Updated 03 June 2015

Are you too polite for your own good?

You shake hands, you clean your plate and have a final drink to make others happy. But could this be making you ill?

Ever thought you were being too nice? Perhaps it's time to consider how being polite may be jeopardising your health.

Being well-mannered is a great quality to possess and it does make for a brilliant first impression. But research has shown that being Mr or Mrs Nice all the time could be deeply detrimental to you health, and it goes further than simply learning to say 'no'. 

Germ alert

For most of us shaking hands with strangers is a common gesture when meeting or greeting people for the first time. But, do you know when last those hands were washed?

Since it may not be possible to wash your hands after every hand shake, you may want to consider that a recent study found that 10% of people don't wash their hands after using the toilet; 33% don't use any soap and only 5% wash their hands well enough to get rid of germs that can cause infections.

Read: How dirty are your hands?

Politely piling on the kilos

To the Japanese, cleaning your plate is a courtesy. But doing this too often can make you pile on the kilos when you really are wanting to get rid of them.

Finishing your food is seen a compliment to the chef and shows that you appreciate the effort made to prepare the meal.

This could be bad for weight control as portion sizes contribute to total calorie intake.

Overeating is not a good idea because if your energy intake in kilojoules exceeds your energy output then you will gain weight over time,” says Health24’s DietDoc.

Treating yourself once in a while will not be damaging, but overeating to be polite could become a habit and it may lead to more frequent binge eating if your willpower is not strong, she warns.

“The easiest way to keep to your kilojoule limit without offending the host is to let him/her know ahead of time that you are on an eating plan or make sure that you only have a tiny portion and eat very slowly so that it appears that you are eating a lot.”

Count your calories: Calorie calculator

Pleasing the crowd

Sometimes the lines between being polite and being pressured become blurred.

You set a curfew and tell yourself you'd limit alcoholic beverages to a drink or two, yet there you are finishing the bottle of wine well after 11pm, because those hard-core drinking buddies keep bullying you to stay for one more drink.

“People-pleasers don't want to rock the boat or upset the sense of social harmony," said Julie Exline, a psychologist from Case Western Reserve, in response to a study done on people pleasing.

Behaviour that is motivated by the fear of losing someone’s love or approval is unhealthy and self-destructive as it may leave you feeling less pleased with yourself.

Read: People-pleasers eat to make others happy

Sources: PsychCentral, Health US News

Read more:

The dangers of not washing your hands
Good manners may make you fat
Basic etiquette you need to know

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