Being polite isn’t enough to win one friend. We also need to learn the art of being warm: this begins with having the right sort of relationship to our own weaknesses and foibles.

“While politeness is of course always preferable to rudeness, there are ways of being polite that badly miss the mark and can leave us feeling oddly detached and dissatisfied. Picture the person who ends up, despite their best efforts, seeming what we can call coldly polite. They may be extremely keen to please those they are seeing, they obey all the rules of etiquette, offer their guests drinks, ask them questions about their journey, suggest they might want a little more gravy, remark on the interest of a recent prize-winning novel – and yet never manage to make their hospitality feel either engaging or memorable. It may be a long time before another meeting with them is suggested…”

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