It’s rules that allow us to live together better.
The word ‘politeness’ comes from the Latin politus, which means ‘smooth’, like pebbles polished by the sea.
« Thank you », « hello », « please », « goodbye », « sorry »… these magic words express politeness.
Certain attitudes, such as not interrupting, holding the door for someone or washing, show our respect towards others.
Being polite makes life more pleasant. For example, no one likes to be insulted, or pushed around.
But does politeness exist everywhere in the world?
Yes, it is found in all cultures, with varying rules.
For example, some languages have familiar or formal ways of saying ‘you’ to address… a child of your own age, the teacher, your parents, a stranger.
Well, you won’t have this difficulty in Spain, where everyone’s on first-name terms!
In France, people greet each other by shaking hands or kissing: one, two, three or even four kisses, depending on the region.
The Japanese bow to each other, without touching, while the Americans hug each other.
The rules are changing. With the Covid-19 epidemic, there’s no more kissing or shaking hands, sometimes an elbow to elbow greeting!
Whatever the case, politeness is still a way of telling the other person that he or she exists, and is respected.