Courtly: (adj) very polite or refined, as befitting a royal court.
Even though I understand that hassle is often what challenges our intelligence and helps us grow, it is certainly natural to try to elude it.
One of the primary ways to do this is to plant, deep within your consciousness, the understanding that everybody in the world has an opinion on how they think they should be treated—and if your approach varies from that, you are opening the door to hassle.
There are so many social movements discussing how men and women should treat each other, or what is considered racially insensitive, that it is time for forward-thinking people to develop a lifestyle that is purposely innocuous, to aid us in dodging conflict.
Cases in point:
Some people appreciate honesty while other people want you to lie to them profusely (especially when it comes to evaluating their appearance or deeds).
There are those who want to be encouraged, and some who require critique.
And we certainly are aware that some travelers are more emotionally sensitive than others.
I will tell you—the only safe profile is to be courtly.
Yes, if you give the same respect to every fellow-shopper at Wal-Mart that you would offer if you were in Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England, you will pretty well guarantee never offending a human being with your profile.
So, if you walk in front of someone, say “Excuse me.”
If you bump into them, remind them of how clumsy you are.
If both of you come to the checkout line at the same time, let them go first.
And if they ask you how they look in their new swimsuit, defer to someone else who has superior wisdom on fashion.