Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea and Courtesy

This post was inspired by Tea V's blog post titled Cup of Tea & Courtesy.

I think a lot about the factors that contribute to either courteous or disrespectful behavior, both on an individual and group level. We all know certain circumstances in which it's easy to be respectful (with people we like, when everything is going well), and others in which it is more of a challenge (when we are under stress, or when we interact with others who are being disrespectful towards us).

I've often thought about what I can do to help both myself and others be respectful. In spite of the fact that I want to be respectful at all times, I find I regularly fall short of this ideal. I'm always searching for ways I can help myself deal gracefully with the most difficult situations.

Human contact is very important--eye contact and touch can help a great deal. There's a fascinating NY Times article about the importance of touch in both communication and relaxation. I think that the absence of these nonverbal connections partly explains why people are likely to be disrespectful when interacting on internet forums and over email.

How can tea help?

The act of holding a warm cup of tea is comforting and puts you at ease. There's even some scientific evidence that holding a warm cup can make you more likely to act generously. The mindful act of slowly drinking hot tea I also find to calm the mind and body...putting one in a mindset in which it's easier to be courteous of others. Maybe tea can make it a little bit easier for us to move closer to that ideal of being respectful of all people at all times.


  1. Illuminating...thanks!

  2. Very good points! I firmly believe tea help improve people's courtesy! So far I've found tea drinkers are generally a group of super nice people. And compared with other online forums, tea forums are generally more peaceful.