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Manners/being polite

Ban

Active Member
I struggle to view what is normally just considered good manners as anything other than manipulative. I can say please and thankyou without this feeling but once I start faking what I'm really feeling or what my thoughts are in order to keep someone happy and make a situation go my way I feel like I am manipulating the person. I am aware that other people don't consider this manipulation but I am often aware that someone is only doing what I want simply because I buttered them up correctly before I asked the favour or whatever and it makes me feel guilty as though I have my honest thing I want to say and then I'm adding a fictional narrative of feelings that don't exist around it which makes my thing be accepted where it wouldn't have by itself.
I find that I don't mind doing this with people I don't know and it creates much better outcomes for me but if I have any respect for someone I can't bring myself to what I consider to be manipulate them to create goodwill.
What I'm trying to understand is why does everybody else seem to be doing this but without any negative connotations? I don't think its useful that I feel this way because it stops me using what people would consider to be just normal manners. Is there something I'm missing or not understanding as to why its okay to manipulate the narrative you are presenting someone in a way that will create the most goodwill?
 

Captain Jigglypuff

Leader of the Jigglypuff Army
V.I.P Member
I am generally polite mostly because of the way I was raised. The woman who helped raise me did a good job in the manners and politeness category even if she could be really rude at times. People are often impressed that I am considerate of others and that I always thank people when necessary. I also follow some cultural etiquette such as the Japanese etiquette of never wearing shoes inside someone’s home and I will take off my shoes if I am going to be inside someone’s home for more than a couple minutes.
 

Yeshuasdaughter

You know, that one lady we met that one time.
V.I.P Member
It is not manipulation. Good manners show the other person that you care about them, and place their needs above your own.

In school, long ago, they used to teach a class called "Elocution and Deportment" which means "Proper Speaking and Etiquette". It is why Grandma and Grandpa were such good hosts.

A good handshake, tidy grooming, and polite eating all make a good impression.

Please and thank you show everyone that you are kind and thoughtful.

Opening the door or giving up a seat for ladies, elderly, disabled, or small children show that you were raised to protect people who are not as strong as you. It also shows you value their comfort above your own.

@Captain Jigglypuff I also take my shoes off in people's houses. I don't want to track anything into the house.
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I went to private school for 11 years in the UK. It even had houses like HP - Dragons, Griffins and Phoenix. Good manners and elocution were hammered into us. Same goes for looking smart in uniform and such like. Back in the day, the founder of the school lived on the top 2 floors of the building with her family and lots of animals. She started the school with parents donations back in the 70's. I went in the 90's and a fair few of the original teachers were still there, but in their late 60's through to one teacher who was in her 80's.

It was rather quaint and old fashioned. The school eventually got sold and has become corporate now.

sanctonwood-main.jpg


To be honest, anything can be used as manipulation, but politeness needn't always be a tool to get what you want. Truth be told, being the help is a good way to blend in with people who might make you feel uneasy. Being the nice and helpful person does help ease friction in life. But it can also be used to grease the wheels too.

What is your intent is the best way to gauge if your politeness is being helpful or disingenuous. Everyone wears masks when socialising though. My default is shy, helpful and polite. Around those I'm close to it's a lot more energetic and a complete oddball. Being odd comes with judgements and stigma, hence why being helpful is simply another social mask.

Be careful with guilt, as a lot of what we feel is artificial guilt, which is an unnecessary burden we often put on ourselves. Mind you, so is helping other people. It can become something you crave if you feel good when you help others. But if you chase that feeling, much like any other addiction - you end up feeling rather empty and worn out.

Ed
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I went to private school for 11 years in the UK. It even had houses like HP - Dragons, Griffins and Phoenix. Good manners and elocution were hammered into us. Same goes for looking smart in uniform and such like. Back in the day, the founder of the school lived on the top 2 floors of the building with her family and lots of animals. She started the school with parents donations back in the 70's. I went in the 90's and a fair few of the original teachers were still there, but in their late 60's through to one teacher who was in her 80's.

