We all like to see ourselves as happy people. We are generally happy with where we are, what we are doing, and how we are doing it. The only perspective we ever have in life is our own, based on what we see and feel. In that sense, how to express happiness, trust, sadness, and the rest of our emotions, is the best way we know how to do it.
But certainly there are times when you’ve watched a video and seen some really happy people; motivating, comforting, encouraging. You thought, wow, these people surely know how to express themselves. What exactly are they doing differently? Do they have a better understanding of manners than you do? We go to websites for guidance about manners, ideas and fears that we have. We want to present ourselves at our best, make good first impressions and instill positive energy into others.
Sometimes even at our most well-to-do behaviour we can find room for improvement. In an effort to be polite, sometimes we try too hard and forget about others; or get too excited and it comes off as being arrogant!
1. Compliment others
We are the sum of our environment; a lifetime of exposure, people, influences and places. If you are at a public event there is no limit to the thanks you can give to others, or support you can show to their cause. If you need to draw attention to yourself, give it to others first; as they say, respect is not given, it is earned. These days it is quite popular to be subtle about most things, as people are afraid to off end others in the wake of an energetic social performance. Don’t be afraid – use your energy to deliver thanks and praise to others. Be enthusiastic and true to your words. There’s no reason to be shy. We look up to charismatic people for their energy; where we have the same energy, but are just afraid to use it. Tell someone they look good in that dress; compliment someone’s attire when they least expect it; thank them for something simple. It shows you have an eye for detail, and the social room to deliver.
2. Don’t say anything negative
This is worth an entire article. Even when you are at your most polite, we often get into conversations about opinions and it is important for us to find new ways to express disapproval or disagreement. Think of teachers who have to say something positive to the parents about a poorly behaved student, despite his downsides. Think of all the times you’ve heard someone at a party start a rebuttal with:
- “Oh I hated that part when he…”
- “Oh I could never wear that colour it looks horrible on me…”
- “The wine tastes awful and…”
- “I can ‘ t believe she would…I would never”
There are as many bad adjectives in English as there are good, and we need to steer clear of them when we are talking to others. Use phrases with positive direction such as: I could see your opinion on that, though I prefer… Thanks for your suggestion, but I have better experience with… Its nice to try new wines; this one has a lighter body than I am used to… Although I see where she is coming from, I believe…
3. Respect your stance
If you are in a casual disagreement with someone you don’t know well it’s easy to just agree with them for the sake of small talk. Maybe you just want them to go away or stop talking. We’ve all been there! Though it’s a comfortable path to just say
- “Oh, I know how you feel!”,
about pretty much anything, sometimes lying for the sake of small talk makes you feel poorly, and usually the other person can see right through it as well. There are ways to deter certain topics, change the mood or respect your own opinion. In order to be more polite to others you must also be polite to yourself. You can easily disagree with others without causing conflict by keeping a positive tone of voice , being aware of your body language, and smiling. Small gestures like this act defensively, where the other person will be able to read your positive disagreement, and understand that it’s not balanced to continue the conversation. You two will subconsciously steer the topic into more friendly water until both parties are happy.
4. Body language
Today when people usually have a designer handbag and iPhone 6 in their hands at all times, we tend to forget classic social body language. In Europe it is still popular to greet and provide each other with a kiss on the cheek. Even younger people continue the tradition in a forward moving culture, just like American teenagers are revitalizing sales of vinyl records. Don’t forget, when it’s appropriate, to embrace, shake hands, and use your body language to accentuate your words and praises. They make you a more characteristic and memorable person, and people will easily remember your rhetoric and positive attitude.