According to Brown and Levinson (1990) politeness strategies are developed in order to save the hearers' "face" Face refers to the respect that an individual has and maintenance that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations. Or simply we can say that 'face' refers to the image that a person projects in his social contacts with others. Usually you try to avoid embarrassing the other person, or making them feel uncomfortable. Since every participant in the social process has the need to be appreciated by others and the need to be free and not interfered with. The need to be appreciated is called 'positive face' and the need to not be disturbed refers to 'negative face. Face Threatening Acts (FTA's) are acts that infringe on the hearers' need to maintain his/her self esteem, and be respected.
• The bald on-record strategy does nothing to minimize threats to the hearer's “face”
• The positive politeness strategy shows you recognize that your hearer has a desire to be respected. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity
• The negative politeness strategy also recognizes the hearer's face. But it also recognizes that you are in some way imposing on them. Some other examples would be to say, “I don't want to bother you but...” or “I was wondering if...”
• Off-record indirect strategies the main purpose is to take some of the pressure off of you. You are trying to avoid the direct Face Threatening Act of asking something.