According to Merriam Webster dictionary the word gracious means "marked by kindness and courtesy; marked by tact and delicacy; characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding."
At times I am shocked and appalled by the lack of graciousness that some people demonstrate and at other times I am just as surprised when someone is unexpectedly polite, kind, or generous. I hope that I am always gracious and well mannered to everyone I know but I have no doubt that I make mistakes sometimes when I am in a hurry or not just not paying attention. I think that being well mannered and kind pays dividends in every part of your life and, certainly, when you are searching for a job.
Lately I have personally witnessed and, in other cases, heard from friends some amazing stories about selfish and self centered individuals who demonstrate few, if any, manners. These clueless souls are burning bridges and destroying relationships but they are too self centered to realize it. So, I have put together a short quiz about graciousness:
Do you send thank you notes or, at a minimum, emails to a colleague, co-worker, or potential business associate when he/she pays for your lunch?
Do you remember say thank you (note, phone call or email) when someone you know professionally recommends you for an honor, award, speaking engagement, writing assignment, or something similar?
Do you follow up with colleagues of whom you have asked professional favors if/when you decide you no longer need the favors? Or do you forget about it and let them work on your behalf and then say something like, "Oh, I forgot to tell you I no longer need that."?
Do you send thank you notes and, if appropriate gifts, for professional referrals?
Do your thank-you methods reflect the size of the professional favor or courtesy you have been given?
If someone performs a random act of kindness from which you benefit do you show your appreciation in an appropriate and timely way?
Do you RSVP to both social and business events and follow through by either showing up or not showing up depending on what you said you would do?
It should be obvious that if you answered "no" to any or all of these questions that you need to work to increase your graciousness quotient. Don't be so self absorbed...do what you say you will do, say thank you frequently, and show appreciation. The person to whom you have just been rude may be angry with you or have gotten his/her feelings hurt and rudeness that results in hurt feelings is almost always avoidable.
When in doubt show more rather than less appreciation. No one has ever lost friends by being too gracious but poor manners ruin relationships every day.
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