Ever wonder just how valuable everyday politeness is? By which we really mean, ever wonder why the hell people keep telling you to be polite to strangers?
Productivity’s what our lives are all about this days, amiright? Well, how does politeness help you get your creativity out there and your work done? Huh? Is being polite going to get your work done? Should it?
Be Less Polite
by Nick Douglas
The nicest thing you can say to your friend is “Fuck you!” Not when you’re actually mad, but when you’re goofing around and they just got you good, and you’re acknowledging that yeah, you’re owned. That “fuck you” says “We are in a circle of trust and intimacy, and because of this we do not need to be polite.”
“Polite” is good, it’s how strangers and acquaintances and fellow professionals keep things running smoothly. But it has limits. To be polite is to maintain distance. It’s the tiny apologies we whisper when we accidentally brush against a stranger. It’s the “dear” that starts an email and the “sincerely” that closes it. It’s the invasive questions we don’t ask during small talk.
Dropping the politeness is an honor. It doesn’t mean being a dick. It means you trade “hello” for “hey.” You pee with the door open and you poop when your partner’s at home. You ask “Are you two planning to have children?” because you’re close friends and they could ask the same of you. You let them pick up the check sometimes.
It doesn’t mean you start being a dick—no, it means you’re nicer to the other person. All the pretenses you drop, they drop too. You let them ask you nosy questions. You let them impose. You still respect them, but now you also bring them closer.
CD Baby founder Derek Sivers calls it being meta-considerate. Being considerate, he says, means showering someone with attention and gifts to win their love. Being meta-considerate means treating them like your much-beloved equal, letting them chase you back.
There’s a balance, of course; there’s always a balance….