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Old 2009-04-03, 06:44   Link #1
Kusa-San
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Politeness in the world

Well, here is my first thread in this section. I want to talk about politeness in the world because I have the belief that the more the time pass the less there is politeness.

Here an example :

When i take the car to go somewhere, i always say hello to the driver. But many people don't do it and i find that disrespectful. The worst is when i say "Hello" to a bus driver and he don't answer me Generally after that i'm in bad mood and i start to mumble a "You, bastard"

Another one :

When i'm in course at my College, sometimes the teacher says "Stop talking please" but even with that there is always some people who talk and don't listen him. It really get on my nerve. I mean we're in College now, we're not children anymore and we're here to learn not to chat about the last week-end and all.

In the end, i really have the belief that there is less and less people who are polite. So i was wondering if it was the same around you ? And if i'm the only one thinking like that.
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Old 2009-04-03, 07:09   Link #2
Clarste
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I'm pretty sure you're not the only one thinking like that. I wouldn't be surprised if there are studies showing the same thing. At a guess, I'd say it has to do with increased anonymity that comes from increasing population and urbanization. And possibly the internet.

That said, I'm wondering where you're getting the idea that politeness is decreasing over time from. Your examples certainly show a snapshot of modern rudeness, but how do you know for sure that people used to be politer in the past? Is that just an assumption you made, or were people actually politer back when you were in high school, and even politer in middle school, etc etc? I doubt the shift would be noticeable over such a short time frame, and your data would be skewed by the ages of your peers (children are indeed children). There are quite a few things that get distorted by nostalgia, so you can't take stories of the "good old days" at face value. Not to mention the fact that awareness of problems can change over time without the issues themselves actually changing in any way.
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Old 2009-04-03, 07:12   Link #3
Jan-Poo
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There are a few factors that need be considered.

1) Higher population usually means a lower level of politeness. A good example is the greeting. In rural regions it is often considered perfetctly normal that two persons that cross each other path should greet each other, even if they never met before (althought that usually doesn't happen). However that is very impractical in a big city. I mean you can cross the path of 100 different persons in a single minute, you cannot greet all of them.
You mentioned the car driver, that's a little different, but in the case of a bus driver, it might be just a single trip in a day for you but for them you might be the 1000th passenger.
This kind of environment tend to modify someone's perception of other. When you are used to ignore people you'll end up ignoring them even in other contests.

2) Cultural differences. I see you are french, i'm not surprised you care about politeness because your culture is one that enforces it. My sister has been living in Paris for six months, she once told me she's been criticized because after buying something from a shop she didn't say "merci". As a total opposite i've been in some east european countries and i noticed that people there do not mind too much about thanking each other.
Now the western world is becoming multiethnic and cultural differences might shake the balance of perceived politeness.
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Old 2009-04-03, 07:15   Link #4
Narona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kusa-San View Post
Well, here is my first thread in this section. I want to talk about politeness in the world because I have the belief that the more the time pass the less there is politeness.
It can be because of a lack of good manners, but also because in the current modern societies, people tend to be put under stress in their everyday life. And so are more easily irritated.

Quote:
Here an example :

When i take the car to go somewhere, i always say hello to the driver. But many people don't do it and i find that disrespectful. The worst is when i say "Hello" to a bus driver and he don't answer me Generally after that i'm in bad mood and i start to mumble a "You, bastard"
I guess you mean the "bus". Anyway, in this case, it's a lack of good manners, yeah =(

Quote:
Another one :

When i'm in course at my College, sometimes the teacher says "Stop talking please" but even with that there is always some people who talk and don't listen him. It really get on my nerve. I mean we're in College now, we're not children anymore and we're here to learn not to chat about the last week-end and all.
You're french too, so I can say that I understand you But, being in college doesn't mean that a person who lacks good manners and education will magically become a lady/gentleman because she/he enters college. So about those people, the problem exists for years.

Quote:
In the end, i really have the belief that there is less and less people who are polite. So i was wondering if it was the same around you ? And if i'm the only one thinking like that
Maybe... About our schools and parents here in France, it's different than in the past. Now, it happens often that the two parents have a job and spend less time with their children, while one or two generations ago, it was more common to see one person of the couple (the wife most often) taking care of their children.

But anyway, even if they have a job, some parents have difficulties to build a good link with their children here... at the end of the day, the children "could" be more influenced by their friends, rather than by their parents. And if their friends lacks good manners and curse people...

About the school, they are less rigorous than in the past, for the best or the worst (the worst if you ask me)=


Anyway, if you're polite and all, you don't have to change because the others are not Gentlemen and ladies still exist ya know, so you're not alone.

Last edited by Narona; 2009-04-03 at 07:35.
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Old 2009-04-03, 07:15   Link #5
Slice of Life
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As for bus drivers, I only expect them to to their job. It's a shitty job anyway so I don't mind them being in bad mood.

And keeping your mouth shut in class has not so much to do with politeness but with respecting the rights of others. That's a different thing.
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Old 2009-04-03, 08:03   Link #6
Sinfully Naomi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narona View Post
It can be because of a lack of good manners, but also because in the current modern societies, people tend to be put under stress in their everyday life. And so are more easily irritated.
That's a very important factor, you can't expect someone who is overworked, and stressed from a marraige or something to naturally just be polite to you.

