We all like to be around people who are extremely charismatic. (And while you might not think so, charisma can definitely be developed.) We all like to be around people who are extremely likable. (With a little effort, you can be a lot more likable, too.)
The same is also true where good manners are concerned. We all like to be around people who are genuinely courteous. (Not fake courtesy, though: sincere courtesy.)
Why? They make us feel welcomed and comfortable. They make us feel valued. They make us feel good about ourselves.
And if that isn't reason enough... we love doing business with people who treat us with courtesy and respect.
Here's how they do it, and you can too:
1. They always come to you.
You're at a party. A friend gestures to someone several steps away and says, "Let me introduce you to Bob." Bob sees you coming.
And he stands there, waiting for you to come to him in some weird power move.
Remarkably polite people, no matter how great their perceived status, step forward, smile, tilt their head slightly downward (a sign of respect in every culture), and act as if they are the one honored by the introduction, not you.
(That's what Mark Cuban did when I met him. He heard I wanted to meet him and immediately walked across the room -- where I was waiting to see if it would be OK --to say hello. The fact I remember how gracious he was tells you everything you need to know about the impression he made.)
In short, courteous people never big-time you; instead, they always make you feel big time.
2. They use the name you used to introduce yourself.
You're at an event. You introduce yourself to me as Christopher. We talk. Within minutes, I'm calling you Chris. Or C-Dog. Or C-man.
Maybe your friends call you C-Dog, but we're not friends (yet), and you definitely haven't given me permission to go full diminutive on you... much less full nickname.
Courteous people wait to be asked to use a different, more familiar name. They call you what you ask to be called, because it's your right to be addressed in the way you wish to be addressed.
Anything less would be uncivilized.
3. They never speak out of school.
Some people share incessantly on social media. And maybe you occasionally see what they've been up to.
But courteous people don't bring those things up. They talk about sports, they talk about the weather, they talk about how The Walking Dead is a metaphor for life in corporate America, but they only talk about personal subjects the other person actually discloses in person.
Maybe it seems like the person wants everyone to know about a personal subject, but in fact that's rarely the case. So unless his or her social media broadcasts were specifically directed to you, always wait.
4. Except for shaking hands, they wait to touch you until you touch them.
Here's a simple rule: When in doubt, wait for the other person to establish the "touch guidelines."
While I know that sounds like no one will ever hug or pat a shoulder or forearm because no one can ever go first, don't worry. Huggers hug. Patters pat. Backslappers slap. That's what they do.
And you can go one step farther: don't pat or squeeze or slap (in a good way), even if they are patted or squeezed or slapped. Sure, they hug back... but they don't reciprocate other forms of touch.
Why? Some people don't even realize they're touching you, but they definitely notice when you touch them.
That makes them feel uncomfortable, and discomfort is the last way you want other people to feel.
5. They deftly handle any elephants in the room.
An acquaintance's mom died a few weeks ago: you see him and you're not sure whether to bring it up.
Courteous people always bring it up. They keep it simple, like, "I was sorry to hear about your mother. I've been thinking about you and am hoping you're doing OK."
Is that awkward? Absolutely not. You've expressed your condolences and now you can both move on. Your friend no longer wonders if and when you might mention it, and you are longer wonder whether you should.
Where relationships are concerned, the best elephant is a banished elephant.
6. They refuse to gossip -- or listen to gossip.
It's hard to resist the inside scoop. Finding out the reasons behind someone's decisions, the motivations behind someone's actions, the skinny behind someone's hidden agenda -- much less whether Cameron is really dating Anna from accounting--those conversations are hard to resist.
Courteous people know gossiping about other people makes you wonder what they're saying about you. In fact, when someone starts to talk about someone else, polite people excuse themselves and walk away. They don't worry that they will lose a gossiper's respect; anyone willing to gossip doesn't respect other people anyway.
If you want to share the inside scoop, talk openly about your own thoughts or feeling. Then you're not gossiping, you're being genuine.
But at the same time...
7. They never share the greater glory of themselves.
How can you tell? If you're talking about something just because it feels really good to share it, and there's no place for the other person to add value, you're just patting yourself on the back.
When remarkably polite people want to talk about themselves, they ask for advice --but not humblebrag advice like, "I notice you keep your car really clean; what wax do you think would be good for my Porsche?" (I'm not making that one up. A guy once asked me that.)
Ask a question that shows you truly value the other person's expertise or knowledge. The person will feel good, because you implicitly show you trust his or her opinion; you actually get input you can use.
8. They don't push their opinions.
We all know things. Cool things. Great things.
Just make sure you share those things in the right settings. If you're a mentor, share away. If you're a coach or a leader, share away. If you're the guy who just started a new workout plan, don't tell us all what to order unless we ask.
Courteous people know that what is right for them might not be right for others -- and even if it is right, it is not their place to decide that for you.
Like most things in life, offering helpful advice is all about picking the right spot -- and the right spot is always after you are asked.
9. They don't judge.
Don't judge the person you're speaking to. Don't judge other people in general. Don't judge other cultures or countries or, well, anything.
Why? None of us are perfect.
10. They're masters of the art of Social Jiu-Jitsu.
You meet someone, talk for 20 minutes, and walk away thinking, "Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome."
Of course, when you think about it later, you realize you didn't learn a thing about her.
Courteous people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJ masters are fascinated by your every career step, your every journey of personal transformation, your every clever maneuver on your climb to the top of your social ladder...
They find you fascinating -- and that gives you permission to find yourself fascinating. (That's an authorization we all enjoy.)
Social Jiu-Jitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how she did it. Or why she did it. Or what she liked about it, or what she learned from it, or what you should do if you're in a similar situation.
And don't think you're being manipulative, because you're not. Showing a sincere interest in people isn't manipulative. It's fun -- for you and for them. They get to talk about things they're passionate about, and you get to enjoy their enthusiasm and excitement and passion.
And if that's not enough, think of it this way: No one receives too much respect. Asking other people about themselves implicitly shows you respect them.
Respect is a manifestation form of grace and courtesy.
11. They never stop being courteous.
Courteous people don't just turn on the charm the first time you meet. They don't use it and lose it.
They keep on being gracious, partly because they know no other way to be, but also because they believe there is no other way to be.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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