I f*cking hate rude people, and it seems as if society protects them. People are asses and behave like trash to others – and it looks like you can do nothing about it because words don’t seem to work, and violence is not the answer. How do you de-escalate the situation? For instance, if someone is playing loud music on public transit and you can’t hear the announcements, but they refuse to turn down their music even after being asked nicely — what do you do? Society is protecting them because there are no consequences. Is this breeding more rudeness?
Here’s an excellent story to start this off with. My buddy was in the gym and saw this jackass making some teenage boys feel like crap. He kept telling them to put more plates, saying they were being wimps and little girls. Every time the teens went to a new set, the jackass would go over and lift more, trying to embarrass them. My buddy at first let the situation slide until it happened again.
When he saw the same problem play out a few days later, he doubled what the jackass was lifting. My buddy repeated everything that the jackass said to the teens. The jackass quickly moved on to other exercises, but my buddy wasn’t done. He followed the guy to the next 3-4 sets, doing more than the jackass had done. The teens looked at my buddy like he was a superhero, and the jackass left, never to be seen again. The teens, however, came back and made steady gains over the next year or so. The jackass was put in his place. Moral of the story? Become a gym superhero!
So, there’s a difference between politeness, impoliteness, and rudeness. What’s considered polite versus rude is socially constructive, and what is perceived as rude is due to set expectations of others. You expect specific behavior, but others don’t know your expectations, as they can’t read your mind. Further, they operate on the expectations they set themselves.
At any rate, simple respect and good manners seem to evade even the nicest of guys, making us look like Neanderthals as a gender. And with that, I will give you my two cents regarding this lack of social etiquette in hopes of turning some of the rudeness into kindness. The answer is that because there are so many different types of people in the world, so the reasons will vary.
Some people are ordinarily sweet, empathic, and polite but have a hard time in life and completely break on a particularly bad day. Being polite takes energy; some people don’t have it for various reasons. For instance, it’s challenging to answer the same questions from the same co-worker for the tenth time in a couple of days when you have a project under a time restraint that takes concentration. Or it’s difficult to be nice if you’re in pain, but someone takes up your time when all you want or need to do is get home to chill out. How about when someone is rushing to get their kid from daycare before it closes, but someone wants to chat you up. Or someone wants a favor from you, but you’re already tapped from the day. People have limited energy, and sometimes they run out of energy — you’re in the way, demanding they expend energy they don’t have on you.
The spillover effect may come into play with some instances of rude people. Elevated levels of adrenaline may cause the slightest annoying situation to trigger anger. In other words, the heightened adrenaline level becomes cognitively associated with you, causing a wholly irrational or exaggerated response. Their brains literally think that you caused the adrenaline spike in the body (the emotions “spillover” to you). So sometimes people are rude cause they are having a bad day or experienced something else that spiked their adrenaline.
Some people think they need to project strength and confidence wherever they go in life, and they wrongly equate rudeness with those two things. Rudeness could be misdirected anger or stem from deep emotional pain, which is a more optimistic explanation. And some people are just flat-out assholes. But a lot of the time, rudeness is a lack of empathy. What I mean by that is people being unable to think outside themselves or put themselves in another’s shoes. It’s essential to have empathy; unfortunately, it’s rapidly disappearing.
Some people were given models of rudeness by their parents, treating others rudely and thinking that that is how they should act. Some people were brought up in toxic environments and treated rudely by their parents and think that is how you’re supposed to act towards everyone. Some people were spoiled by their parents and are accustomed to people bowing down to them, so act affronted when that doesn’t happen. Some people had loving parents but, for whatever reason, lack self-awareness and empathy. There are honestly SO many reasons because there are so many different people in the world.
It’s never okay to take anything out on someone else, no matter what you are going through. People who come in contact with someone with internal pain or issues should not be subjected to rudeness just because of it. Everyone is going through something, and we each need to deal with it — because, at the end of the day, the issues are our own.
So, how do you deal with rude people? It makes no difference to me if someone is rude or not, I will still show general courtesy and good manners. If it’s a stranger, then I don’t care enough about them to allow my emotions to be affected. I simply ‘rise above it’ or ‘kill it with kindness’ and refuse to join their wavelength. If the rudeness persists, I simply disengage politely and assertively — diminishing my ego makes it a lot easier to stay humble to everybody.
Breathe and don’t reciprocate their attitude; otherwise, an ugly escalation could happen. Defuse them with patience and empathy. Choose to be a human being. Say, “That’s completely inappropriate,” then don’t say anything else—no witty banter, no laughing, no getting angry. Just a blank stare, then go about your day. It works like a charm and diffuses a variety of uncomfortable situations.
Rude people are a given, and having to work with them is a given, but you can control your reaction to them. I try to ignore it. Some people are just having a bad day, and others WANT to hurt or make you angry. One trick that works for me is mentally blur their faces (like in videos). That way, I’m still looking at them but not truly seeing them. Or you can do funny imagery in your head — if someone is being an ass, picture them as a crying baby to relieve the stress of the situation. Try different techniques to see what works for you.
Bottom line, kill ’em with kindness, gentleman. And remember, what you put out there, you’ll get back.
- Say ‘please’ whenever asking for anything
- Say ‘thank you’ whenever you receive anything
- Do not use profanity regularly
- Never talk down to anybody
- Do not gossip about others
- Speak in a positive manner
- Don’t say anything hateful about anyone! Whether sexist, racist, homophobic, or bigoted, it’s disgusting!
- Wait to speak, and do not interrupt
- Know when to shut up
Live with integrity and purpose. And for those assholes that are out there who won’t respect you regardless of what you do– ignore them!