January 17, 2013

Can We Be Polite Without Some People Mistaking It For Flirting?

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Can We Be Polite Without Some People Mistaking It For Flirting?

Politeness and being friendly are increasingly rare concepts. Nowadays when someone shows courtesy or helps a person who may need a hand, they’re hailed as a local hero of sorts. People are in awe and we get headlines reading, “AMAZINGLY HEART-WARMING STORY OF SHOCKINGLY NICE MAN HELPING WOMAN WHO DROPPED A BAG OF GROCERIES.” Don’t get me wrong, that would be a kind gesture — my only point is that these types of acts have become so rare, we’re shocked to see people be helpful.

It seems that niceness on a grand scale has become so uncommon that we almost expect people to be rude, or, if we’re lucky, ignore us entirely. A friendly “Hi” to a passerby or assistance to a needy stranger has become infrequent for many reason, one of which is a really obnoxious misunderstanding. Here’s what happens – the majority of people are levelheaded; they enjoy friendliness and kind gestures, whether they’re giving or receiving. Then, there are the others who ruin it for everyone. The people who are either blatantly conceited or arrogantly oblivious, who feel the need to be smug to kindness. Why? Because in their mind, surely a person’s nice gesture is an act of flirtation.

That girl only said “Hey, how’s it going?” because she wants him to ask for her number. And that guy only held the door open because he wants that girl sooo bad. These are the ridiculous mindsets some people actually have. The most vain individuals can’t even be looked at! You make eye contact with ‘em, or have your pupils angled in their vicinity, and they’re convinced you’re staring like a crazy person. You’re creepily obsessed with them and want to get married and have kids; two of them, a boy named Tyler and a girl – Elizabeth — but you’ll call her Lizzy for short. These self-absorbed suckers have made any type of interaction tense, because we don’t want to give the wrong impression.

It’s difficult because, I personally like to greet anyone I pass on the street. Sure, sometimes I overcompensate and turn the charm on high for elderly folks — just so they know I’m one of the respectful young people, but that’s where it stops! I’ve knowingly grown hesitant to say “hello” or interact with people, specifically ones around my age, out of fear that they’ll mistake me for some wannabe pick-up-artist spitting lame game at ‘em.

It’s unfortunate that society has reached a point where everyday greetings and helping hands are so rare, they’re now mistaken for flirtation. Should we start speaking monotone or be as unenthusiastic as possible when speaking so it’s clear we don’t have any ulterior motives? Or do we just spread politeness and risk having the occasional narcissistic egomaniac thinking we want to jump their bones? Right alongside bad parents, these types of people are largely responsible for the lack of common decency and hesitance to be courteous in modern times. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock
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