A Quora answer to a question on the perceived "coldness" of Nordic people introduced me to the concept of "Politeness Theory". I have doubts about the perspective of the theory.
What I refer to as "Warm Courtesy" is, to me, rather intrusive. Its characteristics include (from Quora, with corrections):
- not leaving people alone
- making sure people feel welcome
- offering company without stopping to ask if it’s needed, so that other people don’t feel lonely
- not paying much attention to personal space
- not necessarily paying much attention to punctuality (if you have to choose between stopping to talk to someone and being punctual, the former is considered more important)
- prioritising connecting and communication to other people’s privacy or sleep
- not necessarily protecting other people from loud sounds (prioritising sharing a nice moment with your friends)
As a whole, people consider it much more important to communicate to other people that they are cared for and that they are not alone than respecting their individuality, freedom and privacy.
Among characteristics of what I refer to as "Cool Courtesy" are (from Quora, again):
- not disturbing other people by interrupting what they were doing, unless necessary
- not intruding into someone’s company if not asked
- respecting the personal space of other people by not drawing too near them
- not taking too much space in the street or in public transportation
- appreciating other people’s precious time by being punctual and going straight to the point
- appreciating other people’s need for privacy by not asking personal questions, not visiting anyone without invitation, and not making suggestions if rejecting them would be awkward
- respecting other people’s need for peace and quiet by not making too much noise
In short; Warm Courtesy cares, Cool Courtesy respects.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.