Questions tagged [politeness]

A behaviour that is respectful and considerate of other people. To be used when consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy is on the line. For question regarding someone else rudeness, use the "rudeness" tag.

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129
votes
12answers
41k views

I'm 24 with a 4-year-old son. How to handle uncomfortable questions from people?

I'm 24 years old and I have a 4 year old son who was conceived by accident. I don't know about other countries but that's definitely not usual in mine (Spain). My son's mother and I broke up about ...
123
votes
14answers
24k views

How to deal politely with people asking about your job but unable to understand it?

I work as a researcher in a very abstract field of Mathematics (this kind of thing) It is very pure Mathematics, without any concrete applications. When I meet somebody for the first time, they often ...
112
votes
11answers
25k views

How to politely notify in an online conversation that I am a woman?

Context I am a woman and I sometimes post things online, on Stack Exchange for instance. Usually, my posts are very neutral and do not provide any hint of my gender. It seems that most people assume ...
105
votes
7answers
21k views

How to avoid explaining science to strangers

So, I was at a Barbeque the other day and a situation occurred that, well, I'm getting tired of. It happens almost every time I meet a new group of people. When you meet someone, eventually you come ...
103
votes
8answers
38k views

How can I tactfully refuse to switch seats on flights?

On flights, seatmates (strangers near my seat) have asked me to swap my aisle seat (reserved in advance, sometimes paid for), usually to my disadvantage as their seat has some snag (dirtier, narrower, ...
101
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9answers
20k views

How to tell someone believing in pseudoscience & conspiracy theories is wrong without making them feel stupid/upset?

A close family member of mine is a raw vegan, anti vaxer, anti-antibiotics, anti-fluoride, believes in chemtrails, has a machine that filters water and makes it alkaline, eats lots of supplements, ...
91
votes
14answers
51k views

How to respond when a Doctor's Receptionist asks the reason for the appointment, after confirming appointment is made?

I have recently come across a situation that made me feel very uncomfortable, especially if it had been more of a personal issue. I contacted my doctor yesterday with pains in my hand/wrist as I didn'...
87
votes
9answers
19k views

What is the etiquette for asking a dog owner before I pet their dog?

Dogs are what I see mostly out on my day to day activities and I see some tied up outside shops and I'll pet them, I'll also pet some in passing i.e. just stroking them as I walk past and sometimes as ...
87
votes
16answers
33k views

How to tell an overweight person that the hike will be too hard?

Please note, I don't want to be mean or anything and I don't want to go "fat shaming" or things like that. Context With my SO and a couple of friends, we planned a hike for this summer. The GR20 is ...
85
votes
8answers
46k views

How to reject a proposal from a close friend?

I have been friends with a girl at work for more than a year. I have always seen her as a friend and I am pretty sure I never did anything to lead her on. I am going to switch jobs in a couple of ...
79
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9answers
21k views

How do I stop making people jump at home and at work?

I make a lot of people jump when I enter the room or try to get their attention. I am not sure what exactly I am doing wrong, but I would like to stop it so I am looking for suggestions. I have had a ...
79
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9answers
17k views

How to discuss girlfriend's weight loss plans?

My girlfriend is in the process of losing weight, and the topic comes up between us occasionally (at her instigation), usually with a context of "I'm going to be so much hotter in a few months". She'...
73
votes
12answers
25k views

Asking a coworker to discontinue his chivalrous acts towards me?

I've made a friend, Bob, in my workplace who is too much of a gentleman for my comfort level. Initially, we became fast friends due to our shared interests and political beliefs. We often message ...
73
votes
5answers
16k views

Offering to share my umbrella without sounding creepy

Yesterday afternoon I (male, late 30) went to the supermarket in my neighborhood to buy something. Since the sky was menacing rain, I took along an umbrella. Lucky me, when I got out from the ...
72
votes
6answers
15k views

Politely telling an incompetent software project volunteer they are too inexperienced

I am currently the project lead of an online volunteer run software project. I originally created this and work on it my in free time. There are also a few other people who took interest in this ...
68
votes
14answers
19k views

Dealing with a person who continuously needs help

Background I have a "friend" who is currently employed at a job as a software developer. Unfortunately, this friend of mine isn't at all willing to look for solutions by themselves. They would rather ...
68
votes
11answers
19k views

What could you possibly say to a friend who cooked a meal you didn't enjoy at all?

