Being polite means being aware of and respecting the feelings of other people. We may not always notice politeness but we usually notice rudeness or inconsiderate behavior. Politeness is one of the central features of human communication. It is a human phenomenon, yet expressed differently in different cultures. Politeness is communicated both verbally and nonverbally.
Politeness helps us to communicate better. In today’s modern world, much interaction takes place at both personal and professional level. One has to deal with all kinds of people of different temperaments. A person who can get along well with others is successful in life. For this one has to be polite.
Dealing with people is not easy. Business deals, personal interactions, workplace intermingling all require certain conversational skills. One has to get along with the other person. All these communication forms require a person to be polite. Politeness can and will improve your relationships with others, help to build respect and rapport, boost your self-esteem and confidence, and improve your communication skills.
We all know the Japanese are “very polite.” But being polite goes beyond just saying excuse me or thank you or holding the door open for someone. In their context, politeness applies to far more than just people and their actions. In Japanese, you can treat a fragile item “politely” meaning “gently” or “with care.” A birthday present should be wrapped “politely.” This gives a whole new meaning to this character trait.
Politeness can also be synonymous with respect. Putting other people first: giving them the biggest piece of cake, the best seat in the restaurant, or the center position in the photo, are all part of everyday politeness. Politeness is about patience. Waiting in line without complaint, and giving others the chance to express their opinion without someone immediately challenging their words. It’s about listening to others, allowing them to open up. It’s respecting other’s opinions, even when they’re different from yours.
Politeness is about hesitation, that slight verbal delay employed when you have to ask a favor (rather than just barreling right in with your request). And when someone does ask us a favor, so often we are inclined to think: What’s in it for me? Instead, we should be asking: What’s in it for us?
Politeness is about grace. Using your hand to refer to the person standing over there rather than pointing that accusing index finger. It’s about honoring dress codes: dressing well just to please others. Yes, you may be uncomfortable in that shirt and tie, but if you wear jeans out to a nice restaurant, you are making your guest look bad. Think about the people around you and that they might be uncomfortable if you: talk too loud, gossip about others, or wear offensive clothing.
Politeness promotes harmony. But most importantly, try to remember that it’s not all about you — it’s all about us, living in this world together. In short, politeness is the realization that, it’s not all about you! Instead, it’s about us.