It was rather quaint and old fashioned. The school eventually got sold and has become corporate now.

sanctonwood-main.jpg


To be honest, anything can be used as manipulation, but politeness needn't always be a tool to get what you want. Truth be told, being the help is a good way to blend in with people who might make you feel uneasy. Being the nice and helpful person does help ease friction in life. But it can also be used to grease the wheels too.

What is your intent is the best way to gauge if your politeness is being helpful or disingenuous. Everyone wears masks when socialising though. My default is shy, helpful and polite. Around those I'm close to it's a lot more energetic and a complete oddball. Being odd comes with judgements and stigma, hence why being helpful is simply another social mask.

Be careful with guilt, as a lot of what we feel is artificial guilt, which is an unnecessary burden we often put on ourselves. Mind you, so is helping other people. It can become something you crave if you feel good when you help others. But if you chase that feeling, much like any other addiction - you end up feeling rather empty and worn out.

Ed

Keep that school in mind in case of a zombie apocalyspe.

;)
 

Ban

Active Member
I think as @Raggamuffin said its maybe intent behind it should be important. I think what makes me feel guilty is when I see how much differently people respond to me when I add in poltiness and I wonder if I just engineered that situation.
To give an example that I feel is moving away from just basic manners to manipulation would be if I wanted to ask someone a favour. My honest instinct would be to just approach them and put my cards on the table. However I have noticed that if I start with small talk and give the person an pleasant interaction first and then slip into what I'm asking I get a hugely different response. Perhaps I might even add something about why I thought to ask this particular person and why I thought they'd be the person to ask. Suddenly my politiess is making a huge difference as to whether or not I get what I want and I'm not even really sure how honest it was. Would this be manipulation or would this count as just being polite?
I think some of the examples from @Yeshuasdaughter I would be on board with. I take my shoes off to in peoples houses too because I don't want to get their floors dirty. I do generally want to make peoples lives easier and not inconvenience them where possible but its more when the intention I have doesn't match. So I'm happy to take my shoes off because I genuinely don't want to cause them any issues. I feel uncomfortable about making it look like I have good intentions that are not really there though.
 

Ban

Active Member
With please and thankyou I do say them but I feel they mean nothing because I have to say them. If I actually want someone to know I am grateful I will say something I like "I appreciate you doing that for me". I think the fact you have to say please and thankyou makes them completely meaninglessness and I think people don't really mean them everytime they say them.
 

StrayCat

Member
However I have noticed that if I start with small talk and give the person an pleasant interaction first and then slip into what I'm asking I get a hugely different response.
I think that's because most people actually hate helping, unless they deem you "worthy of their time". So you literally make it worth their time by "buttering them up". And "buttering up" works because humans tend to crave external validation.

Could think about it as a transaction, because it actually is social transaction. You seem actually way better at it than me. I hate lying and masking, and I'm usually way too scared to go beyond simple politeness anyway... :catface:
 

Calrid

Member
Put yourself in someone elses shoes: if someone came up to you and just said "I want to buy some apples from you, here's the money thanks" and left without acknowledging you as a person, how would you feel? Me I'd think that was great personally, I'm out of this social situation as soon as possible, but not everyone is me. And there it is.
 

Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
With please and thankyou I do say them but I feel they mean nothing because I have to say them. If I actually want someone to know I am grateful I will say something I like "I appreciate you doing that for me". I think the fact you have to say please and thankyou makes them completely meaninglessness and I think people don't really mean them everytime they say them.

But what if you decide you want to say them? As opposed to having to say them? You know, as in, you choose to say them because you want to acknowledge the person you are interacting with as a human being and to show them respect and goodwill? You can do that, even though it's what everyone says and some people don't mean it. Well, there's no reason you can't mean it! And if you mean it, you're not manipulating anyone.

Saying appreciative things in your own words, like you're doing, is fantastic!

I kind of get it - and to me the main problem is people saying things they don't really mean just to get what they want. Not saying these things if you mean them.

Sort of like, in the English language and Anglo culture, "How are you?" is mostly just rhetorical and usually answered with, "I'm fine, thank you very much!" even if you're meeting in the doctor's waiting room with serious ailments. There's other cultures where that question is more meaningful, e.g. in Irish Gaelic, there's five common replies to the same question, ranging from "On top of the world!" through "Well" and "OK" and "Not so well" to "One foot in the grave." And people use them, to give an actual answer about their wellbeing!

