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AlleyKat
Gallente
The Unwanted.
Posted - 2010.09.25 16:55:00 - [1]
 

Something that has always confused me growing up and now well into adulthood, are the social graces which are common or, not so commonplace in the world around me. Of particular fascination to me has always been the almost inherent desire to use 'please' and 'thank you' under certain circumstances.

The (mis)understanding I have always had is just why people use these words? What is the point? If your answer is 'to be polite' then I offer you some potentially warped thinking as to why, I believe, the usage of these words is anything but polite.

Let me set the scene.

You are 'round your friends' place and it's about the time for a hot drink, or, just drinks in general. It's not a party, there is not anyone else there, just you and your friend, of whom you have known some time, hanging out - shooting the breeze...

You would like a drink - and the current right way of asking for a drink probably goes something like this: "May I have a coffee please?" or whatever variation of that is in either your own language, or, whatever dialectic works for you - but I'm guessing 'to be polite' would include the addition of the word 'please' somewhere in the sentence.

Why?

If you say 'please' in my opinion, then you are placing the other person in a position whereby they cannot say 'no'. That's not very friendly. Surely by using the word, you are saying, without saying, 'you have no choice because I said please!' and therefore your friend MUST make you a coffee?

Isn't it better to give them a choice? Isn't it better NOT to put your friend in a position where they absolutely have to make you a cup of coffee, purely because it is the 'rule'? Is that how you treat your friends?

I, as you can imagine, have difficulty with this concept. Purely because if someone wants to make me a cup of coffee, then great, if not - I'm not going to 'force' them into the position where they have to make me cup. Not that kind of dewd.

And with regards to thankyou - well, if someone offers to make me a cup without me asking, then I say thankyou - if I've asked and they have made me one, then not - because I didn't say please, so why would I say thankyou? I have to thankyou to someone who didn't offer to make me a cup in the first place? You must be joking...

What is additionally of constant fascination is that people will (very rarely) say please and thankyou when ordering coffee from their regular coffee-pushing house. Why?

The people who work in these places, purely by job role, cannot say 'NO' under any circumstances. period. Why is it that people who order coffee seem to have the pre-disposition that they (because they are paying customers) do not have to say please and thank you to the people serving them? Almost 'like, 'Hey it's their job to serve me - I ain't saying please and thank you to these people. You want me to smile at them as well?'

Well, I think that you should always say please and thankyou in coffee houses, resturants, or in fact anywhere that has people that serve you, or wait on you, or whatever - for the exact same reason. They don't know you and they are doing a job that means they have to serve you, as a result, the reasoning is that the choice element is completely removed and you have to say please and thankyou (maybe twice, for effect) just so they know you understand and appreciate the position they are in. And a smile.

Anyways, just some rambling whilst sipping a coffee.

But really, give your friends a choice and the people serving you a smile, for once.

AK

Atticus Fynch
Gallente
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:10:00 - [2]
 

"Please" and "thank you" have always been part of my vocabulary.

It's worthless in some places like NYC where I grew up. Another place I never used it was in the military.

But in the more civilized places in the US, people still use it and so do I.

Corozan Aspinall
Perkone
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:13:00 - [3]
 

Sure .. always.

A gf of mine was 'foreign' and she was always pointing out how amazing it is that we constantly apologize to each other, almost in every sentence. Apparently in most countries the last thing anyone ever does is apologize and if they do its a big deal. Here you say sorry for bumping in to someone, sorry for stepping in front of them, sorry if they step in front of you, sorry if they beat and rob you and sorry if you beat and rob them. Funny old place England ..

Atticus Fynch
Gallente
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:28:00 - [4]
 

Originally by: Corozan Aspinall
Sure .. always.

A gf of mine was 'foreign' and she was always pointing out how amazing it is that we constantly apologize to each other, almost in every sentence. Apparently in most countries the last thing anyone ever does is apologize and if they do its a big deal. Here you say sorry for bumping in to someone, sorry for stepping in front of them, sorry if they step in front of you, sorry if they beat and rob you and sorry if you beat and rob them. Funny old place England ..


Did you explain that it's because the English are not as barbaric as her people?Wink

Yesh
Unjustified Ancients of MuMu
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:35:00 - [5]
 

I say please and thank you as a matter of course, but it seems to be a fading concept these days.

eg, i will stop at a petrol station and ask for 20 cigs "please" and then say "thank you" when the person behind the till takes my money away from me without really thinking why I said please and thank you.

The person serving me will also deposit my change on the counter for me to scoop up instead of placing it in my offered palm.

