Simply put, people are rude when they are stressed, unhappy and rushed. With the depressed economy, many are experiencing all three at any given time. Incivility and rudeness is a symptom of a bad state of mind. (Forni, p 16)
- Don’t personalize rude behavior. It’s unlikely to be about you, even though it’s directed at you.
- Be aware that rude behavior comes from various sources (sleep deprivation, depression, stress, illness, insecurity, etc.).
- Respond with calmness rather than behavior that escalates rude behavior.
- “An eye for an eye” is a poor approach; don’t turn another’s insecurity into your own.
- Self-righteous behavior only reflects poorly on you; don’t use the opportunity to demean another.
- Try to address the underlying cause of the behavior. (“I can see you are very stressed. Maybe I could help if you tell me what’s bothering you.”)
- When necessary, set limits tactfully and assertively, not aggressively.
- If the conversation remains irrational, know when to quit.
- Don’t assume rudeness is a permanent part of someone’s personality. It is a pattern of rudeness (not one mishap) that determines character.
- In the end, always let empathy — the ability to read others accurately — be your guide in understanding rudeness, knowing how to respond to a rude individual and knowing when to leave the scene. (from Psychologist Arthur Ciramicoli)
A Final Thought: Someone was rude to you, you were hurt, but you responded in a temperate, assertive, and overall effective way. Maybe the other person proffered an apology. What now? Forgiving is next. By granting forgiveness, you come to terms with what happened, obtain closure, and thus find yourself better equipped to go on with your life. Forgiving (which, like gratitude, is a form of acceptance) has a healing effect not only on you but also on the person who hurt you and in the process hurt him- or herself. It creates an eleventh-hour bond that can keep your relationship alive. Apologies and forgiveness are the lifesavers of relationships. They are two splendid examples of smart ways of treating others well. Use them unsparingly as you go through the wonderful and difficult experience in relating and connecting in what we call life. (Forni, p. 160)
Relationships are the foundation of humanity. We deserve our nourishment from them, and thrive through them. Every human being wants to relate to other human beings; it is an essential part of who we are as individuals and as a species. And the way in which we relate to others determines how happy we are, how long we live, and the choices we make. Through our relationships we discover our place in the world and our reason for being here. — Christopher Hansard