Polite, from Our Primary School Days

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“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” – Eric Hoffer

Being polite to others is a given in the modern society. We were taught in early primary school to say “pardon me”, “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. We were taught to ardently respect the elders and not speak offensive words. We were drilled with notions on how to be polite and avoid being rude since a tender age— and it was in the right.

To be able to succeed in this world we must develop good relationships with people, and the first step in doing so is through politeness. By watching our words and actions in respect to the feelings of others we show respect— and in turn those people come to also respect us. They see polite people as being kind and mature— civilised. Being polite is a two-way street. For giving it we receive it in return. Notions of arrogance and pride are diminished and people will see us as likable people. By being polite we cast ourselves in a shining light.

There may be sometimes however, where being rude is unavoidable. A person who may want to tell the blatant truth in the most assertive manner may be an example, in order to protect the welfare of the other. At times we cannot avoid being rude; it is simply something that must be felt and dealt with. In being angry we also tend to shift our politeness to a distant land and speak at times, words of malice. So that we can show the discontent we harbour and be stern about it. Such examples are present in parent-child relationships, where for the sake of the child, harsh words become a tool. But does that really mean there are times where rudeness is permitted?

Even if we may sometimes feel that politeness is not in the right occasion, we almost always need to display it fervently. Times where rudeness is acceptable are small in number and only apply to strict instances of life, where assertiveness must be shown with ardour— like politics. But even in these cases it should be dealt with a very cautious...
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