Being rude is the antithesis to consideration for our fellow humans. Politeness, civility, chivalry, all these things are pushed aside for brash and harsh conduct when you are rude. But is rudeness truly a flaw or simply a no-nonsense philosophy that seeks to make speech less flowery and more efficient?
Some rude, unabashed people would site honesty as the reason for their lack of politeness. They say it like it is. They don’t sugar-coat the truth.
Language is not maths, however. There is not only one truth or a single way of conveying that truth.
If we say Alice has failed at her task we could say: “Alice, you screwed up.”
Straight forward, to the point, but also not exactly polite.
If we say: “Alice, you will have to do better.” We are saying the exact same thing, but in a less rude way.
The truth is that Alice failed. How we convey that truth will only impact how Alice feels. And this distinction lies at the heart of what politeness is. It is not bending the truth but taking other people into account when we deliver that truth.
Please and Thank you are also additional phrases that change something from a command to a request. A request is not necessarily an option, just a brief kindness in the tone of the interaction.
Yes, it took a few extra words to soften the message, but what could we gain by making the interaction less rude?
In the first example, Alice might be more inclined to learn what she could do to improve. And little bits of kindness build up the moral of the whole office. That moral boosts productivity and motivates staff to work together better in order to serve the team that they are a part of.