It’s easy to let the world get the best of you and think of yourself first. But being gracious, kind, and courteous are great personality traits that few people have anymore. Being polite will help you in life by making a lasting, positive impression on those around you. You may find that it will also improve your mood and reduce stress.
Becoming a more polite person is also incredibly easy. Sure, you have to avoid the irresistible pull of gossip and maybe hold the door open once in a while, but you can also do really small things such as use people’s names, listen closely during conversations, and resist the urge to text when in the company of others. Want more tips to being more polite? Read on for 25 easy things you can do.
Always Be Polite and Kind
The first rule of etiquette is to practice it at all times. You can’t be courteous, polite, and kind toward some people and not others. It could very easily lead to a reputation of being two-faced, which is the exact opposite of your goal.
Be On Time
Listen, we know things can happen, but it’s rude to be inexplicably late to a date or appointment. If your dinner reservation is at 7 p.m., be sure you’re at the restaurant by 7 p.m. If need be, give yourself a little cushion time. The worst that can happen is you get there a little early.
Learn How to Make Small Talk
When meeting someone, polite people don’t simply interrogate the other person with an endless list of questions. Instead, they listen, ask questions, and are actually engaged in a conversation. Want to know how to make small talk like a pro? The easiest way is to treat everyone like an old friend from the get-go
People love talking about themselves. So, when engaging in a conversation with someone else, ask them questions about themselves. This is especially important if you’re meeting someone new.
The simplest way to both be more polite and to make a great impression on those you meet is to use a person’s name when you’re talking to them. It’s small, but it makes a world of difference. Using names also makes you likable because people like the sound of their own name. Be sure to use the name that the person you’re speaking with prefers, and don’t start calling them by a nickname until they give you permission to do so.
Polite people know how to drive conversations and when to stop conversing. Hold back things you may have seen about others on social media, and don’t delve too much in to your own personal life. Nobody needs to know about those weird medical symptomsyou’ve been experiencing, anyway.
Think About Your Humor
Listen, everyone loves a good joke. But not everyone loves the same jokes. When in mixed company, you shouldn’t only watch your mouth, you should watch how you kid around. Simply put: Don’t be crass.
Neglecting to watch your language can show a lack of respect for children and elders around you. Polite people are aware of this and don’t curse, especially when in mixed company.
It can be hard to resist the allure of gossip, especially when something extraordinarily juicy happens. But polite people do not talk about others behind their back. Don’t listen to gossip, and don’t spread gossip. It’s just that simple.
Part of positivity and being polite is also being liberal with compliments, so feel free to tell your friends how much you love their new haircut. It’s the polite thing to do
Learn How to Do Introductions Properly…
Introducing one person to another is something a good host and every polite person knows how to do. Here’s the drill: Make eye contact with the respective parties as you introduce them, say something simple (e.g., “I would like you to meet…”), and use preferred names and proper titles for those you’re introducing. Then find something the two people have in common so they can start a natural conversation.
…And Know How to Be Introduced
The most polite people don’t only know how to introduce someone, they also know how to introduce themselves. It’s easy; step forward, put on a smile, reach out for a handshake, and say your preferred name. Always say you’re honored to meet the person you’re being introduced to as well; it’s the most polite thing to do.
Don’t Touch Others First (or Without Permission)
An introductory handshake is always a fine thing to do, but beyond that, polite people never initiate physical contact. They don’t slap others on the back, initiate hugs, or pat a shoulder or forearm without the other person doing so first. Some people really don’t like being touched.
An easy way to be more polite is to be courteous to everyone around you. Let someone cut in front of you in traffic, hold the door open for the person behind you, and think of others before yourself. These small acts won’t put you out, and they will make positive impacts on countless people’s days.
Be Careful With Opinions
You know what they say about opinions… everyone’s got one, especially these days. And while it’s easy to get fired up even in the most seemingly casual conversations, polite people don’t immediately offer their opinions on controversial topics without prompting.
There’s one kind, polite word in the English language that is remarkably easy to use often: “hello.” Give it a try! Give a little nod to a neighbor walking their dog, greet a co-worker when they come in every morning, and say hey to someone you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a part of small talk, but it’s so much simpler than that.
Remember Things About People
It’s easy to meet someone, have a decent conversation, but inevitably have it go in one ear and out the other. The most polite and the most impressive people actually take the time not only to listen to conversations but remember details about others. Upon a second meeting, people will be delighted when you follow-up on a past conversation. It shows you care, even if only on a surface level.
You need to be considerate and kind to others, and that means respecting their differences and opinions. You may disagree or dislike something someone does — and you’re allowed to! You don’t have to like everyone. But you need to at least have some compassion for them and try to understand where they are coming from. It’s just the nice thing to do.
Don’t Judge Others
Being courteous extends past micro interactions. You need to remember to be conscientious of others, too. Remember everyone has their own struggles and motivations. When in doubt, remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When answering the phone, don’t bark your name or greeting; say a soft hello. In general, speak gently but loudly enough for the person on the other line to hear. If in public, watch your language and don’t shout an endless torrent of personal, intimate information to others. When it comes to cell phones, make sure not to ignore people who are actually in your presence in order to text others or scroll through endless apps.
Give Second Chances
We’re not saying that you need to go on a second date with a major jerk or phone up that co-worker you never got along with on the weekends, but it’s never an awful idea to give second chances. If someone comes across as a major grump, they could just be having a bad day. You don’t know until you try again.
You know what polite people also are? Positive. Speaking positively about yourself and the world, and having a smile on your face, will not only make you happier, it will also make those around you feel more at ease and comfortable.
Know Basic Table Etiquette
Understand the basics of table etiquette and manners. There are obvious things, such as not burping or putting your elbows up on the table (at least in America). For instance, you should use your utensils from the outside in, rest your utensils on the table before speaking to someone else, avoid slouching, and ask for things to be passed to you instead of reaching across the table.
Some quick napkin tips: Remember to always put your napkin in your lap before eating but wait until after your hostess has done so. Blot your face, don’t wipe. And please, for goodness’ sake, don’t tuck your napkin into your shirt collar. There are a lot of napkin rules, and the most polite people follow them.
Use Polite Phrases
Honestly, being more polite in the new year can be just as easy as remembering two simple phrases: “Please” and “Thank you.” Being a kinder, more courteous person starts small, like by uttering these 15 nice things you need to say more often.