By Jeff Haden | INC.

Here’s what polite people never do — and what they do instead:

1. They never stay in place.

You’re at a party. A friend gestures to someone several steps away and says, “Let me introduce you to Bob.”

Bob sees you coming… and he stands there, waiting for you to come to him in some weird power move.

Remarkably polite people, no matter how great their perceived status, step forward, smile, tilt their head slightly downward (a sign of respect in every culture), and act as if they are the one honored by the introduction, not you.

(When I met Mark Cuban, that is exactly what he did. He heard I wanted to meet him and immediately walked across the room — where I was waiting to see if it would be OK — to say hello. The fact I remember how gracious he was tells you everything you need to know about the impression that made.)

In short, polite people never “big-time” you; instead, they always make you feel like you’re big time.

2. They never call you what you don’t ask to be called.

You’re at an event. You introduce yourself to me as Jonathan. We talk. Within minutes, I’m calling you John. Or Johnny. Or Jack. Or the J-man.

Maybe your friends call you J-man, but we’re not friends (yet), and you definitely haven’t given me permission to go full diminutive on you, much less full nickname.

Remarkably polite people wait to be asked to use a different, more familiar name. They call you what you asked — or later ask — to be called because it’s your right to be addressed in the way you wish to be addressed.

Anything less would be uncivilized.

3. They never touch unless they are touched first.

Polite people wait for the other person to establish the nonsexual touch guidelines. (Handshakes excluded, of course.)

While I know that sounds like no one will ever hug or pat a shoulder or forearm because no one can ever go first, don’t worry. Huggers hug. Patters pat. Backslappers slap. That’s what they do.

Polite people go a step further: They never pat or squeeze or slap (in a good way), even if they are patted or squeezed or slapped. Sure, they hug back, but they don’t reciprocate other forms of touch.

Why? Some people don’t even realize they’re touching you, but they definitely notice when you touch them. That makes them feel uncomfortable, and discomfort is the last way polite people want other people to feel.

4. They never try to take before they give.

Take networking. The goal of networking is to connect with people who can help you make a sale, get a referral, establish a contact, etc. When we network, we wantsomething (unless we’re Adam Grant, a guy who should be the poster child of unsolicited giving.)

Still, at first polite people will never ask for what they want. (In fact they might neverask for what they want.) They forget about what they can get and focus on what they can provide, because they know that giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Focus solely on what you can get out of the connection and you will never make meaningful, mutually beneficial connections.

When you network it should be all about them, not you.


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