Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

Dear Teen:

Is there someone you would like to get to know better but feel awkward about approaching because you don’t know how they would react? I know what that feels like and I have some ideas about how to make contact without risking humiliation.

Smile and greet him. Remember what was said in this column about the importance of a smile? It can work wonders. Look right into his eyes and say, “Hi!  How are you doing?” Or “It’s good to see you” is a little more personal but is still a non-threatening hint that you notice him and he isn’t just a blur in the cafeteria food line. If time allows, and you get a smile in return, engage him in small talk. If you need a refresher on that subject, refer to my last column.

Show respect when talking with her. Those magic words you learned as a child (please, thank you, you are welcome, may I) will prove they deserve their name.  Profanity and lots of slang will bring you lots of “No, thank you.” Stay polite!

Compliment him, sincerely but not too much. Something such as, “That’s a cool dance move I saw you do at the party,” is good. But, “That’s a cool dance move I saw you do at the party. And I liked the shirt you had on. You looked really good,” is overkill and could make him want to be anywhere else.

Support her, either in person or by a little note, when something unusual is happening in her life. For instance:

   “Congratulations! I knew you could do it!”

   “I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well. We miss you at school.”

   “I heard about your Dad. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you.”

   “Happy Birthday! Are you going to celebrate?”

Word of caution: do not text unless you have asked if it is alright to do so.

If you are not trying to keep your feelings a secret, let a couple of friends know about your interest and tell them it is okay for them to spread the word. It has been proven through the centuries that it won’t take long for the object of your affection to get the message and respond.

Here’s hoping responses to your efforts are positive. But when they are not, it just gives you more time to work on making relationships that are right for you.

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at

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