If I have to say that expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego but a common human behavior. So, can I get a better word or phrase to express this??

  • 1
    Try just calling it "common decency"—no article: "It's just common decency to say thank you." I can't see a reason why you would ever need to put that idea into one word, however.
    – Robusto
    Mar 11, 2015 at 10:05
  • Such things are of course culturally specific. There are cultures where you would not be expected to do that and it would not be rude not to. Mar 11, 2015 at 10:56
  • Well, "human nature" is the most common term for the "usual" behavior of humans. But it tends to have a slightly negative tone to it.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 11, 2015 at 11:48
  • 1
    +1 For a good SWR question. However, please do some research of your own and tell us what you found.
    – Kris
    Mar 11, 2015 at 12:20

13 Answers 13


It is customary to kneel when surrendering to a king.

ODO customary
according to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place, or set of circumstances.
1. according to a person's habitual practice.
1.b. established by or based on custom rather than common law or statute.



From Merriam-Webster

2 a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle

b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern

3: occurring naturally <normal immunity>

"not deviating from a norm"

As some comments and answers have tangentially addressed, saying, "thank you" is not a common human behavior, but it is common within many cultures and subcultures.

Also, Indians do not say please and thank very often. Within families it is almost insulting to say thank you often, as Indians consider this understood within families. Even outside families, please and thank you are not used frequently.


The word "norm" means "something (such as a behavior or way of doing something) that is usual or expected." Compare with how philosophers use the word "normative" to mean "what should be."


Especially because the behavior you are describing is a culturally-dependent norm, normal is an excellent word to describe expected behaviors that are not intrinsically human (such as breathing).


Mores” seems to capture the “generally accepted [conventions]” idea that you’re after, but as mentioned by others, you would still (if not more than ever) need to somehow specify the specific society/culture/group; perhaps, if the context is clear, by simply adding “our”:

“If I have to say that expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego but rather/simply part of our [society’s] mores ….”


Probably as one word you might use courtesy: (M-W)

  • polite behavior that shows respect for other people
  • something that you do because it is polite, kind, etc.
  • This makes sense for the specific example of a 'thank you', but I would never describe "common human behavior" as courteous. If you live somewhere where that's the case, I'd like to come visit.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 12, 2015 at 2:06
  • @DCShannon - I suggest courtesy because I think that 'common human behaviuor' is an euphemistic expression used by OP to refer to 'basic good manners.'
    – user66974
    Mar 12, 2015 at 7:59

Manners - social deportment

1.a way in which a thing is done or happens. 2.a person's outward bearing or way of behaving towards others. 3.polite or well-bred social behaviour.


Instead of this:

expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego but a common human behavior. So, can I get a better word or phrase to express this??

Try this

expecting the courtesy of a 'thank you' or a 'sorry' is not egotistical


How about: expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego but typically human.


If it's common human behavior, then surely it is "regularly and widely used, seen, or accepted : not unusual or special"(Merriam-Webster online) which is one of the meanings of standard; so it may just be standard behavior. It's about human beings in context assuredly. It may also be about (simple, proper, formal or simply about) etiquette, as in "the rules indicating the proper and polite way to behave":

< the couple exhibited poor etiquette when they left the party without saying good-bye to the host and hostess >

[ Merriam-Webster online ]

The focus is on the norms human beings adhere to.


Depending on the context of the sentence, you can always just use the word human.

Expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego, but human.

That would reinforce to the person that you are speaking to that it is not only common, or even that it is a trait, but that every single person would expect the same thing in that situation.

  • +1, This was my immediate answer from the title, although I can see some of these other answers working given the full example sentence.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 12, 2015 at 2:04

If what you want to emphasize is that the expectation of such verbal expressions is something most people experience, and having such an an expectation isn't egotistical, you might express it something like this:

'It's natural and not egotistical to expect someone to say "thank you" or "I'm sorry" when appropriate.'

The "when appropriate" also mitigates the cultural dependence, I think.


I think of common decency as relating to morality and ethics. Saying thank you is the realm of manners or courtesy.

The term I grew up with is common courtesy. It means the everyday expected sort of courtesy, as opposed to all those Ms Manners rules you learned once but most people ignore. Common courtesy is what most people actually do, or at least what everyone is expected to do.


If we can imagine a people who demonstrated those feelings with actions instead of words, you might call it ethnocentric to expect them expressed in a certain way.

Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture.

Having an expectation of someone's behavior could be a type of judging if it draws a conclusion about them, while not being based upon them.

I don't mean any of this in a negative sense. Another example could be traveling abroad and attempting to board a train, expecting people to be polite and orderly like they are back home, only to get shoved around, cut off by a dozen people, and missing the train.


Expecting a thank you or a sorry is not a way of satisfying your ego but a (social) norm.

From wikipedia:

Social norms, the often-unspoken rules of a group, shape not just our behaviours but also our attitudes. An individual’s behavior varies depending on the group(s) they are a part of, a characteristic of society that allows to norms heavily impact society

Regarding your reasoning (and this is off topic), saying "thank you" and sincerely apologizing (when done right) provide benefit to both parties (not just the person to whom they are addressed).

Have a look at http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/09/15/why-thank-you-is-more-than-just-good-manners/ and https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200909/go-ahead-say-youre-sorry

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.