When Politeness Makes Me Uncomfortable

How hypocritical is it to thank someone for a kindness while simultaneously deciding to avoid him or her in the future?

This, I suspect, is an introvert problem.

Every so often I find myself in this situation with people who are nice enough people, but have values and ideas that don’t jive with my own.  Not outright bad people, mind you.  But people who wear me out with their limited thinking or inconsistent behavior.  Or incessant chatter.

Just too much, too much.

Each time I thank one of these people for his or her contribution/generosity/concern in regard to something or other, I feel uncomfortable.  This is because I know that in order to stay true to myself and my goals, I have no intention of maintaining a relationship with any of these people in the future.

That they are on the way out of my life.

However there I am, playing nice-y nice, and feeling like the pretense of each situation is an itchy old wool winter coat that I’ve outgrown, but have yet to give to Goodwill.  Leading me to conclude that what I’d describe as hypocrisy, like wool, makes me squirm, even when it is of my own doing.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Charmingly cynical. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Fond of words.

17 thoughts on “When Politeness Makes Me Uncomfortable”

  1. I definitely feel you here! I seem to fall into this situation a couple of times a week. And it’s so difficult to be patient and listen with feigned interest to the chatterers. But I also feel that maybe they just need someone to listen and just nod. Now you’ve made me wonder who I’ve come into contact with who feels the same way about me!!


  2. I feel it. I have never really enjoyed the traditionally “sweet” people. They are so nice that you respond in kind and vow to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. They probably feel the same way about me but are too sweet to recognize it.


    1. Kate, I’m with you. Somehow all those “sweet” people don’t seem quite so sweet to me, either. I won’t be rude, but I’m always relieved to be moving along while making a mental note re: avoid in future.

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  3. You nailed it with that last paragraph. (and somehow certain parties’ constant perky chatter chatter-they-mean-well- chatter just makes my ears feel completely exhausted and limp – or folding in self preservation once safely in my nice quiet car. Scratchy wool, for sure)


  4. I think you’re being true to yourself. I don’t feel like it’s hypocritical to be the kind person that you are while at the same time letting go (or pushing out) of the toxic people in your life.


    1. Zazzy, well that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? Being true to me, while realizing that it’s time for me to move on and avoid the crazy that these people bring into my life. Like I said, none of them are awful people, but I groove to a different beat than they do.


  5. Been there so many times! It’s in line with my vow to Never Do Facebook.

    It is to your credit that you are patient and polite and gracious at the time when you kindly and quietly usher them out of your life. Some people are, by nature, quite calisthenic. I need my Zen, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And it may very well be that, a little farther down Their Roads, they discover that they do, too.


    1. nance, I agree that at some point some of these people may start thinking for themselves, get organized, calm down. But until they do I’m like you in that I need my Zen moments and won’t let anyone take them from me anymore. Just feels weird to know that I’m saying “so long” when I say “thank you.”


  6. Andra, I think that you’re onto something there. I’m beginning to do the same thing because like I said above: “Just too much, too much.” I need to conserve my energy for something more constructive. Whatever that might be.


  7. Being gracious and polite, yet not wanting to pursue or continue a relationship is not hypocrisy, it’s good etiquette. You are allowing them to be the people they are while setting boundaries for yourself and your exposure to them. I am a very talkative sort, but also a decent listener. However, I think you would find me way too high energy and intense. 🙂


    1. Margaret, I like your idea that it’s just good etiquette. That makes me feel less hypocritical. As for high energy people, I do know a few who I enjoy being around. It may not be the high energy that wears me out as much as insincerity + stupidity [which you are not]. Those 2 personality traits do me in every time.


      1. la p, thanks for the support. It’s such a fine line one walks when one tries to be polite, but not lose her soul in the process. You and Margaret have convinced me that I’m doing a-okay. Thanks.


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