In my last post, I talked about there are some things I pay attention to when meeting Seekers. The first one I want to talk about is courtesy.
What is courtesy?
People sometimes think it means formal manners – but I mean something more general, the idea of making the other person feel comfortable and at home in the conversation. Different people and communities also have different standards of behavior or things they care about. For example: my workplace is fairly casual in terms of dress, but it’s expected that people eat lunch together in the lunch room and do some other cordial interactions that aren’t as common in other workplaces.
When someone’s looking to enter a new community (as Seekers are), and especially when it’s one that is fairly small and close-knit, one of the things I’m interested in is whether they appear to be able to pick up the community’s culture and work within it. This doesn’t mean you need to all think the same way, or react the same way! It just means that you can navigate the differences without a lot of rough edges and drama. For example, if it’s courteous in a particular community to bring food to share to events, or to take off your shoes at the door, can you do those things without making a big deal about how, in your house, you don’t do it that way? Asking questions is fine, throwing a temper tantrum is not so much.
When I talk about courtesy, here, I also mean something very basic: a simple respect for the other person and their time and energy. It’s about paying attention to any preferences that are expressed. In a number of in-person Pagan settings, you’re either taking someone’s time away from other things they might be doing (i.e. asking a favor), or you’re sometimes even in their home. How you approach that definitely gets noticed.