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The unspoken rules of politeness

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You know what I find fascinating? Unspoken social expectations. Like waving someone through a stop sign when you arrived at the same time or leaving the last piece of food on a plate, and when someone offers it to you, there’s this cumbersome back and forth of “No, I couldn’t possibly, you take it,” which goes on far longer than it should.

Another one and this is a big one is holding doors open for others. What’s the etiquette for this? How far away is too far? And what about that awkward shuffle when one person is holding the door, another is trying to exit, and another is trying to enter. (This happened recently to a friend and I, and let me say, awkward is a more than apt description.)

It’s not that I’m against these acts I understand they come from kindness but where did they originate from? Why do we do them? What if we just didn’t do them. Think about that for a while.

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Image: Simer Haer/The Cascade

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