Politeness Goes a Long Way

Kaylee - Rancho Mirage/CA/92270, California
Entered on May 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I’ll always remember when I was younger, before going to a friend’s house for a sleepover or after the dentist would give me fun prizes, my parents would never fail to say “Don’t forget your pleases and thankyou’s”, or “What do you say?”. Although I, as a child, was usually either annoyed at the constant repetition of a statement I already had been told umpteenth number of times, or confused as to why I should say thank you for something that I had clearly earned through being the best patient there ever was, I am grateful to this day that my parents always took the time to teach me simple, everyday manners.

I believe that politeness really does go a long way. I have learned through simply being polite that you will get further with what you’re trying to achieve, attain or whatever the case may be, than if you are rude, indifferent, or offensive. I have heard many times, “That person is talented, but they’re not going anywhere with that attitude.” And it is true; having a positive attitude and treating people with the same courtesy you would want will help you become successful. It reflects both a positive view on yourself and those who have influenced you, such as your parents.

As cliché as it sounds, using your manners can really make someone’s day brighter. A simple “Thank you” to the hardworking waitress who brought you, and the twenty-some other customers dining there, your soda, is a good start. Several years ago, my family and I were out to dinner. I vividly remember the waitress being extremely friendly throughout the night, making sure to check on us and our food. Towards the end of the night, the waitress thanked us and told us how polite my brother and I were. “I am so impressed. I have never served such delightful and polite kids.” By simply using our manners, we made someone else’s job much easier and enjoyable.

The truth of the matter is, the little things really do matter. I know personally that I appreciate it when someone thanks me for giving them a ride home after school. But this doesn’t mean you have to be overly proper to the point of uptight, nor take advantage of being polite for the sole purpose of getting something you want.

I know you may be thinking there are bigger issues and problems in the world than manners, or lack thereof, and that it’s really not that big of a deal whether or not you thank the next person that does something for you. But I truly believe that being polite has an extremely large impact on our society. It’s like a “pay-it-forward” cycle. Just by thanking or greeting someone with a smile, will in turn make them feel better and thus pass on the kindness to others. Eventually, this could potentially relieve or lessen those “bigger” issues such as war, discrimination, murder, hate crimes, and more.