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Politeness

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Blue/Green
Staff member
V.I.P Member
You're asking how to detect if a person is following
social proprieties, although their thoughts/feelings would
prompt them to behave otherwise?

You suspect people's sincerity?
 

WhitewaterWoman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I grew up in the Midwest of USA and my mother tauhgt many things about politeness and manners. For example, if I was visiting at someone's house and was offered a cookie, I would have to decline twice and could only accept it if it was offered a third time.

This is because the host feels obligated to offer refreshment to guests, but may not want to. Another instance of being polite.

When I moved from the Midwest to New York State, I had to change my behavior because in New York, nobody will ask more than once. If you want it, you better say yes the first time! :oops:
 

marc_101

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
@RemyZee

Could you provide more context? A polite person will be considered towards others and not argumentative. Maybe will smile and say nice things and try to make you comfortable.

If they mean it or not, that's another issue.
 

Greening

Well-Known Member
If they come up with a deeply condescending remark shortly after, about how you are probably only suited to put cans on shelves, and thereby revealing that they do not consider you to be someome with much, if anything, going on in your inner and outer life, then no further proof is needed, that they were, in fact, just being polite.

Not a thought up example, by the way, but a real life one. Making me decide to never speak with this person ever again.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
How do you know when someone is just being polite?
How do you know when someone is just being polite? Unless you're a mind-reader, you don't. Regardless, accept it as such.
Perhaps a related question. How do you know when someone is genuine and honest with you? Unless you're a mind-reader or have damning evidence to the contrary, you don't.

Salespeople and politicians. Often very polite when they want something. ;)
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I grew up in the Midwest of USA and my mother tauhgt many things about politeness and manners. For example, if I was visiting at someone's house and was offered a cookie, I would have to decline twice and could only accept it if it was offered a third time.

This is because the host feels obligated to offer refreshment to guests, but may not want to. Another instance of being polite.

When I moved from the Midwest to New York State, I had to change my behavior because in New York, nobody will ask more than once. If you want it, you better say yes the first time! :oops:

And down in New York City if you try and decline even once they'll say 'Well isn't that sweet... now eat the damn cookie!' (but they will be laughing as they say it)

:D
 

The Pandector

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Hmmm. I took the question to be about sincerity in friendship. IOW, if someone seems to be friendly but you can’t tell if they want to be friends or if they’re just good at making people comfortable.

I’d just revert to my go-to strategy for sincerity testing. Don’t listen so much to what they say and pay close attention to what they do. Since I absolutely suck at reading faces, tone, body language, I learned to watch their actions and then compare that to their words.

It works for me, but then I’m not necessarily looking for the same as others in a friend. I have a hard time dealing with insincerity, so want to know up front whether someone is as good as their words.
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Oh gosh, that's a complicated question! If I could easily answer it, I'd be rich. There are many different reasons to "just be polite."

There are subtle differences in the voice/body language/presentation between being honestly positive and being polite because you fear the consequences of being honestly negative. Or you are trying to deceive to take advantage later. Or you are angry and are polite to keep from doing something antisocial. Or you don't want to hurt the person's feelings. Or if you respect the other person enough, you'll put your feelings (which might be wrong) in abeyance for the moment and be polite.

It is context-sensitive and depends on the mindset of the person being polite. One person will forgive a faux pas, say it is okay, and honestly mean it, while the next person in an identical situation will be polite through gritted teeth.

Sometimes a person will intend to make it obvious the politeness is purely performative, other times the performance is intended to conceal the underlying unhappiness. One of the curses of being autistic is the assumption by others that "you should have known" that even though the person was polite, they were really upset. It looks to them like you are being deliberately insensitive. What is obvious to an NT might be invisible to me.

Politeness can also be basic rules of social etiquette. "Please" and "thank you" are signals that you respect the other person's autonomy. You don't need to like or even respect another person to use them honestly. We don't have enough of that in the world. I don't think that's the kind of politeness the OP is referring to.
 

RemyZee

Active Member
You're asking how to detect if a person is following
social proprieties, although their thoughts/feelings would
prompt them to behave otherwise?

You suspect people's sincerity?
Yes, I do suspect what I think is insincerity, but it's so hard to judge. People will say what they think you are looking for, but not mean what they say at all because they don't want to be rude or hurt your feelings. So it's like going around in this morass of confusion trying just to determine what people mean, or if they mean it. As a kid, I was sent to etiquette classes and learned please and thank you, but the truth is those words don't carry much weight. They're things people say trying to be nice, but it seems like deception
 

Xinyta

Lost wandering entity
Yes, I do suspect what I think is insincerity, but it's so hard to judge. People will say what they think you are looking for, but not mean what they say at all because they don't want to be rude or hurt your feelings. So it's like going around in this morass of confusion trying just to determine what people mean, or if they mean it. As a kid, I was sent to etiquette classes and learned please and thank you, but the truth is those words don't carry much weight. They're things people say trying to be nice, but it seems like deception

I get where you are coming from and I can see what you mean.

However, such things are taught, because it involves being respectful to your fellow man and having a sort of manners. If you don't use them. You'll be seen as disrespectful and, in some cases, an uncouth animal.

It's something that is part of everything that involves interpersonal interaction. Eating food, general conversation, and with compliments. Though people can, on the surface, use manners, despite having ulterior motives. But not everyone is that deceitful. There are plenty that are genuinely nice people. Suspecting otherwise is a disservice, if you are interacting with a stranger.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't still be careful around strangers. But unless they present otherwise in their words and/or body language, they most likely are just a nice person.
 

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