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Are We Being Too Polite?

Source | LinkedIn : By Swati Ghan

Being a mother to a child with borderline Autism I have to continuously change my communication style to ensure that my son understands a particular concept well.

Of course being a professional with a reasonable amount of training experience helps.

Recently, I went to meet a Yoga teacher for a session at my office.  Since the meeting happened post office hours my children were with me (I have a girl too). The Yoga teacher had a very nasty looking bulge near her eye due to an allergic reaction. As adults we hesitate to ask what happened, we worry about crossing the line and offend the other person. Countless number of business etiquette sessions, vociferous announcements of people proclaiming to be independent and wanting to guard their privacy like a hound have resulted in most of us forgetting the basics of being a human.

My boy taught me a lesson that day and had me thinking…….Shantanu, is a little hesitant to connect with strangers right away but there, within a minute of observing the teacher he went to her, touched her bruise and asked in a concerned voice, “ are you hurt, did you fall down”? I was amazed at my boy’s reaction and the yoga teacher obviously amused, shifted her attention and was ready to share her story with him.

On our way back, I wondered, have we become too polite to even ask about something very obvious?

What holds us back from being nice, wanting to display an emotion that we feel spontaneously? I strongly believe that most people are good; at least, they start as good. Being devious definitely has a history. Sometimes circumstances play truant.

Most times we all feel multiple emotions of concern, love, and camaraderie but somehow it gets discarded for the sake of being politically correct, not stepping the line, not mixing personal with professional so much so that we  inevitably reach a point of sheer exhaustion.

I  quote one of my mangers “if the intent is right, let’s not worry about a situation gone wrong”.

This self-imposed bondage of “being too polite” is somehow not letting those fine relationships bloom.

The times that we live in, personal almost mixes with the professional, which doesNOT mean that everyone is privy to our true self. We needn’t be thick friends to share a warm handshake, a pat on the back, share a concern or simply offer our shoulder to cry on. Most times this is all a person wants.

Personally, over the years, I sometimes, almost shamelessly (to some) cross that line, ask those questions intuitively. Yes, there have been  looks but most of the times there was a warm exchange. Some great friendships started there.

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