Personal Development

Why Are People So Surprised When Someone’s Polite?

Are you surprised when folks have good manners? While common courtesy was expected years ago, courteous behavior is scarce today. In fact, some say that decency and grace are more the exception than the rule.

What does it take to pick up after yourself, be respectful of others, or display proper cell phone etiquette? What does it take to show up on time, wait your turn, or respond to emails in a timely fashion? What does it take to say please and thank you, give someone else a turn, or chew with your mouth closed? (Yes, please.) You shouldn’t be surprised when someone’s polite. After all, as Alexander McCall Smith, the British writer, said, “Manners are the basic building blocks of civil society.”

Yet according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “What the #@$%! Happened to Our Manners at Work?”, people are cursing more and handshaking less, quitting on shorter notice, and waiting longer to answer emails and texts.

Some people say this phenomenon is due to the pandemic — people were isolated from others and that caused some folks to forget how to behave. Others say it’s caused by the decline in face-to-face-communication since the advent of texting, email, and social media.

Some people say things via social media that they’d never say in person.

Being courteous isn’t like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s quite effortless. Yet it seems when people display good manners, it’s not only appreciated…it’s viewed as out of the ordinary. Who would have thought that you could distinguish yourself simply by being polite?

People Notice…Believe Me

What does it say about someone who cuts in line, fails to show gratitude, and would rather watch you work than lift a finger? These are the same folks who look down their nose at people, text at the dinner table, and quite frankly physically look like slobs.

I wonder if they realize, or care about, the message that they’re sending.

Some folks with poor manners offer excuses, such as “I never learned” or “I don’t have the time.” Yet others, with huge egos, may think, “I’m the boss. Manners don’t apply to me.” The fact is, it doesn’t take more effort to be kind, courteous, and respectful. What’s more, when you disregard and disrespect others you show a lack of respect for yourself.

Good manners help make people feel good about themselves, as well as help make others feel good about you.

Make a Good Impression

Some people go to great lengths to make a good impression — when it counts. If it’s possible to be courteous once, why would you lower the bar other times? When you do the right thing day in and day out, it’s habit forming. The converse is also true.

If you want to be a standout in life, sometimes all it takes is doing something ordinary.

Being courteous and considerate isn’t too much to ask. All it takes is a conscious decision to act that way. Show a little pride in yourself. While being polite may seem like a very small deal, behaving that way says a lot about you. As Bryant H. McGill, the thought leader, said, “Good manners are appreciated as much as bad manners are abhorred.” That shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

Check out Frank’s new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.

Are You Surprised When Someone’s Polite?

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.

Additional Reading:
It’s Vital to Say Please and Thank You. Here’s Why…
Mind Your Manners
What Does It Take to Show a Little Kindness?
Ways to Say You Care
Are People Invisible to You?
Do Your Friends Feel Comfortable Around You?
Reputation: You Can’t Run from Your Shadow

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