Keeping Things Civil

Let’s talk about civility.

A good definition from the Association of Consultants International (AICI) states that civility is about kindness, consideration, sensitivity, caring, giving and nurturing. It is a code of conduct based on the principles of respect, restraint and responsibility that can be a guide for how we treat each other every day in our personal and professional lives.

During the past decade, there has been more concern about the breakdown of civility, both in behavior and oral discourse. Theorists cite any number of causes, and perhaps each of us has our own opinion about the global decline in long-established core values and standards by which we conduct our lives.

Whatever the contributing factors may be, consensus of those who are researching the issue are in agreement that a change is needed to promote better human relations in all of our interpersonal relationships. To facilitate that change, it will take each of us to notice our own behaviors, to assess our actions, the words we choose and the tone of voice we use with one another. It will take a demeanor that models the definition, and says “I am responsible and accountable for what I do.”

P.M. Forni, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author, said, “To be fully human,Keeping  we must be able to imagine others’ hurt and to relate it to the hurt we would experience if we were in their place.”

If you would like to share your thoughts about civility, please email me at

Miriam Lacher is manager of the Bayside Center for Behavioral Health at Sarasota Memorial.

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