We learn to be polite when we are kids, but not many people know where to draw the line between being kind and polite and being overly polite since there is no formula for this.
In this article, I want to talk about why it is perfectly fine to be polite and kind with most people you meet but being overly polite is bad, and why you should stop that.
I don’t want to encourage people to be rude, being more direct and honest doesn’t mean that you have to be rude. There is a balance between how polite and how direct you have to be with people, there are also disadvantages to being too direct.
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing almost anytime when we talk about those traits, so the best thing you can do is to balance things out.
Is it bad to be overly polite?
Being overly polite is bad in many situations because it doesn’t create an honest relationship and stops you from saying what you really want to say.
This has a lot of downsides, from being abused at work to losing friends and even relationships. But we will talk about more of this in detail when we talk about all the reason why being overly polite is bad.
As I said before, being polite and kind to people is good, and you should do that, but be careful not to go to an extreme.
Being overly polite is like a mask that you eventually will have to take it off, and that is the moment when things will go in the wrong direction if you are not as kind and polite anymore.
The idea is to be polite and kind but also to be able to say what you think more directly.
Let’s see some clear reasons why being overly polite is bad and what are the disadvantages you will have in life for being like that.
6 Reasons being overly polite is bad.
I would not put this as a reason, but rather, all those reasons will lead to not surface-level friendships, which is pretty bad, especially if you want more. It is hard to make real connections and relationships with people when you are overly polite because opening up and being honest is crucial when it comes to a good and healthy social life.
So the biggest thing you lose when you are overly polite is real and deep relationships with people around you, which I believe is not worth it. Usually, overly polite people want to please everybody, and they end up not pleasing the people that actually matter to them.
Now let’s get to the actual reasons.
1. You always seem to be fake
People that say sorry even when it is not their fault, people that are overly enthusiastic and use a lot of superlative words seem to be fake. We know that life is not always as awesome and incredible as they make it look like. Also, when you compliment someone for everything, and you tend to exaggerate, there is no way you are not perceived as fake because we know that we are good or even great at certain things but not as many. This is ok since we don’t have all the time in the world to improve on everything, so we know when we are just decent at certain things and someone saying that you are “incredibly good” at that task is clearly overly polite and fake.
2. People will not know when you are honest
People around you will not know when you are being honest or not when you are always overly polite. We tend to think that those people are not honest most of the time and don’t really care about what we say. They pretend to be interested because they think it will be rude if they don’t do that.
3. Hard to know what they really like
We will have a hard time realizing when someone that is overly polite really likes a certain thing or not, so you might think that they will enjoy a specific gift, a particular food, or something like that because they were excited when you told them about that thing. That is how overly polite people end up with a lot of stuff they actually don’t like. Giving someone a gift you will think they would like because they said it and finding out later that they didn’t use it is very off-putting.
It is even worst when we talk about some activity like a board game, a trip somewhere, or things along this line that will take up their time. They might get invited to those since the other person thinks they would like to participate because they were excited when they talked about it.
Also, an overly polite person will have difficulty refusing, resulting in a lot of time lost and frustration.
4. Some people will take advantage of you
When you don’t usually say no, everything is great for you, and you want to please everybody is easy to see how people can take advantage of that. Your time and availability seem less important to them when they know you don’t usually refuse things and you want to please them.
This is especially true at work, it’s easy to end up being that person that works for two because you accept any new project and all the requests for working overtime. However, this will not stop at work, some people will think that you are more approachable than you are because you are overly polite with them, and they might shoot their shot and put you in a difficult situation when you have to be more honest and direct or accept them.
Also, you will attract people that you really don’t like as friends and more, usually the weirder and more awkward people get close to people that don’t refuse them or are not as direct and honest with them. They usually don’t get the hints, so you being subtle with them will not work, you have to be direct and let them know that you aren’t friends, which can be way too hard for an overly polite person.
5. False expectations
People will think that you are a very good and nice person that will never do anything crazier than asking for more ketchup on pizza, or they will not think you are capable of gossiping or even being angry and other things like this. This is pretty bad because everybody is capable of those things, but when the standards are so high, people will be more disappointed with you than someone who is a bit more direct and honest, and you might lose people you care about. So creating more realistic expectations will give you a chance to be more honest and act more naturally without being judged so hard.
6. Never-ending boring small talks
When we talk with an overly polite person, we tend to have small talks like boring weather discussions. One common trait of overly polite people is that they don’t talk too personally, which makes you do the same. Most of the time, they don’t seem like they would want a more personal discussion since personal discussions are more honest and not as incredible and good as they want to picture themselves.
How to stop being overly polite?
Most people are being overly polite because they want to please everybody and don’t want to be vulnerable.
This is where they should start, understanding that pleasing everybody is impossible and being vulnerable is fine.
Here are a few things you can do to stop being overly polite.
-Realize why you are overly polite
You need to know what makes you overly polite and what you think are the benefits of that and try to see if you can get the same result without being overly polite since it has many downsides, as we talked about above.
Then the second step is to be more confident and believe that you can be likable as you are. In fact, direct and honest people are getting fewer and fewer, so they are appreciated more. If you are more natural and you say what you think without being rude, the chances are that people will like you even more.
-Focus on the intention behind what you say
People can see the intention behind words, so you can be more direct but with a good intention or too nice with a bad intention. Being overly polite might have the opposite effect than you expect only because the intention behind it wasn’t a good one. If you are overly polite and listen to what someone has to say only not to bother them, you might bother them because you don’t honestly tell them that you don’t want to hear what they say, and they will feel like they lost time explaining to you.
If you think you will be perceived as a good person because you don’t talk badly about something, but people feel you are not honest, they might think you are a liar.
-Stop using superlatives
Using superlatives as a habit makes you look fake in front of many people. As I said, life it’s not that impressive all the time, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, and sometimes nothing is happening, so there is no need to talk about everything in superlative, or at least it is not natural.
If your food was 7/10 for you, it is not necessarily to say that it was incredibly good. Saying that it was good or tasty is fine, or saying nothing if you are not asked.
-Stop saying sorry and thank you for everything
I have this problem myself, I don’t consider that I’m overly polite, but I certainly say thank you way too often, even sorry in certain circumstances where it wasn’t my fault.
Saying thank you or sorry for every little thing is more annoying than polite for many people, so try to cut down on how many times you say this.
-Stop agreeing all the time
You don’t have to agree with everyone to be more likable – we can disagree from time to time and still be friends. I heard this story a long time ago but it stuck to me, it was about a boy and a girl dating, they were talking about music and she said she likes Coldplay, and the boy instantly said, wow, nice, I like cold play too, to find out later that this was very off-putting for the girl for two reasons. First, it sounds fake, and second, we don’t necessarily want to be with people that are like us. We like someone who completes us that is different, so we can learn from each other but simultaneously have some common values and beliefs.
Read Also: Passive Aggressive Vs. Sarcasm
Being overly polite and a people’s pleasure is quite bad and has a lot of downsides and not too many upsides, and even those upsides can be achieved without being overly polite.
I hope this article helped you realize why you should stop being overly polite and how to do it without ending up as a rude person.