Social Question

Mariah's avatar

Would it weird you out to have a friend treat you too "formally"?

Asked by Mariah (19264 points ) August 6th, 2011

I think I treat my friends more formally than most teenagers do. That is, I thank them when they do small favors for me or compliment me, I apologize if I inconvenience or offend them, I greet them with a “hi, how are you?” etc. In short, I treat my friends with the same formal politeness with which I would treat a stranger. I know being polite is good, but I think it might come across as overly serious to many teenagers who are more goofy with their friends. Would it weird you out? Do you think it could be a problem? Or is this a lot more “normal” than I realize?

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19 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I wouldn’t view you that way. I think its nice that you say thank you and ask how people are.

Has anyone ever said anything to you about it? Do you feel overly stiff around your peers? Maybe you could still be just as polite but relax your language. Just saying “thanks” or “muchas gras” or “how’re you doin’ ” will be just as nice but more relaxed.

Mariah's avatar

Thanks @zenvelo. No one’s ever mentioned anything, but I perceive myself as being a little overly stiff. I think I am a bit too much of a “serious” person. Hard not to be, sometimes. I have no idea if I’m actually viewed that way by others or not. Good suggestions on more relaxed language, thanks for that.

Cruiser's avatar

I do think you are the exception to the laid back norm of many of the teens I see today. Thankfully there are you and other exceptional youth that sets examples and even raise the bar for decorum in today’s society.

Mariah's avatar

So you see it as a good thing! That’s good to know. Thanks, @Cruiser.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No, I find that a good thing actually.

plethora's avatar

What you are describing as your behavior sounds good. But if you feel you are being stuffy, something else is going on. There is a reason you feel that way. My daughter, after she was grown and out of college, began treating her family very formally, apologizing for everything under the sun, something even as small as touching a family member’s arm accidentally. It annoyed us all and we each told to cut it out. I won’t go into the whole story, but it wasnt a good sign that she progressively got more and more “polite” to us.

You should examine your own feelings to get at the root of why you are so polite AND feel so stuffy about it. If that’s just your nature, great.

redfeather's avatar

I don’t see it as formal, just polite. If you only called them by Mr____ or Ms_____ and referred to them as sir and ma’am then that might be a touch strange

sophiesword's avatar

yes definitely. Yesterday I met my best friend after a long time and she was being really ‘nice’ to me and I told her to stop it or I would slap her across the face !

Hibernate's avatar

As long as they don’t mind it’s all okay.

plethora's avatar

@sophiesword Probably the best answer here. I think you’re right

Seelix's avatar

It wouldn’t weird me out, at least not in the way that you described. Saying hello, how are you, please, thank you – that’s just good manners. I have a guy friend who greets his female friends with a hug and kiss on the cheek every time – I think it’s sweet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, they’re still around, aren’t they?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It depends upon the situation. If the behavior from a friend goes from casual to formal, then yes, it would be a red flag. Then there are the Eddie Haskell (Leave It to Beaver fame) types that put on a show for adults that pretty much everyone can see through. I worked with a guy like this.

What you describe though is just plain good manners. I have friends that are much like you, and I look at them as an example of caring behavior that shows respect for others. Sure, it will always be a problem for some. Just think about how it would make you feel if you changed your ways though, and it offended another. If there is a case to be built for staying true to your beliefs, this is a good one.

lemming's avatar

No, that would just be the way you are. Definitely wouldn’t weird me out, unless you started doing it all of a sudden. I have a friend who is a bit like that.

snowberry's avatar

You’d be right at home in Japan, because they are all about being polite there.

anartist's avatar

Unless it was a formal occasion, I would read it that the friend is royally pissed. Formality is for STRANGERS. Read—estranged.

Mariah's avatar

It’s good to hear the range of reactions to this to know how I may be being perceived. Thanks guys. I guess I have some serious thinking to do on how I might be making my friends feel.

snowberry's avatar

@Mariah, If someone really knows you and cares about you, I’m thinking they will chalk your habits up to you being you. I think it’s also helpful to make the distinction between polite and being distant. If your friends are picking up that you are moving away from them emotionally it’s a problem. It’s possible to be perfectly polite, but make your friends feel completely loved and accepted at the same time. If can you do that, baby your in the zone!

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