The Power of Politeness

Shari - Davenport, Iowa
Entered on February 27, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: respect

I Believe in the Power of Politeness. When did it become out of fashion to be polite and considerate of others? Was there a summit that I missed in the last few years where it was declared that kindness, politeness, and consideration were out of vogue? If so, I didn’t catch that press release so I am apparently so, so yesterday.

This trend became apparent to me this past year when a friend referred to me as “annoyingly polite”. I was completely floored by this remark, and it took awhile to analyze why it was so bothersome. I was raised in a family of six children, and we were taught at a very early age to say please, thank you, and to clean up after yourself. We followed the Golden Rule…and while as adults we don’t always hit the mark, I can say that all of my siblings and their children (mine included) are unfailingly polite.

What is the problem? The problem is that our society no longer recognizes that as a valued personality trait. It’s become much more common to hear vulgarities, rudeness, unkind comments, and other garbage spew from the mouths of our society. This is compounded by the fact that we get to hear this putrid junk in all settings, since speaking this way on your cell phone in the grocery store, or in line at the coffee shop, has become the norm rather than the exception.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of zingers, one-liners, and the well-timed sarcastic remark. As a humorous and oftentimes goofy personality, I’m all for teasing coworkers, friends, family and the occasional random person. I’m also a fan of not using that side of my personality in a mean-spirited, unkind, or nasty way. What completely surprises me is the number of folks who become successful by being so overtly unconsiderate of others.

What good can possibly be accomplished by rudeness? Don’t we have enough issues with our world in general that being unkind to each other? As Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, stated in the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, …whatever anything else is, it ought to start by being personal..”

As for me, I will continue to put on my rose-colored glasses and be polite as often as possible. I will continue to open the door for mothers with strollers, say please, thank-you, and have a nice day to the grocery store clerk. When someone goes out of the way to provide good service, I will thank them with a sincere remark. When I make a mess, I will continue to clean up after myself. I’m praying that polite power becomes the norm, because kindness propagates kindness. I believe in Polite Power!.