Fear of Not Being Polite Enough

Are you afraid that your English is not polite enough? I teach how to overcome that fear in this video.


Al: Alright, in today’s Main Topic, we’re going to talk about “Fears of Speaking English.”

Alright, now I know, uh, when we speak another language, our second language or third language, uh, we sometimes, you know, feel afraid because of different reasons. And today we’re going to discuss those reasons.

Because, um, I think it’s important that we really understand, uh, why we’re often afraid because it may cause us to be hesitant or not communicate successfully in the future, or not, uh, allow us to reach our future goals.

So, let’s discuss, uh, three of these fears today.

The first one, is the fear of “not being polite enough.”

Ok, so for example, uh perhaps in a business setting, um, writing e-mail, or, uh, meeting a client, or not even business, perhaps, um, on your personal time, meeting a friend overseas…

Um, sometimes we feel like, uh, you know, not intentionally… we’re not being rude, but we feel like we might accidentally say something that may cause the listener to feel, um, offended, or dis-discomfort, or possibly angry.

And so, we sometimes tend to be hesitant when we speak and, uh, sometimes it can interfere with our message to the listener.

Ok, so how do we overcome this fear of not being polite enough?

Well, we really have to understand that, uh, it’s very hard to offend someone in English in my opinion. You really have to, you know, feel it, you know, in your heart, and you really have to, you know, know the-the language that you-that you would use to offend someone or be very impolite. In my opinion, it’s very hard to-to cause someone to, to feel, um, uh, discomfort or anger toward you without really trying.

Ok, so, in other words, um, if you, you know, say something that, you know, is not the highest level of politeness but, uh, you know, just a little bit below the right level, uh, I think the listener is going to understand, and the listener is going to really, uh, you know, take that into consideration and know that, perhaps this is just a cultural, uh, misunderstanding, or they’re going to give you a little more, um, slack, as we say. They’re not going to be so offended.

So, in other words, uh, the-the cure for that is, you know, just try. You have to try! You have to test!

Now, if you are still very afraid of this, uh, the best thing is to, uh, test with your teacher and ask your teacher for feedback.

Um, if you’re feeling a little more courageous, test it out with, uh, a client or the next time you meet your friend.

Um, and just notice their reaction. Watch their feedback and see what-see what works and see what doesn’t work. And, uh, you know, don’t be afraid! Just test it out! Just know that it’s very, very hard to really offend someone in English.

So, uh, give it a shot. I’m sure you can do it!

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