Q:

Why is being polite important?

A:

Quick Answer

It is important to be polite because it puts other people at ease and helps build strong relationships. Politeness also helps decrease the social distance between two people, making it easier to communicate.

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Social distance refers to a person's willingness to accept or build a relationship with someone who has different social characteristics. If a person of the Jewish faith is willing to accept and associate with someone of the Muslim faith, that shows a very low degree of social distance. Polite behavior bridges the gap between two people with different backgrounds.

Politeness also makes it easier to make a good first impression in social or professional settings. Someone who speaks to others in a courteous manner is more likely to make a good impression than someone who has bad manners. Being polite is especially important when communicating with customers and colleagues. In Japan, retail clerks and customer service representatives are very polite when they greet customers, handle money and escort customers out of their shops. Their politeness puts customers at ease and makes the shopping experience more enjoyable.

In some cases, politeness helps defuse tense situations and resolve conflict. Conversely, impolite behavior tends to fuel the fire, increasing conflict and making it difficult to resolve problems.

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