Some friends invite you to their home. There's just the 4 of you (2 couples). S/he is cooking. At the end, s/he is asking you how was the meal s/he made for you. You didn't enjoy it at all, food was ...
67
votes
12answers
21k views

Stopping a relationship with a good friend because It's too overwhelming and new for me

Context : I'm in my early forties and I've always been a loner and never really made friends. Until recently I didn't even know what was so great about them. I don't have any problems socializing, ...
67
votes
10answers
21k views

How to politely deal with white people wanting to talk to me about racism/race issues

Now this is a sensitive topic, and I do not wish to offend anyone's sensibilities - but at the same time, I want to know of an effective way of dealing with the disproportionate emotional work ...
64
votes
9answers
12k views

How do I deal with people who can't deal with local payment customs?

I live in Japan. Japan still has a very cash oriented society especially when it comes to restaurants. Often someone will visit from out of town and will expect to be able to (1) pay with a credit ...
62
votes
7answers
14k views

How to politely stress that I do not wish to eat something?

A couple of weeks ago me and my partner decided to change our diet/lifestyle to a mostly plant based diet. It has made us feel much better and happier. We make the occasional exception here and there ...
62
votes
6answers
23k views

How do I politely indicate that I want to go home?

Situation: I hang out with A for a while. Having lunch together, shopping for a bit. I now feel tired and I want to go home. I don't dislike the person and I don't want to give them the impression I ...
61
votes
15answers
36k views

How to let people know I don't appreciate being ignored in instant messaging?

When talking with people through instant messenger or texting, I find it rude when someone doesn't reply. The other day I had met up with someone I knew from school. He told me about a business idea ...
61
votes
8answers
17k views

How to make clear to people I don't want to answer their “Where are you from?” question?

I live in the UK but am not originally from here, having moved in the last decade. Quite often when I talk to people I get asked where I'm from. It usually seems to be in response to my accent, as I'...
60
votes
4answers
10k views

Dismissing a stranger asking for help without being dismissive of their possible situation?

For some background into the layout of where this situation takes place, my apartment complex has it's own dog park. Within a few hundred feet of the dog park is a large and spacious public park, ...
59
votes
6answers
16k views

How do I tell a woman that her pants have a menstruation stain?

I was working in my work space today and a female coworker came to give me some information that I needed, then left. I'm male. Suddenly, when she was on her way back to her work space, I saw a ...
58
votes
10answers
20k views

How to politely interrupt recruiters who keep cold-calling me during my work hours?

About a year and a half ago I was waist deep in a job search. Having found a new job, I've since attempted to remove my resume from the internet. However, this hasn't stopped recruiters from finding ...
58
votes
5answers
12k views

How do I convince someone formalities between internet friends aren't necessary over a casual, informal text chat?

I have a friend of mine who absolutely refuses to begin conversations online by just asking me what they want, and instead insists on formalities that drive me crazy. We're online gaming friends, so ...
55
votes
5answers
6k views

How to leave when I'm not part of the conversation?

This is something that I constantly run into. I don't talk much, especially in large groups, so there will often come a time when I want to leave, but don't know how to do so. I can think of two ...
54
votes
4answers
18k views

How to tell a trans couple that their overly romantic behaviour makes you uncomfortable, without coming across transphobic?

Intro: We all have seen a couple who are so in love they have lengthy kisses in public, always display affection, call each other cute names and wherever they go or sit, they always appear to cuddle. ...
53
votes
8answers
12k views

How to tell someone to be quiet immediately while listening to an announcement?

Backstory: my girlfriend and I were at a sporting event, having casual conversation, but an announcement came over the loud speaker that caught my interest and I wanted to hear. I turned my head so ...
53
votes
11answers
17k views

Asking waiters to let you eat in peace

My problem is that whenever I go to any restaurant where they serve you food, they first take your order, then they bring it and while you are eating with your mouth full of food they have to come to ...
53
votes
11answers
23k views

How do I get someone to call me by the name I prefer?

