Being Polite is Always in Fashion!

Recently I read that Americans are considered some of the rudest of people from a global perspective.  What has happened to simple politeness and respect for one another?  Gosh if someone opened the door for me I would be grateful and let them know it.  However, apparently I am in the minority.  Some people feel that being polite is an act.  Sorry, but I think you are confused with being polite and brown nosing (otherwise known as sucking up to the boss).  Being polite is sincere and it is the very foundation of respect for yourself and others.  I didn’t realize that I would have to get to basics and remind people that politeness is part of the delivery process, delivery of your image.

In my experience, I have found that people have to be right ALL OF THE TIME, or have the last word.  Sometimes you can be DEAD RIGHT and having the last word is not necessarily in anyone’s interest since it probably goes through one ear and out the other.  Rather than flipping someone off or making crude remarks, try as the cliché says, “kill with kindness.”  That will throw off more people than you can imagine and it’s easier said than done.

When someone cuts you off on the freeway, wave and smile.  Some people just want to get a reaction out of you, but by not reacting and being pleasant you have destroyed their strategy.  You probably know some of these people where you work.  My suggestion is to continue to be polite and eventually when they know they can’t upset you they will quit.  Read the “Dance of Anger,” for some background on that.

Being polite will never be out of fashion.  When someone opens the door for you, say thank you.  If someone holds the elevator, say thank you.  When you ask for something, say please.  And if someone tells you that you look nice today, say thank you rather than telling them “no this ole’ thing,” or “I got it atMarshallsfor $10.99.”  Here are some more reminders:

  • Bring a gift when invited to a party.  Call the next day or write an email      about how great it was and thank them for the invitation.
  • Make sure to RSVP when you’re invited to an event.  This gives them the head      count for food served.
  • If you can’t make an appointment whether in an office or a restaurant, call the person yourself to reschedule.
  • If your company has a function and alcohol is served,  limit yourself.  If meeting with a client over lunch or dinner, avoid alcohol.
  • When you get a sale, thank your new client with a note.  It’s a great start to a new relationship.
  • At work, if a man chooses to open the door for you, a  woman, take the opportunity and thank him.   Remember you can open the door for men as well.
  • When you meet someone for the first time and you are sitting down, stand up and extend your arm and say “It’s a pleasure to meet you . . .”, and finally,
  • Never, ever forget that when someone does a kind gesture for you to be grateful and thank them.



About vseitz

Marketing Professor at California State University, San Bernardino and author of "I Don't Wear A Suit."

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