Letter of the Day

A smile or a veil?

QUALIFYING in the “older generations” group, I came to appreciate being scowled at honestly rather than smiled at insincerely during my 70-plus years at work, at home and at play (“Modern manners”, HS, 22/2).

My experience of being smiled at by many others was revealed sometimes as spurious, as the behaviour, and/or actions of those toward me were devoid of any “trust, warmth and respect”, as Julie Lamberg-Burnet asserts.

Contrarily, the smiles masked more devious sentiments of dislike, deceit and disrespect which I only realised later on.

Ironically, I was raised to be agreeable, pleasant and well-mannered in dealing with all kinds of people; sadly, that code of etiquette was often unreciprocated, with any sense of “ease” dissipated by a more obvious reality that revealed a fraudulent façade.

While I concur with Jenny Morrison that “kindness…and being polite” can be important, I prefer to know exactly where and how I stand with people, instead of being misled and mistaken by supposedly pleasing platitudes.

Perhaps being honest about one’s feelings, particularly being unhappy or angry with another, is subordinate these days to superficial displays of smiling acquiescence.