Pleasantries are great short-term fixes.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. We all try to avoid or defuse conflict or social discomfort at times. We change the subject, we walk away from the scene, or sometimes we say something nice, surface-level, and innocuous. These simple and sometimes kind words are like frosting; they’re appealing, they go down easily, and the mask whatever is underneath, making it easier to swallow.
Pleasantries can bridge awkward gaps and smooth over difficult situations. They’re often recognized and usually appreciated for what they are—temporary remedies. More lasting and in-depth resolution of the issue will involve meaningful truth-telling and dialogue. This discourse may be difficult, but also can be eased with some well-chosen positive sentiments.
Today’s message reminds me of the value of polite words. When my light-duty verbal offerings are also truthful and kind, they will go a long way toward breaking conversational barriers or tensions. When I make small efforts to be pleasant, I can shift interpersonal dynamics, at least for the moment.
How about you? How do you deal with social tensions?