Thursday, 5 January 2017

Is There Such A Thing As Being Too Polite?

A few months ago, I posted a tweet asking if anyone else had someone on their timeline who was constantly very aggressive towards other people, and had a know-all attitude. I'd noticed someone who was consistently giving their opinion in other people's conversations, and wasn't very nice about it. 35 people liked that tweet, so I guess I wasn't alone in facing that issue. However, one person responded basically telling me that they thought being an arsehole to people was a good thing, and even though I responded politely, she went on to unfollow me and subtweet me saying that people who are overly nice are the disturbing ones and calling me uptight and fake. That got me thinking, is there such a thing as being too polite?

Honestly, I kind of laughed at the subtweet saying I was overly nice, because all I could think when I went on her page was "It is so fucking obvious that you bought your followers". Nice? Definitely not. But polite? Yeah, I think I usually am. 

Don't get me wrong, I like a little gossip session as much as the next gal. On the whole I'm not that bitchy; I can be a bit of a sassy cow when you've upset me or my loved ones, but I don't enjoy hurting people or talking poorly about them. I try to live and let live, and I don't consider myself a very judgemental person. I would never straight up tell you that I think your opinion or your decisions are wrong, and I certainly wouldn't feel the need to tell you how to live your life. I just don't understand the fact that so many people on social media think they have the right to insult people who aren't doing things the way they would. If that makes me uptight and fake, so be it.

I'd like to think that it's because of this that I've naturally adopted the role of 'listener' in almost all of my friendships. People have always seemed to gravitate towards me when they have an issue, and I'd like to hope that I give unbiased, non-judgemental advice. But lately, I'm starting to think that yes, I'm being too polite.

I really enjoy interacting with people on Twitter, and I have definitely made some real friends there. But then there are people I've barely spoken to who demand a lot of time and energy from me (I'll be writing about this soon!), and I think I've finally found my politeness breaking point.

I'm the kind of person who feels guilty if I ignore an email for too long. I can't stand having little notifications all over my phone, reminding me that I need to text that person back, or need to read a direct message on Twitter. I've muted Instagram and Whatsapp groups that I just can't bring myself to leave because it's rude. I hate letting people down, and my husband regularly tells me off for saying 'sorry' all the time. But I just can't keep putting other people first with this, it's draining all of my energy. I wake up to messages from people I barely know, wanting relationship/mental health/blogging (lol as if I know about blogging) advice, and I feel like the worst person in the world if I don't reply immediately. 

I honestly don't mind helping out my friends, I don't mind listening to what's bothering them and trying to find a solution - I'd be a pretty useless friend if that wasn't the case, right? But lately it just feels like it's coming from all angles, and I can't seem to just say no. I'm losing out on time with my husband, on sleep, sometimes even just time on my own because these messages get more and more insistent. I'm getting trapped in conversations I don't want to have because I'm trying to be polite.

Some of the messages I get are honestly very distressing, and I'm a little worried that this post is going to upset those people further, but being overly polite is clearly not sustainable. Not only does it eat into my time on a daily basis, it's affecting my mental health. I've had people graphically describe self harm to me, despite knowing I'm in recovery from that. I've recently had two completely separate conversations about people who thought they might have Borderline Personality Disorder. Obviously these people didn't intend it (I hope) but those conversations were massively triggering for me and I found myself unravelling, all the progress I have made going completely to waste. I am not a mental health specialist, I can't tell you if you have a disorder. I understand people probably just want to get 'my opinion' on it, and I'm happy to share my experiences, but honestly hearing a list of shitty and abusive things someone has done being blamed on the disorder I have is feeding into stigma. Hearing that just reinforced that people see my diagnosis and think I am evil. I came away from those conversations feeling drained and terrible about myself.

This is not a 'woe is me' kind of post, it's just a word vomit about the fact that you absolutely are entitled to say no to someone who is being an emotional vampire. Relationships are all about give-and-take, and if you find yourself spending all your time putting your own feelings last in order to comfort someone who never asks how you are doing, you are completely entitled to establish some boundaries. And that time has come for me. 

I don't want to close my DMs, because I like to know that if anyone needs me they can get in touch (even though this has resulted in multiple odd messages from random guys!) but I will definitely be restricting how often I reply to people on there. Mental health related messages are one thing, but other stuff is starting to take the piss - I'm not your social media manager (until you pay me). I do want to help people, and I would always much rather be polite than rude, but it's totally fine if I just want to veg out with my husband rather than deal with a stranger's relationship woes. We are totally entitled to put ourselves first sometimes, and to focus on our own worries. Sometimes being happy is much more important than being polite.

But still, that's no reason to be an arsehole on Twitter.


Do you ever go too far when it comes to being polite? Do you find yourself saying sorry to people who banged into you, or letting people in front of you in the queue only for them to not thank you whatsoever? 


  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head really! Politeness is definitely good and manners don't cost anything, but when being polite comes at a cost to your happiness or health, it's too much. Politeness get in the way of you asking for what you need or telling people how it is if you need to ♥

  2. This is so spot on I can't even tell you how much I was like PREACH GURL reading it, so much so I read it 3 times. #fangirl.

    You're so right, the amount we do for people who won't do anything for us, who make us feel bad is insane for the strain it puts on us and all from being too damn polite.

    The until you pay me bit made me lol though ;)


  3. Nice does not always equal fake! I used to be terrible when I was younger, utterly terrified of being "nasty" to anyone, so I was probably way too polite even to people who were utterly putrid to me! I really giggled at the term you used: "emotional vampire"! It's hard to say no to people like that but you can't let them emotionally manipulate you and wear you out - you and your MH are important too!!

    Abbey 😁

  4. I can 100% relate to this post! I am still trying to break the habit of constantly saying yes to people, but it really is difficult when that's essentially all you've ever done. My first step was being able to say no to family, after feeling like I was constantly the one to solve everyone's problems (finacially), which started to negatively impact me (emotionally).

    Then it came down to being able to say 'enough is enough' at work and bag myself a new job where I would be appreciated. I do believe there's a thing of 'being too polite' and that 'beign too polite' can occasionally have a negative impact on you (sometimes people take advantage of it and it starts to slowly affect you), but I also see the upside to it - we're simply nice people and want to help out and simply do what we think is best at the time. No harm in that, right?

    Kayleigh x


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