoble it.”

Christian Nestell Bovee author, lawyer

“Tact is the ability to make a person see lightning without letting him feel the bolt.”

Orlando A. Battista (1917-1995); chemist, author

“I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind.”

Richard Greenberg (born 1958); playwright

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Etienne de Grellet (1773-1855); Quaker missionary

“The greater man the greater courtesy.”

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-1892); poet laureate

“A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind.”

Richard Dehmel (1863-1920); poet, playwright

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882); Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

More About This Value

Real Stories About Courtesy

Angels Among Us

In 1992 in Alaska my husband and I struggled to attend school, pay bills, learn to live with limited physical movement, and feed our son. Life was hard. And the winter made life even harder. In the middle of the night, in a small town in Alaska our car's transmission gave out. We had just arrived from Anchorage and were…

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Honesty What better quality in a person to see Than someone who possesses honesty Now honesty isn’t hard to acquire It is one virtue that all do admire Honesty is simply telling the truth No matter what you did or said And when you’re honest You do not steal You work for what you want And that’s for real How…

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Ed and Alzheimer's

Last week I was sitting in the lobby of a medical building when I heard an elderly woman talking on the phone about her husband. His name was Ed and he dropped her off for her doctors appointment, and was going to park the car and wait for her. She was so upset because he never came back to get…

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It's Your Lucky Day!

I was running late for work on Friday trying to get my bags packed for DC. It was a beautiful day and normally I would walk to the subway. Since I was running late the only way to make it to work on time would be to catch a cab. So I flagged down the first cab that drove by…

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Holding Doors Can Sometimes Mean More Than You Think

I was on my way to morning basketball workouts with a few of my teammates after meeting up earlier to play some 3-on-3. We were cutting it close on time and our coach is very into punctuality'meaning we would be punished severely if we were late. As we rushed to the double doors leading to the University Center, I saw…

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I figured I would share a little story with you about something that happened to me when I was the ripe old age of four (yes, four). I remember it so clearly should be indicative of the impact it had on me at that time. Our loving family dog was nearing the end of his life and was in obvious…

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Want to go shopping...?

I don't mind going shopping; our kids are grown up and away from home, so usually it's just my wife and myself. I'll drop her off close to the door and then find a place to park...usually in a good place, where I can gather up carts left in the lot to take with me to the store.

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The Handshake

This little story I'm about to tell you happened when I was about 11 years old, and I'll never forget it. I was at my friend Jenny's house after school one day, and we were doing (or not doing!) homework. While I was there a friend of Jenny's mom came over to visit. I don't remember her name or even…

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Compassion That Leads to Solace

5 years ago, as my wife lay dying in her bed from cancer, we made the hard choice of allowing hospice to inject her with the final dose of morphine that would leave her unconscious until she passed. Knowing that she had no control over her ability to be a mother to her only son, she fought diligently to stay…

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A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

New neighbors are building their "dream house" on our street. They had sent a note to everyone introducing themselves when the construction started a year ago, but we had not met them yet. We bought a small plastic basket, filled it with candy and attached it to the temporary fence with a note saying: "Welcome to the neighborhood, your home…

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Faith in Fellow Men

Last week I was doing my grocery shopping at a local store. I was in a hurry because I had to get to work. I had purchased a package of sports drink and, when checking out, put it on the bottom of the cart. In my haste, I did not put it in my car when I emptied the cart.…

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Sharing forward

At the grocery checkout all my items had been registered. This 78 year old absent-minded professor didn't have enough to pay the $60 I had racked up. The man behind me told the store manager to put in on his bill. He disappeared so quickly as I stood there in awe that I didn't even have a chance to thank…

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The Parking Meter Bank

One Christmas my husband and I traveled from our home in Utah to visit family. Our first stop was to visit my parents on the Oregon coast. My mother gave me a gift that day that will last a lifetime. A simple plastic parking meter bank. We continued north into Washington State to visit his family, but on the way…

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I was in my early twenties; a young mother riding the bus with my daughter in her stroller in my native Germany. On the bus I noticed a young man a bit younger than me dressed in a military looking style black jacket. He seemed very tense, and out of the corner of my eye I could see that he…

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Young Examples

I had the privilege of witnessing an experience I will always remember. It occurred in the busy parking lot of a grocery store. An elderly woman was struggling to maneuver her grocery cart and unload it. A young man walking by stopped, turned around, and returned to the side of the woman. He asked if he could help her and…

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See All 15 Stories

Read Everyday Hero Stories About Courtesy

Everyday Hero: Chris

Chris became quadriplegic (from shoulders down) in a boating accident about 10 years ago. He has recovered as fully as physically possible. During that time obtained a graduate level certificate in Assistive Technology at San Diego State University, returned to full-time work as an engineer, and married his wife, Jean.Chris and Jean are now starting the process of having their…

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Everyday Hero: tammy


tammy laplante is my grandma. she is the most giving person i know. no matter what she will always go the extra mile to help someone out. she brought me into her house when my mom kicked me out. she has always pushed me to be a better person. she is my hero.

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Pass It On®

Your Comments

I'm so glad a took a minute after viewing a commercial to look up this site. It is inspiring. I try to Pay it Forward and pass it on everyday.
Edie 6 months ago from New York

We helped a teacher
Iyauna &Tionna 6 months ago from Alto

i opened the door for someone yesterday
chesnee 6 months ago from rusk

Courtesy is meaningless if you let others mistreat you. Other values must take precedence in such case. This is not to say that you should stop being courteous.
Anon Imus 7 months ago from Los Angeles

De tudo o que recebemos, com certeza a cortesia deve ser passada adiante, porque todos precisa de todos, até quem nos odeia. From everything we receive, surely the courtesy should be passed on, because everyone needs everyone, even those who dislike us.
Anderson almost 3 years ago from Colatina - ES, Brasil

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