How to Be Polite

How to Be Polite – The Message – Medium

This may not seem relevant to a pain blog, but if we want folks to listen to us, to understand and empathize with our pain, we have to make ourselves likable.

Instead of being practiced as insincerity, this article shows that genuine politeness can be very helpful to get your point across.

Most people don’t notice I’m polite, which is sort of the point.

…surprised to see the stubborn power of politeness over time. Over time. That’s the thing. Mostly we talk about politeness in the moment.  

What I found most appealing was the way that the practice of etiquette let you draw a protective circle around yourself and your emotions.

My ability to go to a party and speak to anyone about anything, to natter and ask questions, to turn the conversation relentlessly towards the speaker, meant that I was gathering huge amounts of information about other people.

But a whole class of problems goes away from my life because I see people as having around them a two or three foot invisible buffer.

Whatever happens inside that buffer is entirely up to them. It has nothing to do with me.

Politeness buys you time. It leaves doors open.

I’ve met so many people whom, if I had trusted my first impressions, I would never have wanted to meet again. And yet — many of them are now great friends

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things.

The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens.

It seems that patience is a big part of politeness.

You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment.

I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is.

Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.  

I believe these are excellent tips for advocates and amount to “taking the high road”.

Then, even if you lose an argument, you will still be respected and listened to. But if we allow our anger, outrage, and frustration expression, we will quickly be shut out of any debate and not be listened to at all.


6 thoughts on “How to Be Polite

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Oh, but I do!

      That’s exactly why being polite is so important. When the anti-opioid hysteria is so powerful that my voice can barely be heard over the cacophony, “taking the high road” is the only way I can feel ok about myself.

      Keeping my cool is necessary for my own sake, not theirs :-)


    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Not really. Acting and speaking politely while feeling intense anger & frustration is a triumph of self-control and extremely diificult, but it keeps our dignity and decency in tact for the next time, and the next, and the next.

      Being polite keeps people listening instead of shutting me out completely. We can’t persuade anyone by having an angry fit and insulting them.



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