As a child and young adult, my parents taught me that polite people avoid all discussions that involve politics or religion. Most people are passionate about both subjects and discussions often become heated. A well brought up person avoids any topic that is not nice. Only an ill-mannered dolt raises the ire of his friends, relatives and acquaintances by discussing religion or politics with conviction.
I refuse to play games and hid behind a polite mask. If a discussion becomes passionate with someone I barely know, all the better. At least we are real. At least we care enough to prove our point! Many well-known writers have eloquently expressed this very sentiment:
“Preserve me from such cordiality! It is like handling briar-roses and may-blossoms - bright enough to the eye, and outwardly soft to the touch, but you know there are thorns beneath,
Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
“Be not intimidated...nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretence of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.”
Oh Lord, save us from nice, polite friends and please don't let me settle for being nice. It is so bland, without passion or even kindness. People crave connections, real heart to heart interactions no matter how well they know each other. A warm encounter can affect a stranger, perhaps even change the course of his life.