Quote:
I guess you mean the "bus". Anyway, in this case, it's a lack of good manners, yeah =(
I think when Kusa-San said car, it was meant as a cab or a taxi.


About the topic in general. IMO, I think you are asking a bit too much. Sure it would be nice for more polite people in the world, but I think you are only thinking of yourself in this.(not in a bad way, just not considering how the other person feels) Other people may be going through things. The bus driver is an example, what if the bus driver has a bad throat, and can't talk? Or what if he's in a bad mood, and refrained from talking at all as to not explode at anyone. Next time someone is being rude as you say, take a good look at their facial expression, and try to see their emotion.

Clarste brings up a good point as well. Since none of us lived in the distant past, and have no firsthand information fo how polite people may or may not have been, there's no actual proof that anything may have chnaged over that timespan at all. For all you know, it may have even gotten better for all we know.

There are also problems if a child was brought up rudely. Very rarely will a child change from things instilled in him/her at the age of 3-4. If soemone is treated badly, they are most likely going to reflect that back, and treat eveyrone else around them badly. It's sad, but true.
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Old 2009-04-03, 08:05   Link #7
Hs Vi Germania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kusa-San View Post
Well, here is my first thread in this section. I want to talk about politeness in the world because I have the belief that the more the time pass the less there is politeness.

Here an example :

When i take the car to go somewhere, i always say hello to the driver. But many people don't do it and i find that disrespectful. The worst is when i say "Hello" to a bus driver and he don't answer me Generally after that i'm in bad mood and i start to mumble a "You, bastard"

Another one :

When i'm in course at my College, sometimes the teacher says "Stop talking please" but even with that there is always some people who talk and don't listen him. It really get on my nerve. I mean we're in College now, we're not children anymore and we're here to learn not to chat about the last week-end and all.

In the end, i really have the belief that there is less and less people who are polite. So i was wondering if it was the same around you ? And if i'm the only one thinking like that.
I only say "hello" to persons I know VERY well.
Else I prefer "Good afternoon", in German "Guten Tag" which equals "Good Day", but it is the most polite form in German.
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Old 2009-04-03, 08:12   Link #8
Clarste
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinfully Naomi View Post
Clarste brings up a good point as well. Since none of us lived in the distant past, and have no firsthand information fo how polite people may or may not have been, there's no actual proof that anything may have chnaged over that timespan at all. For all you know, it may have even gotten better for all we know.
When you put it like it makes me think the Greek play Oedipus Rex. This is the famous tragedy where Oedipus accidentally kills his father and marries his mother. The important point here is that he met a stranger on the road and killed him for very little reason. And no one cares until it turns out that the stranger was his father who he'd never met. Apparently, in ancient Greece, killing strangers on the road was within the realm of acceptable behavior, possibly due to fears of bandits and the society of close knit city-states. People not saying "hello" to strangers looks somewhat different in that light.
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Old 2009-04-03, 08:19   Link #9
Sinfully Naomi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarste View Post
When you put it like it makes me think the Greek play Oedipus Rex. This is the famous tragedy where Oedipus accidentally kills his father and marries his mother. The important point here is that he met a stranger on the road and killed him for very little reason. And no one cares until it turns out that the stranger was his father who he'd never met. Apparently, in ancient Greece, killing strangers on the road was within the realm of acceptable behavior, possibly due to fears of bandits and the society of close knit city-states. People not saying "hello" to strangers looks somewhat different in that light.
Heheh. I find that a bit funny actually. I mean, we make a big deal about people not sayign hello to us, yet this guy accidently kills his father. I mean, that has to be the worst irony ever. I've heard it, very vaguely, though, so I can't go much further in my speculation of that short passage of it.

Although, that would mean politeness and etiquite have gotten better over time...

(Odd situation, I just saw my friend, and I told him I was just talkign abotu politeness in the world with you guys, and he came up and said. "I was here for a while, and you didn't even say hi!")
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Last edited by Sinfully Naomi; 2009-04-03 at 08:32.
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:19   Link #10
KimmyChan
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I try to say hello to as many people as possible who I pass in the street everyday

Regardless of whether I know them or not, it's polite & common courtesy

Even more so in my line of work aswell, as I'm dealing with customers 8 hours a day 4 days a week
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:34   Link #11
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it all depends on what kind of politeness we talk about. i can divide it into formal (saying hello) and practical (Kusa-san's 2nd example).
formal politeness is just a tradition. noone really needs it and people do it because everyone does it (also because their parents told them to). "sorry" and "thank you" have become reflexes, most people dont stop to really think what those words mean (or should mean)
practical politeness, on the other hand, is...well, practical. it has better (imho) reason to exist.
if students are still talking when the proffesor comes in, it means the students are making him wait for no good reason, while the proffesor would have liked to start the lecture.
EDIT
i'm only polite with my friends. and with other people, only when something crucial depends on it. i wouldnt say that im being rude, though. i dont curse people)
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Last edited by idiffer; 2009-04-03 at 10:46.
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:42   Link #12
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinfully Naomi View Post
I think when Kusa-San said car, it was meant as a cab or a taxi.
Non... en français, car = autocar = bus. What rosbifs call "car" would be a voiture. Anyway, the car=bus explanation would seem to make a lot more sense in the context of what Kusa-san wrote.