Maybe good manners are outdated, but the world seems a colder more robotic place without them. Good manners cost nothing. I know the guy in the petrol station has a crap job and doesn't care if he gets fired or not, but I don't need him to neglect manners and show a surly attitude to demonstrate that he does not give a damn.

**** I'm feeling old and bitter now.

Atticus Fynch
Gallente
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:40:00 - [6]
 

Originally by: Yesh
I say please and thank you as a matter of course, but it seems to be a fading concept these days.

eg, i will stop at a petrol station and ask for 20 cigs "please" and then say "thank you" when the person behind the till takes my money away from me without really thinking why I said please and thank you.

The person serving me will also deposit my change on the counter for me to scoop up instead of placing it in my offered palm.

Maybe good manners are outdated, but the world seems a colder more robotic place without them. Good manners cost nothing. I know the guy in the petrol station has a crap job and doesn't care if he gets fired or not, but I don't need him to neglect manners and show a surly attitude to demonstrate that he does not give a damn.

**** I'm feeling old and bitter now.


It's all a matter of where you live (so i found out).

Effy Muller
Posted - 2010.09.25 17:42:00 - [7]
 

Originally by: Corozan Aspinall
Sure .. always.

A gf of mine was 'foreign' and she was always pointing out how amazing it is that we constantly apologize to each other, almost in every sentence. Apparently in most countries the last thing anyone ever does is apologize and if they do its a big deal. Here you say sorry for bumping in to someone, sorry for stepping in front of them, sorry if they step in front of you, sorry if they beat and rob you and sorry if you beat and rob them. Funny old place England ..


Yep you say sorry for stepping out in front of, bumping in to, or getting robbed by people ... if you are english and on foot. But when the same person gets behind the wheel of a car? Completely different story!

English drivers are amongst the rudest and petty in the world. Until you slam your brakes on in the middle of the road and get out and emoragerush them with the tire iron of course. Then they say sorry and then thank you for not crushing their skull with a lump of metal.

Komen
Gallente
Capital Enrichment Services
Posted - 2010.09.26 08:20:00 - [8]
 

I dispatch for a taxi company for a living, and also drive a few shifts a week - 'please' and 'thank you' are as automatic as breathing, but not pro forma. When I'm given an above average tip (more than 20% of meter fare) I give a hearty 'thank you', and when I'm waiting for grandma to get out of the crosswalk I say 'Will you PLEASE hurry the **** up!'

YARRRR!!

Wendat Huron
Stellar Solutions
Posted - 2010.09.26 08:56:00 - [9]
 

Not native english speaker.

'Thank you' yes, to hell and beyond, in transactions and when people get out of your way or reach for something for you.

'Please', no no such whiney word being used. Question asked, 'thank you' added if granted without the grovelling.

Corozan Aspinall
Perkone
Posted - 2010.09.26 09:55:00 - [10]
 

I liked Spain in this regard. You don't muck about. State what you want or get lost. Gracias is fine but por favor just gets you funny looks from the manzana munching truckers. Much better system than English. Very Happy

Mutant Caldari
Caldari
Percussive Diplomacy
The Phoenix. Consortium
Posted - 2010.09.26 10:40:00 - [11]
 

Originally by: Komen
I dispatch for a taxi company for a living, and also drive a few shifts a week - 'please' and 'thank you' are as automatic as breathing, but not pro forma. When I'm given an above average tip (more than 20% of meter fare) I give a hearty 'thank you', and when I'm waiting for grandma to get out of the crosswalk I say 'Will you PLEASE hurry the **** up!'

YARRRR!!

LaughingTwisted Evil

Also regarding the OP, it depends on who I am talking to.

Roosterton
Eternal Frontier
Posted - 2010.09.27 02:40:00 - [12]
 

It depends on who I'm talking to.

If it's a total ass who I don't like and have no intention of ever being friendly with, I'll state my point and GTFO as quickly as possible.

If it's someone who I respect but don't quite know very well, I'll be as polite until we've "broken the ice."

Once I've "broken the ice" with someone, I'll be casual, friendly, and not hung up on formalities and politeness, since at this point, formalities are just a waste of time. Of course, if they do something surprisingly generous, give me a gift, etc, I'll say Thank you, but for casual, day-to-day stuff, I'll be honest and blunt, and I expect them to be the same.

Thuul'Khalat
Gallente
Veto Corp
Posted - 2010.09.27 09:11:00 - [13]
 

Adding 'please' after every question seems to be a british thing tbh. Not very commonplace at all here in Norway.

