Have you been around anyone who exhibits rude behavior? Have you personally been rude? I’m guessing the answer is “yes” to both questions.
I think being rude is more generally accepted by people than in past decades. I was not only taught but expected to say please, thank you, and confront issues with someone in private. We all have short fuses at one time or another, but dumping our frustrations on social media or in public isn’t very classy. Do we find pleasure in making a fool of ourselves in our attempt to let someone know we are unhappy?
I was embarrassed and shocked by the rude behavior. I have felt like an accomplice by association and have been the recipient of passive and aggressive indignation. Neither is a pleasant position.
Overt or blatant disrespect is easy to identify:
Telling a server how utterly poor they are at their job.
Yelling at a child.
Raging at a driver in another vehicle.
Cutting someone off with a grocery cart.
Throwing trash on the streets.
Pushing to get in the front of a line.
Having your phone on speaker when you are not alone.
Speeding in and out of traffic.
Add to the list.
Rude can include covert or concealed actions: not offering to contribute to the tab or tip when out to dinner; being silent in a social situation; taking a phone call during a meeting or dinner; not saying please when wanting a coffee refill; not calling or texting when you’re running late; not saying “thank you” at the drive-through. Again, add to the list. Hidden rudeness is still rude.
I’m not fond of rude behavior. If someone has no better skills or control, I hope they choose to keep their distance. I like common courtesy, and I’m guessing others do too.
Good manners are fashionable. Why shower and dress to start your day and act like a jerk on your way to work? Why gain an education and behave in ways that nobody wants to hire you?
Why laugh at offensive language and behavior?
How can we be less affected by rude behavior? We can’t control someone else or avoid all situations where rudeness might occur, so we need skills. We can do many things: We can restrain from acting rude, remain calm when someone else is inconsiderate, zip our lips and not make it worse, walk to another area, give strangers no attention for their inappropriate behavior, and address family, friends, and co-workers in a calm, helpful way. Remember, their behavior is not about us—it’s about them.
We can also set good examples. Behaving like we want others to behave is powerful. We show a better way. Modeling appropriate responses to frustration also helps children; it teaches them to be patient and accepting of others.
For my mental health and yours, let’s set the standard.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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