I'm also wondering whether Kusa-san meant "collège" in the French context, i.e. "middle school". I'm sorry to say this, but middle school pupils are children and generally do act like children. They're also at the age where going against authority is seen as "cool". It's the same in every country.

I find my own politeness level changing depending on where I am and who I'm interacting with. I say "hello" and "thank you" to bus drivers in England but not in Hong Kong. I hold doors open for the next person at my university and at the hospital, but not at the shopping centre (unless the next person happens to be elderly or disabled). My change in behaviour occurs subconsciously and I only realise it in retrospect. Generally speaking, however, I am polite to someone when I'm interacting directly with him/her, i.e. after I've made a conscious decision to open my mouth to communicate.
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:49   Link #13
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A simple way to lift the spirit of others is to smile naturally. The body language should soothe even the most worked up people.
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:56   Link #14
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
A simple way to lift the spirit of others is to smile naturally. The body language should soothe even the most worked up people.
that is a very good example. the key word here is "naturally".
did you mean "smile in a way, in which people will think you are really happy, although you may be not "?
or "smile if you are happy and dont smile if you are not"
the first option, imho, is just lying to people.
politeness a strange thing. it teaches you that lies can be good. Vs. the common "lying is bad"
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d) I was accidentally dropped into a barrel of whiskey, so now I am constantly drunk.
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Old 2009-04-03, 10:58   Link #15
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idiffer View Post
that is a very good example. the key word here is "naturally".
did you mean "smile in a way, in which people will think you are really happy, although you may be not "?
or "smile if you are happy and dont smile if you are not"
the first option, imho, is just lying to people.
I usually try to think of something funny and 99% of the time, I succeed in making myself laugh or smile naturally. Recently, that "funny" thing has been Taiga from Toradora.
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Old 2009-04-03, 11:01   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idiffer View Post
that is a very good example. the key word here is "naturally".
did you mean "smile in a way, in which people will think you are really happy, although you may be not "?
or "smile if you are happy and dont smile if you are not"
the first option, imho, is just lying to people.
politeness a strange thing. it teaches you that lies can be good. Vs. the common "lying is bad"
Well, a fake smile will get to you eventually. When you snap and start yelling at people... yeah, it's not nice.
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Old 2009-04-03, 11:11   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idiffer View Post
that is a very good example. the key word here is "naturally".
did you mean "smile in a way, in which people will think you are really happy, although you may be not "?
or "smile if you are happy and dont smile if you are not"
the first option, imho, is just lying to people.
politeness a strange thing. it teaches you that lies can be good. Vs. the common "lying is bad"
Have you read "Social intelligence" by Daniel Goleman? Very interesting book. Politeness is not just a matter of formality. It does matter. Your mood will affect others. So be nice
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Old 2009-04-03, 11:16   Link #18
Yukinokesshou
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Have you read "Social intelligence" by Daniel Goleman? Very interesting book. Politeness is not just a matter of formality. It does matter. Your mood will affect others. So be nice
Yes... what starts out as "pretending" and "lying" can actually turn into something genuine. This is what I mean: by pretending to be happy and friendly (and succeeding at it), you could improve the mood of the person you're interacting with. In turn, that person will be genuinely nice to you, which might actually make you genuinely happy as well! I'm speaking from experience here.
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Old 2009-04-03, 11:30   Link #19
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iLney, you got me interested. i'll try searching for it on torrents.
but i mostly know that it makes others happy. the point is
1) you are still lying
2) most people dont do it to help others feel better, as i've stated earlier. rather to form a higher opinion of themselves in the eyes of the person they are talking to.
Yukinokesshou, i also read a book which said that forcefully smiling will eventually make you feel happy even without other people around.
i'm not a fan of this technique...
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a) I’m batshit insane or mentally challenged. Nyan!
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d) I was accidentally dropped into a barrel of whiskey, so now I am constantly drunk.
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Old 2009-04-03, 11:45   Link #20
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Firstly, I would like to make a point that, courtesy impounded upon others is always an excuse for dominance and is often entirely whimsical. Never be polite to someone who asks you to be polite with him/her, you are degrading the value of respect that way (given the way how people often bootlick their way out and up, it is like respect has got any value left in society anymore).

I am never polite, but I know I am honest when I tell others to shove off. Courtesy is a form of respect, and when people don't speak to you nicely in that way, it is obviously that you don't deserve any because respect is to be earned, it is no way an entitlement. Besides, wouldn't it be better to show respect by actions rather than words? Isn't that what politeness is supposed to be in the first place?

You can ask an old woman "How are you doing?" in a nice tone, but if you are not going to give up your seat to her, that is dumb.

Just two cents, standing my ground, and not moving. Bring on the storm of criticism.
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