Let's say my name is Fred. My family and friends call me that and when I introduce myself I use that name. Well, of course you can imagine that I'm registered as Frederick, but nobody calls me that. I ...
51
votes
11answers
22k views

“Stole” my friend's excitement about a personal project - how to deal with the fallout

Background: I work at a woodworking shop, doing design etc. and both myself and a colleague sometimes do personal projects using the tools, machinery etc. here in our own time. These projects are ...
49
votes
6answers
22k views

How do I respond when someone answers 'Yes' when I ask “Would anyone like the last [Item]?”?

So today at work we had a tray of doughnuts, my colleague called out to the office, "I'm going to have the last one unless anyone else would like it?". At this point, I realised that I don't think I'...
48
votes
10answers
10k views

How to communicate to a new coworker that I am not comfortable being touched?

Last week a new coworker joined our team, and yesterday we were both invited to eat lunch in the work cafeteria with some other colleagues that I have known for around a year and a half. As he, ...
47
votes
8answers
10k views

How to politely correct a teacher?

I'm a high-school student in the United States, and from time to time a teacher makes a mistake while writing on the board in front of the class. Usually, the mistakes are minor, such as forgotten ...
46
votes
12answers
19k views

Is it rude to ask if a pregnancy was planned? [closed]

When someone tells you that they (or their partner) are pregnant, is it rude or impolite to ask if the pregnancy was planned? I imagine it depends on how close one is to the couple or one of the (...
43
votes
12answers
22k views

How to get my wife to remember to say “please”

We've been married for over five years now, have two little kids and our relationship is as good as can be. We both value harmony very highly and thus tend to avoid an open conflict whenever possible -...
43
votes
5answers
10k views

How can I ask a possible long-lost relative to prove his identity?

I found myself in a peculiar situation yesterday. I was contacted via Facebook by a person (let's call him Bob) who claimed that he was one of my mom's cousins and hadn't talked to her in over 40 ...
43
votes
7answers
13k views

How to avoid “who are you?” as a response to “how are you?”

Last week, I got a phone call from an unknown number, and the conversation went this way: Her : How are you? Me  : Who are you? To put things in context, she turned out to be an old ...
42
votes
11answers
10k views

How can you distance yourself from people you have nothing in common with without being a snob?

Over the last couple of months, I was entrusted by a few people in my workplace with the fact that I was considered a snob by a large part of the staff. That sort of hit a soft spot since I always ...
42
votes
10answers
14k views

How to answer a technical question without sounding patronizing

Context : My girlfriend (let's call her V) and I, are programmers, and sometimes we ask each other questions when we believe the other may have an answer. A few times, she’s told me that I sounded ...
42
votes
10answers
17k views

What do you do if someone is telling you something you already know about, such as a fact or something that happened?

One thing that has been happening lately is that people will tell me something that I already know. Naturally, I respond saying something like, "oh I heard/read about that". However, I feel like when ...
41
votes
12answers
14k views

How should I ask people to stop over explaining things?

Most people that I interact with on a daily/regular basis seem to need to over explain and qualify every statement. An example would be: I'm heading out shortly and your car is blocking the drive. ...
41
votes
7answers
9k views

How to establish boundaries with a roommate without confrontation?

For some context - this is my first semester in college where I'm having a roommate, and there have been several complications. It's off-campus housing and we don't attend the same university. My ...
40
votes
9answers
13k views

How can I talk to my boyfriend about chores “sharing”?

Background I have been living with my boyfriend for three months. Both of us are working as trainees in different companies, but while he has 2 hours of daily commuting, I can reach my workplace ...
39
votes
2answers
19k views

Politely ask a female friend to stop lying to me about her relationship

I have this female friend who likes hanging with me. She even comes at my place to spend some time. She's my good friend. Sometimes back, she had a heartbreak and she's been telling me she is not ...
39
votes
7answers
9k views

Is there a Russian etiquette on declining offers of food when visiting someone?

I'm 15 years old, living in Israel. Occasionally, I visit senior citizens on their birthdays - bringing balloons and stuff, with a few other people. These people who we visit are usually older ...
38
votes
9answers
8k views

How to join in when people are gossiping?

I have been struggling with this for quite a while now. Sometimes, I have to interact with people whom I did not choose as friends (read: family and neighbors). After the last event (a neighborhood ...