“We hate embarrassing ourselves so much, we do all sorts of things to avoid embarrassment—and at all costs,” writes Vanessa Bohns about the constructs of politeness in an excerpt from her new book, You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters (Norton, 2021), published on Literary Hub. “Approximately 5,000 people die from choking every year in part because they stand up and leave the table—rather than ask their tablemates for help—out of a fear of, you got it, embarrassment.” Write an essay on politeness and your thoughts about social embarrassment. Has there been a time when you suffered consequences for your politeness?
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