Dr. Romance writes:

Politeness and sensitivity are not held in high esteem in the media these days. The nastiest politicians get the most air time. Many media spokespeople, stars and commentators, “gangsta” rappers, nasty radio talk show stars and “edgy” comedians; as well as personalities like the judges on talent reality shows and certain game show hosts achieve success by putting people down and making fun of them. Sports are now about doping and winning at all costs, and the old ideals of sportsmanship seem to be lost.

Yet, recently I notice the people who have always been kind and pleasant, like talk show host Ellen Degeneres seem to be rising to the top. Could it be, after all, that being polite might win out over being “in your face” and “edgy”?

There’s no accounting for media taste, it seems to sink to the lowest common denominator at least as often as it rises above the average. But, in your personal life, politeness, consideration and caring will always be more successful than any other way of treating others.

Politeness and consideration are powerful. We all want to be liked, to be cared about and to be treated gently. We’re human, so we don’t always succeed in behaving our best. But, the more kindness and consideration we send out, the more returns to us.

Rules of etiquette exist because to create civilization, we need boundaries. The rules of polite behavior may sometimes feel restrictive, but when people use them, they make new and awkward situations more comfortable. Etiquette is just a prescribed way of being polite and considerate to others. As we get to know each other better, we can relax the rules, but keeping the attitudes of consideration and respect guarantees a more successful connection.

Guidelines for being better understood.

1, Seek first to understand. If you know the other person’s frame of reference, you can speak to him/her within it.

2. Pay attention to how your words are landing. If your companion's response looks off the mark for what you said, check out what he/she is hearing....

3. Switch from problem to solution as quickly as possible. Focus on the problem only long enough to understand it – then move your attention to finding a solution that would work for everyone, rather than who's right or wrong.

4. Separate emotion from solution. If one or both of you are upset, irrational or reactive, you aren't communicating. Take a break and try again in a few minutes, when both of you have calmed down.

5. Don't beat dead horses. If you've been over the same ground several times with no forward movement, get some help. An objective third party can work wonders.

6. Be nice. Strive to create a cooperative atmosphere, and consider the other person’s feelings.

7. Remember, “what goes around, comes around” and consider how you’d like to be treated before reacting to someone else.

(Adapted From It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction © 2014 Tina B. Tessina )

For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.