Riedle
Minmatar
Paradox Collective
Posted - 2010.09.27 17:50:00 - [14]
 

always (or most times) say please and thank you. It is automatic for me.
It goes to show that you appreciate their efforts and that you don't expect them to be servile to you.

I also open doors for the lady folk. I know, a dying breed.

Canada here.

Brujo Loco
Amarr
Brujeria Teologica
Posted - 2010.09.27 19:32:00 - [15]
 

As a latinamerican living in Panama, I must say I'm a bit shocked people here are to my ears, rude. As in they if at all say thank you or please.

It's a well known fact venezuelans and colombians here are more prone to give better customer service than locals simply due to them being more used to say please, thank you, smiling and calling people by their names or short names that denote affection without being unrespectful.

having worked with people you would be amazed at how easy is to say good Morning, please, thank you with a strong voice and a straight look in the eye and warm up people to you. I do it everyday when I go out to buy food, groceries or whatnot. Makes them feel they EXIST, and it's not about me saying just please,thank you, but sometimes making idle chatter with them.

We are social beings and acknowledging our fellow human being, no matter the silliest of commercial transactions on our day to day ordeals is a way of showing them respect and in turn be afforded some (to at least avoid your food being spit upon)

It might be somewhat selfish on my part, but on several establishments all over the world, some quick chat, a smile, some pleases, thank yous and other social customary graces to make the people serving my food more warmed up to my presence has yielded interesting results, like small whispers of not ordering this or that plate or avoiding the iced tea, sometimes just by reading their expressions, shy smiles and/or wicked gleeful smirks.

Being polite works also on people you see regularly as eventually perhaps some of them might offer you a bit of their help in the future, since I believe everybody has potential, specially people that work cleaning/maintenance jobs and make the basic wheels of society turn.

No matter how polite I am to an executive of an office I end up gaining more by creating a whole communal working environment where everything goes more smoothly starting from the lowest rung.

So the please and thank you are just a part of my arsenal of social graces to achieve a better environment for ME, it doesnt work everytime, specially on countries like Turkey where I had a rough time adjusting to the social customs for example, but in Latinamerica its good.

Colombians, specially some expats moving to Panama are known for their charm and guile, even while robbing you outright. And many many women here catch foreigners just by being happy, joyful and giving broad grins.

It's a dog eat dog world out there, and any kind of leverage will help you survive a bit more.

Also, I don't know about your cultures or where you guys from, but down here, people that DONT SAY such basic social phrases are labeled outright as farmers or coming from the poorest hovels of villainy and disgrace.

It goes beyond wealth, it's simply a matter of EDUCATION. Social mores that show your standing within society. if you just go grunting around stuff and demanding everything be done, spit in your food is the least of your problems.

Oh I also dislike with the utmost disgust rude people. I feel like spitting them in the eye, specially if I know they come from a good educated family. When I see poor people being rude I let it go, they don't know any better, but people I know had the means and simply take the brutish route, I reserve some of my inifite amount of hatred for them and wish them disease ridden pustules of yog-sothotian flesh.

Wrayeth
EdgeGamers
Situation: Normal
Posted - 2010.09.28 05:21:00 - [16]
 

Yes, definitely. If you think about it, courteous speech is kind of like grease for the gears of society - it reduces friction and helps prevent overheating and other breakdowns (this is a paraphrase of a statement I read once, one that I find particularly apt).

Thuul'Khalat
Gallente
Veto Corp
Posted - 2010.09.28 08:50:00 - [17]
 

Originally by: Brujo Loco
Rant


What you concider polite and rude though is an entirely cultural thing.


Karma
Vortex Incorporated
Posted - 2010.09.28 11:59:00 - [18]
 

I always say 'thank you'...

Might have something to do with ten years working in various different types of stores etc. etc. and seeing the effect a rude customer can have on personnel at a store... so I always have a smile and a 'thank you' for people at other stores.

as for 'can I have a coffee, please?', I don't know if there's an equivalent in my mother tongue. there may be and I just haven't realized it...
when with friends, I do say 'thank you' when I'm given something, like food or drinks, even if it's handed out to everyone. dunno why. probably cause I'm a guest, and it's the least I can do, unless perhaps if I helped cook the food. *shrugs* although, even then... I'd probably say 'sorry' instead ;)

speaking of which... if you inconvenience someone, the least you can do is say you're sorry. common sense, I'd thought.

none of this may be pertinent to what you asked though. *shrugs* "sorry."

