Stupid politeness rules

United States
July 19, 2013 5:54pm CST
A moment ago my sister in law was asking to help us with back to school expenses. According to politeness standards in America I'm supposed to say "Oh no! You don't need to do that!" and then we're supposed to argue back and forth about it even if we do need the help, but instead I'm like "Oh um....yeah. I guess...we do need some..things". My sister in law was just staring at me hard after that which made me uncomfortable so I just looked at the ground and wished she would turn away already. Stupid rules.
5 people like this
7 responses
• China
31 Oct 13
Same here in China. Such kind of politeness rules trouble me into guessing the real intention of others in order not to mistake them. Sometimes I would lament, Oh, kill me! Why not go straight? So that's what in our culture. You can be straight yourself but you have to understand it since others may like so.
1 person likes this
• Baguio, Philippines
20 Jul 13
same here in the Philippines, but then, why would they ask if we need help in the first place expecting us to say no, right? people should only ask if they are sincere in helping out, not ask just because they have to.
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@mike05 (156)
20 Jul 13
The UK probably has the most stupid rules regarding politeness. "how are you"....we are expected to answer we're fine. "do you mind if I....."we're expected to say no of course not. I try to buck the trend. If someone asks me how I am I'll tell them. If they ask me if I mind them doing/asking so and so I'll tell them straight. If people don't want to hear the answer don't ask the question.
1 person likes this
• Shanghai, China
20 Jul 13
what does it mean by 'back to school expenses' and why did you argue with your sister,i don't understand
• United States
20 Jul 13
As in buying things that would be needed for the students return to school after summer vacation. I didn't argue with her. I was only saying we're expected to according to our silly politeness rules. Example: I might respond with "Oh no! You don't need to do that!" Then she might say "Oh, but we insist" and then I might say "Oh, but I couldn't ask you to do that" and it would continue until she "insists that I let her help and she's not backing down". Something like that.
• Shanghai, China
20 Jul 13
@cupkitties oh, i get it now, actually the same condition will also happen to us in china,so we should try to adapt it .
2 people like this
• New Delhi, India
22 Jul 13
haha.. same happens in India too. Sometimes argue ends into a friendly war too.. I love watching my parents doing that with my relatives.
@hereandthere (23122)
• Philippines
20 Jul 13
sometimes i think saying "you shouldn't have to do that" is meant to make the "helper" feel good that they're being generous, compassionate (in some cases, doing a great sacrifice or fulfilling their obligations). but once accepted, you can't tell if they will be among those who will come collecting in the future. some do not since they're lucky to be consistently successful, but will remind you indirectly of that time in your life, so in effect, helping is like a "power" thing, too.
• Harbin, China
22 Jul 13
There are lots of things like that in china; maybe it is ways that show thanks to the helper. I don’t know, but maybe that way will make tanks giver feel better.
• Pune, India
22 Jul 13
Haha. That's what i call "token politeness". You argue about something when in actuality you mean something else entirely. I really don't know why people do it...beats me!