• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Be Polite?



So many people seem to associate boundary setting and self-defense with not being polite. As in, “Once a person does X, you no longer have to be polite.” Or, “Once they ignore your request to [blank], you no longer need to be polite.”


So yes, this is true. You do not owe politeness to people who ignore your boundaries.


That being said, I personally strive to be a polite and kind person. I don’t want to spend my life being prickly and easily provoked to loud, intense response as my go-to.


Being polite is a choice. It is also a muscle. It needs to be practiced, refined, worked on, and owned.


Being polite is a choice. It is also a muscle. It needs to be practiced, refined, worked on, and owned.

And, IMHO, what it shouldn’t be is a default that can’t be overridden.


Apologies for being, for living, for having an opinion do not equal healthy politeness.

Choosing polite as the way you wish to live, and also owning the tools necessary to respond when boundaries are crossed, may not be considered polite. It’s really about having a healthy relationship with yourself and your right to have boundaries.


Personally, it makes me cringe that defending yourself seems to automatically be related to not being polite.


I can be a human committed to living a polite and respectful life, who also understands that when another human chooses to disregard me and my feelings, has the absolute right to stop that. With or without politeness. Ie. Being polite at the moment I have decided that my feelings are being ignored is my choice to make. It is not a must.


When we teach ESD, we are very careful about clearly stating that when we respond to inappropriate or dangerous behavior coming at us, we use words to clearly state what we want.


When we teach ESD, we are very careful about clearly stating that when we respond to inappropriate or dangerous behavior coming at us, we use words to clearly state what we want.

And when words aren’t enough? It’s time to move onto other tools. Are those tools impolite?


Not necessarily.


A great example would be that a groin kick with a loud “NO!” is not impolite. It is clear. You were told to stop. You proceeded to grab me. That is where this ends. “NO!”


Whereas, a groin kick with a barrage of insults is not what I would teach. You may feel it is warranted. And that is your choice. But for me, I’d rather stick with the clear and terrifying “NO!” taught in ESD.

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