Is it normal I don't know if it's nice or polite?

I've thought about this a few times and I'm wondering if it's what being, "good" or if there is a difference between good, nice, and polite, and that being polite isn't a moral or immoral way to be but a societal beneficial expectation for civilization.

Most of us try to be good people but are the good things we do something we do to fill our own personal moral quotas?

I'm sure everyone does this but I will speak of myself for examples. I've done good things like everyone else, I'm nice to strangers, and I'm polite. That said, I never do it because I want others to feel good, their happiness doesn't bring me happiness but I try my best to do good things despite having no real reason.

An example would be when you're at the supermarket and finishing paying for your groceries, you almost always say thank you, but you're not really thankful, it's just a routine of politeness for no other reason than it's expected, expected so that you don't get perceived as bad or rude from others. This analogy is how I feel whenever I do a good or polite thing, I do it because I know it's good, even though I get no moral gratification from it or satisfied by it, like I'm thanking a cashier.

Is this what selfless is? To do things for others even if it's for shallow reasons as expectation and wanting to seem like a good person?

I'm sure people do this all the time, it's how I feel whenever I'm doing a good thing.

Is this normal or healthy?

Is It Normal?
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  • I think it's pretty normal to view social interactions as tedious or shallow. To my understanding(after just a few semesters of psych), when a person does something good, they do it because they feel good afterwards, so even the kindest act is a selfish one. It is a product of evolution that helped species become more successful through making up for individual weaknesses rather than relying on individual strength and eventually helped humans form societies.

    As long as you can feel empathy, that is to share in the emotions of others (feel sad because they are sad, or be happy because they are happy), I wouldn't worry too much about your views on the subject. You should still go through the motions and be polite, because aside from making you a dick, ignoring social etiquette is inefficient in the long run.

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  • Thanking a cashier for doing their job is simply acknowledging that you've just had an interaction with another human being. Such little drops of social oil allow us to live together in reasonable peace.

    I'm sure you wouldn't ruin a cashier's day if you treated them like a piece of machinery, said nothing and avoided eye-contact, but they would probably think you're obnoxious and odd.

    Treat enough people like that, and you'll start to get the same in return.

    If you genuinely don't care at all about the happiness of others, then there's a nice psychiatric label you can pin on your chest.

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