Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are English people polite?

This is another mini-poll I found that asks the question:

England is widely known as one of the most polite nations in Europe, yet the English themselves often complain about a lack of politeness in their country in recent years. Compared with the situation a decade ago, how do you feel about the issue?

We are as polite as we have always been........................7%
We are not as polite as we used to be and I wish
we could return to the previous standard......................67%
We are not as polite as we used to be but we are
still sufficiently polite; there is no need to change... .....12%
We are more polite than we used to be...........................1%
We have never been an especially polite nation..............7%
I don't know...................................................................7%

As I've said many times before, I'm not here to bash the English. That's stupid. But having lived here, and been around English people for a long time, I can freely admit that most of them do feel that they are very polite.

At least to each other. But when it comes to foreigners, it doesn't always come across that way. We all know about the stereotypes of the French, the Germans, the Russians, New Yorkers, etc. Everyone can be characterized as something without it necessarily being true.

What I've experienced at times with the English is that they can be extremely rude at times. The difference is, they just don't realize they're doing it. If you would try to explain to them how they were rude, they wouldn't believe it. And would be offended at you for even suggesting it.

One of the great quotes I've ever read from a book, (and I can't remember who said it, but it wasn't me, I'm not taking credit) was about the English. In the book, the character says,

"You can have a conversation with an English person and remark how polite and respectful they are, and it isn't until 3 days later that you realize you've actually been insulted."

People here have treated me great, and some of my best friends I've ever had are English. But that quote is so true. But, much as they've learned to accept me as who I am, I've learned to accept them as they are.

After all, it's sticks and stones.

Thanks to Lightspeed Panel for the poll.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

I don't know that I noticed a significant difference between them and Americans.

The only time one really got snippy with me was when I pointed out their tendency to add an "er" sound to words that end in consonant+a (ie, agenda sounds like agender but just slightly different). My professor got a little mad that an American would point out a problem with how she spoke English. Oops. She still gave me an A, though.

Ron Rollins said...

No, overall, they are polite. but there is an undercurrent there.

It takes a long to figure it out, and it's not all of them. Most English who have been to the states aren't like that.

But there are some that just can't resist making little comments and digs every chance they get.

Like calling baseball 'rounders' and a 'girl's game'.

It's the big brother/little brother syndrome, where the little brother has outdone the big brother in life, with a better job or more prestige. The big brother will always try to reassert their control to remind everyone they are the big brother.

Anonymous said...

I'm really Glad i discovered this website.Added to my bookmark!

Uri Johanson said...

I teach Maths to English students 12 to 17yrs for the last ten years but after all these years I still find it very difficult to make them learn things because of the lack of their manners. I often get sworn at or called names by students since I have a foreign accent and name. It surprises me to think that English people are the most polite nation in the world. They are academically falling behind the OECD countries and their knowledge of other cultures including the EU members miserably fail too. Who cares if they perfectly line up in queues or thank the bus driver in a chain reaction. Go take care of your own parents who spend their Christmas lonely, respect your teachers and all that hard working foreign nationals at the NHS and in the catering business. And don't let your fake manners or so-called politeness in the way.