Wendat Huron
Stellar Solutions
Posted - 2010.09.28 14:05:00 - [19]
 

Loco, that might work for some people but not all people are people people, I know this one guy in perticular who tries the same thing, he lack timing and feel for it and his socializing more often than not make him come off as a creep.

Having the looks, basic taller than average and non-fat appearence goes a long way, then it typically doesn't matter what you say as long as you're not overly moronic as people will want to associate good things with the tall slim one.

For reference check out the 'halo effect'.

VanNostrum
Posted - 2010.09.28 14:49:00 - [20]
 

On another note, why do people ask each other how they are? "What's up?" "How have you been doing?" "How are you?" all seem kinda pointless. These sentences are thrown out the first second somebody meets someone he knows, without being interested in the answer at all.

These questions are a merely shallow social pulp and when people ask these questions they're not genuinely interested in how you feel/are at that moment anyway!

Many social norms are obselete/pointless

Danton Marcellus
Nebula Rasa Holdings
Posted - 2010.09.28 14:56:00 - [21]
 

Originally by: VanNostrum
On another note, why do people ask each other how they are? "What's up?" "How have you been doing?" "How are you?" all seem kinda pointless. These sentences are thrown out the first second somebody meets someone he knows, without being interested in the answer at all.

These questions are a merely shallow social pulp and when people ask these questions they're not genuinely interested in how you feel/are at that moment anyway!

Many social norms are obselete/pointless


Smile I'm quite useless in this regard as I always assume a question is a question. I don't tolerate phrasetalkers so I give people the benefit of a doubt and answer them when they're not really looking for an answer. That gets me a lot of funny looks.

On top of that since I on some level acknowledge they are just phrases I never ask those questions myself and are considered rude for it.

Formalia is for those of us who cannot handle a conversation about something but hide behind a lot of nothing.

Cipher Jones
Minmatar
Posted - 2010.09.28 16:56:00 - [22]
 

Edited by: Cipher Jones on 28/09/2010 16:58:07
I worked at a resturaunt named Lonestar once. They made you say please and thank you up front when asking for something, and the habbit has just stuck.

Anyway could you please not make anymore boring posts? Thank you.

Just kidding.

I tend to disagree with your logic a bit, heres why;

In the times of the beginings of civilization/writing, it was like you said about the obligation, but not with words. If a "gift" was given, repayment was mandatory. So if you were the shoemaker and you made shoes for the bakers, when you ran out of food the bakers were obligated to give you as much bread as you gave them shoes. This was used and also abused, but remained part of society for many many generations. Today its not the case, just as saying please does not oblige somene.

I curse a lot and use a lot of bad english when speaking informally, but always say please and thank you when speaking formally, because its (part of) what makes it formal.

Oh and ninja edit to clarify about the Lonestar thing, it would be "Could you hand me the chefs knife please and thank you."


Wrayeth
EdgeGamers
Situation: Normal
Posted - 2010.09.28 17:01:00 - [23]
 

Edited by: Wrayeth on 28/09/2010 17:04:05
Originally by: VanNostrum
On another note, why do people ask each other how they are? "What's up?" "How have you been doing?" "How are you?" all seem kinda pointless. These sentences are thrown out the first second somebody meets someone he knows, without being interested in the answer at all.


TBH, this irritates the hell out of me, too. I work in phone tech support, and just about everyone I speak to from some areas (such as New York or New Jersey, U.S.) starts out their conversations with "Hi, how are you you doing?" then immediately proceeds with whatever it is they were going to say next with no chance for you to respond.

It's gotten so bad and so commonplace (and not just when takig calls at work) that when I ask people "How's it going?" or "What's up?" they don't respond to the question itself. I've found the latter is particularly prevalent in EVE, which is certainly annoying, because I really do want to know what's going on with the corp and how my buddies are doing when I first log on.

AlleyKat
Gallente
The Unwanted.
Posted - 2010.09.28 17:14:00 - [24]
 

Originally by: Riedle
I also open doors for the lady folk. I know, a dying breed.


That's because it's one of the most sexist things you can do. No troll.

By opening the door for a female, I have to ask 'why?'. Why do this? To what purpose?

Is it because you believe they are incapable of opening the door? That they lack the strength to open the door? Doesn't that mean that you view them in a different regard to men? In other words, 'unequal'?

Surely in this day and age we are past this view of women? Surely a woman is equal and should be treated as such, and not feeble or inferior that the mere act of opening a door is beyond them?

If I open a door for someone - it ain't because they are female, it would be if they would have trouble doing so - ie; they were carrying something or they were in a wheelchair - those are they ones who need help with doors, not women. (unless the person who is in a wheelchair or carrying something happens to be female).

