We have touched base on quite a few topic and and I am wondering if I ask my readers how they are doing. Now I know its a bit late in coming but how are you doing?, How was work or school or just your day? Did you have fun? At times I really do not consider my readers, I may ask about your thoughts and ideas but I don’t think I have ever asked about you, well I just rectified that.
Now I have something to ask, do you consider everyone you come into contact with or do you just consider the ones you are closest to and at times those in your neighborhood? When using verbal communication, sometimes we honestly do not curb the red rag in our mouth and we hurt those close to us and are at a loss of how to correct it. We all know communication is a process and I often find it difficult to beat around the bush in order not to embarrass anyone. In communication there is non-verbal and verbal communication, the former deals with gestures and expression, while the latter deal with words and language and we in Barbados are extremely fond of both. In Barbados it is seen as polite if you speak in your neighborhood and you are deemed as unmannerly if you do not.
I am going to tell you guys about a time I decided not to speak to an elder of mine in the neighborhood and how politeness and verbal communication is linked. Every time I see Evelyn I would always speak and smile at her, she would never respond so one day as I was passing her, I gave her a head nod -non-verbal communication- and apparently it was an issue and someone told my mother. My mother started on this rant about how she raised me to speak and be polite to everyone, so I explained the situation to her and she told me that it does not matter whether she speaks or not, I have to speak. Now that my friends is how ingrained it is in Barbadian children to speak to adults in the community. The politeness theory is all about fave saving as in being considerate towards others and politeness varies according to social distances – how close you are to an individual-, context and various other factors. I am not close to this particular elder nor do I fancy her in anyway but to not embarrass her I must speak, I must be polite and I must not expect a response from her. However if she was a close friend and I spoke and she did not respond there would be no prob or if it occurred vice versa. Moreover, someone of close social distance can say to you ‘why, you don’t come and sit down doh’ and that would be seen as positive politeness as the positive face would be shown as we are in an context where your friend is being considerate of your needs. While in a different or more formal context that phrase would be seen as rude and here in Barbados majority of individuals prefer the positive face as they have less chance of being embarrassed and Barbadians are known for being blunt at times.
We all show a face and politeness influences that face and can sometimes help in difficult situations as our polite face comes into show when in formal situations and both the negative and positive face comes in when in informal group settings with friends as we are free to show them both our good and bad side, free to display bad manner and insult others to our hearts’ content. Politeness is not just saying good morning, good evening or good night, it is much more than that and at times we fail to consider others to save them from embarrassment or maybe we do it purposefully. Either way in Barbadian society face is important and that is seen in the way social distances aid in achieving saving face.
(A.N for the sake of this the lady’s name is Evelyn)