I prefer the way the Irish do that. And when I ask people, "How are you?" I care about the answer, and I think people can usually tell. You can do the same. It's kind of like Christmas - just because it's been turned into a ridiculous commercial event doesn't mean you can't make it into something that works for you and your values, at your house!

If you don't like something about a culture, you can always make the way you do XYZ more in line with how you think it would be better.

PS: @Raggamuffin, what a gorgeous building! :hearteyecat:
 
Last edited:

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
I have issues with this. If I'm not conscious of exactly how I'm presenting myself down to every word then I often come off in a false or negative light.
 

Ban

Active Member
But what if you decide you want to say them? As opposed to having to say them? You know, as in, you choose to say them because you want to acknowledge the person you are interacting with as a human being and to show them respect and goodwill? You can do that, even though it's what everyone says and some people don't mean it. Well, there's no reason you can't mean it! And if you mean it, you're not manipulating anyone.

Saying appreciative things in your own words, like you're doing, is fantastic!

I kind of get it - and to me the main problem is people saying things they don't really mean just to get what they want. Not saying these things if you mean them.

Sort of like, in the English language and Anglo culture, "How are you?" is mostly just rhetorical and usually answered with, "I'm fine, thank you very much!" even if you're meeting in the doctor's waiting room with serious ailments. There's other cultures where that question is more meaningful, e.g. in Irish Gaelic, there's five common replies to the same question, ranging from "On top of the world!" through "Well" and "OK" and "Not so well" to "One foot in the grave." And people use them, to give an actual answer about their wellbeing!

I prefer the way the Irish do that. And when I ask people, "How are you?" I care about the answer, and I think people can usually tell. You can do the same. It's kind of like Christmas - just because it's been turned into a ridiculous commercial event doesn't mean you can't make it into something that works for you and your values, at your house!

If you don't like something about a culture, you can always make the way you do XYZ more in line with how you think it would be better.

PS: @Raggamuffin, what a gorgeous building! :hearteyecat:
I like the Irish way that you described because it is actually communicating something. I think as you said it's the saying things without meaning them. So if someone actually wants to know how I am then asking "how are you?" is perfectly reasonable. I think I feel like if I actually think something/want to know something about you, I'll say it/ask because I'm being geunine and not because it would be considered polite for me to say that thing. I think probably what you were saying about changing the common phrases so that you are actually saying it and not just pretending would work well for me.
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
Hello @Ban

I see it the same exact way that you are describing. For some time I also felt that I had to chosse if being authentic and honest, or play their game and get good resoults.

Now I see it a bit different. On one hand there is some basic small talk and body language to show the other person they are welcome and liked (which is the equivalent of dogs smelling each other and its important for humans). So that part is not fake or manipulative to me anymore. Its like I am doing some important part of human communication that is wired in human brains as an instictive behavour but just happens to not be wired in mine. So I think this smile, "how are you", say something nice is not manipulation anymore. Now I see it like as an extended welcome that is needed by others to feel confortable to iniciate the conversation phase.

On the other hand there are specific selling techniques and communication ways designed on purpose to disarm the other person and manipulate them. Those are not natural on humans and must be studied even by NT. How do I put the limit into what feels nice to me or not? The limit is the purpose.

If the "politness" is focused on making the other person welcome so they can express themselves freely without having fear to be judged or rejected, then its OK. Its a win win situation, so my politness has no manipulative nature and I am not using it as a weapon.

If the "politness" is focused on disarm the other person and direct them to spill some secret they could naturally not want to say, or to low their defenses so I can put my ideas on their brains, or to hurt their self confidence, or to make them feel inferior, or... then is not a win win situation and there is manipulative nature on myself and thus is not correct. I may do it anyway depending on the situation, but I am aware of my manipulative behavour.

