Here's a tip on how to be polite:
In most - not all - but most situations, when someone says, "excuse me" or "I beg your pardon," they are not in fact seeking your forgiveness. They are trying to be polite. You should accept this polite statement with a reciprocating polite statement.
Example: you and I walk towards each other in a narrow hall. I flatten up against one wall to make room for you. I say, "Pardon me."
Correct response: walk past, and say, "Beg pardon." It's not so much that you're inconveniencing me, as I offered you the polite statement. You simply ought to reply in kind.
Incorrect response: walk past, and say, "That's okay." This implies that I am in fact inconveniencing you. That I have erred in walking down this hallway, and now I have something I have to make up to you. You respond to a polite gesture with an intimation of social failure. How dare you?
This has been your politeness tip for the day.
--9:49 AM, EST, Ada, OH, or maybe it's just here at ONU
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