And, if you are doing it because of some sort of attraction you have for them - then you are treating them differently based on sex. That, is sexist.

AK

Cipher Jones
Minmatar
Posted - 2010.09.28 17:18:00 - [25]
 

Originally by: AlleyKat
Originally by: Riedle
I also open doors for the lady folk. I know, a dying breed.


That's because it's one of the most sexist things you can do. No troll.

By opening the door for a female, I have to ask 'why?'. Why do this? To what purpose?

Is it because you believe they are incapable of opening the door? That they lack the strength to open the door? Doesn't that mean that you view them in a different regard to men? In other words, 'unequal'?

Surely in this day and age we are past this view of women? Surely a woman is equal and should be treated as such, and not feeble or inferior that the mere act of opening a door is beyond them?

If I open a door for someone - it ain't because they are female, it would be if they would have trouble doing so - ie; they were carrying something or they were in a wheelchair - those are they ones who need help with doors, not women. (unless the person who is in a wheelchair or carrying something happens to be female).

And, if you are doing it because of some sort of attraction you have for them - then you are treating them differently based on sex. That, is sexist.

AK



I open the door for everyone because I am polite, but sometimes I open a door for a woman because it *also* screams "I want to **** you".

Whitehound
The Whitehound Corporation
Frontline Assembly Point
Posted - 2010.09.28 17:27:00 - [26]
 

Please stop the trolling. Thank you.

Liang Nuren
Posted - 2010.09.28 17:45:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: AlleyKat
And, if you are doing it because of some sort of attraction you have for them - then you are treating them differently based on sex. That, is sexist.


So every young man that treats a lady differently because he has the hots for her is being sexist? What kind of silly stance is that, AK? At any rate, I almost always use thank you, and only sometimes please (its much more context dependent).

-Liang

Barakkus
Posted - 2010.09.28 19:03:00 - [28]
 

Originally by: AlleyKat
Originally by: Riedle
I also open doors for the lady folk. I know, a dying breed.


That's because it's one of the most sexist things you can do. No troll.

By opening the door for a female, I have to ask 'why?'. Why do this? To what purpose?

Is it because you believe they are incapable of opening the door? That they lack the strength to open the door? Doesn't that mean that you view them in a different regard to men? In other words, 'unequal'?

Surely in this day and age we are past this view of women? Surely a woman is equal and should be treated as such, and not feeble or inferior that the mere act of opening a door is beyond them?

If I open a door for someone - it ain't because they are female, it would be if they would have trouble doing so - ie; they were carrying something or they were in a wheelchair - those are they ones who need help with doors, not women. (unless the person who is in a wheelchair or carrying something happens to be female).

And, if you are doing it because of some sort of attraction you have for them - then you are treating them differently based on sex. That, is sexist.

AK


I only open doors for chicks I wanna ****.

Atticus Fynch
Gallente
Posted - 2010.09.28 19:47:00 - [29]
 

Originally by: Cipher Jones
Originally by: AlleyKat
Originally by: Riedle
I also open doors for the lady folk. I know, a dying breed.


That's because it's one of the most sexist things you can do. No troll.

By opening the door for a female, I have to ask 'why?'. Why do this? To what purpose?

Is it because you believe they are incapable of opening the door? That they lack the strength to open the door? Doesn't that mean that you view them in a different regard to men? In other words, 'unequal'?

Surely in this day and age we are past this view of women? Surely a woman is equal and should be treated as such, and not feeble or inferior that the mere act of opening a door is beyond them?

If I open a door for someone - it ain't because they are female, it would be if they would have trouble doing so - ie; they were carrying something or they were in a wheelchair - those are they ones who need help with doors, not women. (unless the person who is in a wheelchair or carrying something happens to be female).

And, if you are doing it because of some sort of attraction you have for them - then you are treating them differently based on sex. That, is sexist.

AK



I open the door for everyone because I am polite, but sometimes I open a door for a woman because it *also* screams "I want to **** you".


Subliminal social message: If I open this door for you will you open your door for me?

Slade Trillgon
Endless Possibilities Inc.
Posted - 2010.09.28 20:49:00 - [30]
 

I say please and thank you a good bit but not all the time.

I have been seeing for the past decade or so the robotic nature of people as it has to do with greetings and fairwells. That being said I do ask how people are doing and always wait for a response before escalating the conversation because I work in an environment where knowing the current disposition of the people I work with is important for the interations that may occur after they enter the premisis.

I open the door for anyone that is behind me, man or women.


Slade


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