The same goes in reverse mode. If people uses basic good will politeness with me, I take it as a good will intention so I realax and accept their gift (even if I dont care of the politeness thing, I do care of their good will towards me). If people uses manipulative techniques on me I do become more alert and put a red flag on those people. Some sellers and people in lead possitions do it automatically without bad intentions, but its good to be very aware since those techniques do work at emotional levels that I may not be aware.

So to me, you are totally rigth in being concern and reflect about this topic. I think you will have to get to some kind of solution that satisfy both your inner values and your need of resoults.
 

Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
I like the Irish way that you described because it is actually communicating something. I think as you said it's the saying things without meaning them. So if someone actually wants to know how I am then asking "how are you?" is perfectly reasonable. I think I feel like if I actually think something/want to know something about you, I'll say it/ask because I'm being geunine and not because it would be considered polite for me to say that thing. I think probably what you were saying about changing the common phrases so that you are actually saying it and not just pretending would work well for me.

I'm sure you will find a way to make things work for you! :)

It's funny for me because I wasn't born in the Anglo culture, I only emigrated to it at age 11. I really noticed that people didn't usually talk "straight" very readily in Anglo culture, often said things they didn't mean, and there was lots of smiling in the face and later stabbing in the back. The German culture I'd been educated in previously was far more straight-talking, although not quite as straight-talking as another culture I read about later. There's an except on how people in that particular culture communicate in a recent thread, and why the Anglo culture might be so "fake", here: Feeling Stupid Whenever I Socialize

I wonder if that way of operating would make more sense to you... although at the moment, emigrating there can't be recommended...
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
I'm sure you will find a way to make things work for you! :)

It's funny for me because I wasn't born in the Anglo culture, I only emigrated to it at age 11. I really noticed that people didn't usually talk "straight" very readily in Anglo culture, often said things they didn't mean, and there was lots of smiling in the face and later stabbing in the back. The German culture I'd been educated in previously was far more straight-talking, although not quite as straight-talking as another culture I read about later. There's an except on how people in that particular culture communicate in a recent thread, and why the Anglo culture might be so "fake", here: Feeling Stupid Whenever I Socialize

I wonder if that way of operating would make more sense to you... although at the moment, emigrating there can't be recommended...

You would love latin cultures :D
 
I am generally polite mostly because of the way I was raised. The woman who helped raise me did a good job in the manners and politeness category even if she could be really rude at times. People are often impressed that I am considerate of others and that I always thank people when necessary. I also follow some cultural etiquette such as the Japanese etiquette of never wearing shoes inside someone’s home and I will take off my shoes if I am going to be inside someone’s home for more than a couple minutes.

based on it,who knows who you'll end up interesting.
 

StrayCat

Member
If the "politness" is focused on making the other person welcome so they can express themselves freely without having fear to be judged or rejected, then its OK.
That sounds like a lie though, you can only "express yourself" in some very narrow acceptable ways, it's very far from "free". When shopkeeper is polite to me, they want me to "express myself" by buying stuff, but if I tried to "express myself" by, let's say, rearranging stuff at the shelves, I'm sure there would be lots of "judging and rejecting" :catface:

It's funny for me because I wasn't born in the Anglo culture, I only emigrated to it at age 11. I really noticed that people didn't usually talk "straight" very readily in Anglo culture, often said things they didn't mean, and there was lots of smiling in the face and later stabbing in the back. The German culture I'd been educated in previously was far more straight-talking, although not quite as straight-talking as another culture I read about later. There's an except on how people in that particular culture communicate in a recent thread, and why the Anglo culture might be so "fake", here: Feeling Stupid Whenever I Socializ
So basically, humans are awful by nature, Anglo culture tries to hide it, while some other cultures are more open about being awful? Not even sure what I dislike more... Although I suspect sociopathic/narcissistic nature of Anglo culture gives it great advantage in the global deathmatch arena? :catface:
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
No society or human race have more prevalence of Antisocial people, or autistic people, or intelligent people being born.

Some societies do have more family violence and thus produce more antisocials, depressed or traumed people.

