Should I be Polite or Sincere?
Inspired by School of Life
I would love people to be honest with me. Talk to me straight. At least I tell this to myself until someone decides to criticize me. When they do criticize, I think something along the lines of — How rude is this person? No one asked for your opinion.
If I ask any of you about being Polite or Sincere, I bet I would get the same generic answer.
“I value honesty above anything else.”
“I don’t want to be around fake people”
And, yet, most of you would struggle with complete honesty. I know I would. This is why people are polite. At least in some parts of America. They won’t point out things which may offend you.
Being polite creates less drama. It is easier. People tend to move on. They put a smile, and say it’s all fine.
There is also a romantic idea of being straight. Telling people how it is.
“He is only telling it how he sees it.”
Well, coming from Europe, place where people don’t really value overly polite interactions, I lived my life in this straightforward way. People just tell you they don’t like something you said or done straight to your face. If they don’t like the clothes you are wearing, someone will point that out. If they don’t agree with you, you will be the first to know. If they have a set of beliefs which is different to the person they are interacting with, they'll make it obvious. Even if these people are just strangers, Europeans will share their opinion. It is almost like heckling. Just try ordering food at the French restaurant in Paris. You’ll see.
This is exactly why it was exciting to visit some parts of America. My first day in California, I was amazed. Costumer service at T-Mobile was exceptional. They got out of their way to make me feel comfortable. They were asking questions god knows they didn’t want to hear the answers to. Small talks were done to perfection. I left eternally grateful because I had a nice experience with them. I’ll probably never see these people again. And, we are probably live in completely different worlds, but they bridged the gap by being polite.
Random interactions on the street were also great. People would stop and answer any question you had. Even, if they were in a hurry. You would always get an answer. Politicly correct answer. Sometimes, you would get a feeling someone waited just for you, the whole day, just to talk to you. They were considerate.
I admire this behavior, at least they try to make the whole interaction pleasant. I know it’s fake. I know they don’t really care. But anyway, it makes you feel good for a second.
What is the difference between being Polite or Sincere?
Except for the obvious one, of course. Why are we sometimes Honest? Why are we sometimes Polite? Why are some people always Polite? Why are some always Honest?
The answers lie within you.
You are being honest when you believe the surrounding views are aligned with yours. It is a charming assumption about other people. Sometimes it creates intimacy and profound connection, other times, you might find yourself in a bit of a trouble. People might find you rude or inappropriate. Honest people won’t stress out the bits of resurgence to their friends. They will just assume their egos are big and strong as their own.
You are being polite when you assume people might think differently from you. You are aware that you might have a darker side inside you. With being polite, you are trying to protect other. You believe they might experience everything differently from you, so you would ask them insightful questions. These questions are meant to weight out your own approach to the matters at hand. If you are bored of some situation, you‘ll ask others about their feelings, before you express your opinion.
A polite person will smile more compared to an honest person. They will try to contribute more so people would feel loved and accepted. Honest people assume others are more robust inside, so they don’t see the importance to added smiles or small gestures of kindness.
Politeness is a logical response to the complexity of identifying the world. When you are polite you doubt any idea is inherently bad or good. You know yesterday feelings might not be shared today. Sometimes it might look like you are dodging tough decisions and might be perceived as fake.
Honesty is often very kind, in a grand way. When you are truly honest to someone you might find there is no point in smaller moves and gestures. You won’t express gratitude and write thank you notes after dinner. You would love to help on a bigger scale, with something important. Honest people are confident about their ability to judge what is right or wrong. This gives them to confidence to get angry or emotional.
We all have a Frank and Sincere person within us. We deploy them in situations at hand. Sometimes we judge it is better to just be polite and make someone’s day better, other times, we find it important to step out and share your opinions. There is no one size fits all. Every interaction is unique in its own way. But we all tend to tip to one side more than the other. This is why we are perceived as honest or polite.
Business etiquette requires you to be polite above everything else. Close friends and family would like to see your honest side, they don’t care about fake smiles or thank you notes. Strangers always fall in between.