We live in an age that thinks highly of frankness and directness. But there are – nevertheless – a few reasons why politeness remains a hugely important quality.
For most of human history, the idea of being ‘polite’ has been central to our sense of what is required to count as a good and civilised person. But more recently, politeness has come under suspicion. While we may not outright reject it, it’s not a word we now instinctively reach for when we want to explain why we like or admire someone. ‘Politeness’ can sometimes even carry almost the opposite of its traditional connotations, suggesting an offensive or insolent degree of insincerity and inauthenticity. A ‘polite’ person may come to be judged as a bit of a fake – and in their own way, really rather rude…
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