It seems you have an interesting way to understand what I said in a diferent context so its no longer valid. I did not expected that.:)
 

Atrapa Almas

70% INTJ + 30% ASPIE = 100% HUMAN
V.I.P Member
I miss it. I grew up in the desert, about an hour's drive from Mexico. I would say that 75% of the people in my local town were Latino. I moved out very young, in my early/mid teens, and became a live-in nanny for a Mexican woman for many years, and I also worked as a live-in nanny for a Filipino family for a couple years too. I also lived with my Puerto Rican cousins in Florida, where I took care of my little cousin. I also lived in Mexico for a time, as staff at an orphanage in the idyllic little town of Valle De Las Palmas (think goat herds, rolling hills, little children playing in creeks that run through red dirt roads, and tin roofs). Even though I'm white and I don't speak much Spanish at all, I was more than knee deep in the cultures and dialects.

Now I live up in the Pacific Northwest (AKA The Deep North) where nearly the only mention of Chicano culture is racist white people complaining about "those dang Hispanics takin' all our jobs". It makes me sad, because the surrounding Latino culture was something that shaped who I am. Working as a Nanny for those families also shaped the kind of mother I am.

I am Latin and I live in Mexico, in my view anglos are more direct and assertive than us, with germans and nordics being even more direct and assertive.

So If she see anglos as un-direct people, she would probably consider us to be way more un-direct.

From personal interactions to burocracy, to solving work problems.... There is always an indirect aproach to consider.

I am happy that you had good experiences with us. :)
 

Ban

Active Member
Hello @Ban

I see it the same exact way that you are describing. For some time I also felt that I had to chosse if being authentic and honest, or play their game and get good resoults.

Now I see it a bit different. On one hand there is some basic small talk and body language to show the other person they are welcome and liked (which is the equivalent of dogs smelling each other and its important for humans). So that part is not fake or manipulative to me anymore. Its like I am doing some important part of human communication that is wired in human brains as an instictive behavour but just happens to not be wired in mine. So I think this smile, "how are you", say something nice is not manipulation anymore. Now I see it like as an extended welcome that is needed by others to feel confortable to iniciate the conversation phase.

On the other hand there are specific selling techniques and communication ways designed on purpose to disarm the other person and manipulate them. Those are not natural on humans and must be studied even by NT. How do I put the limit into what feels nice to me or not? The limit is the purpose.

If the "politness" is focused on making the other person welcome so they can express themselves freely without having fear to be judged or rejected, then its OK. Its a win win situation, so my politness has no manipulative nature and I am not using it as a weapon.

If the "politness" is focused on disarm the other person and direct them to spill some secret they could naturally not want to say, or to low their defenses so I can put my ideas on their brains, or to hurt their self confidence, or to make them feel inferior, or... then is not a win win situation and there is manipulative nature on myself and thus is not correct. I may do it anyway depending on the situation, but I am aware of my manipulative behavour.

The same goes in reverse mode. If people uses basic good will politeness with me, I take it as a good will intention so I realax and accept their gift (even if I dont care of the politeness thing, I do care of their good will towards me). If people uses manipulative techniques on me I do become more alert and put a red flag on those people. Some sellers and people in lead possitions do it automatically without bad intentions, but its good to be very aware since those techniques do work at emotional levels that I may not be aware.

So to me, you are totally rigth in being concern and reflect about this topic. I think you will have to get to some kind of solution that satisfy both your inner values and your need of resoults.
You certainly seem to have understood the exact angle I am coming at this from. I think definitely as you say it is about why your doing it. My issue is that there are times when I am definitely just doing it because its going to create a better outcome for me and there are times when I just want the other person to have a pleasant interaction. I'm not 100% sure where one ends and the other starts, it pretty much always benefits me for the other person to enjoy interacting with me even it I'm not actively trying to get something out of them.
When I asked in my OP what I am missing that makes it okay and not manipulation I think you answered why its not for most people when you said they are wired for it like dogs sniffing each other. There not overthinking it, there just doing what comes naturally. I think this is the point I need to focus on if I am to find a justification for myself to not feel bad about it. I suspect my unease around doing it is that like you said its not wired into me, so it requires me to apply brain power to figure out what would be a good thing to say and I think its the fact that I'm using this process rather than just being myself that feels wrong. This brings be back to the dilemma you finished with off not wanting to feel this way, against my need for results.
 

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