I thought I would share this with you all since rudeness has become the standard of normal behavior. I thought I would arm others in dealing with it.
Please, understand that rudeness and harassment are not the same thing. Rudeness is usually a one time encounter. Harassment and bullying isn’t simply being rude. They are a serial of hostile behaviors that can lead to physical harm. Both of the latter are a crime in many states.
I have lived in many different parts of the country and some areas rudeness is a more acceptable standard of behavior than others. I find that most chronic rude people are narcissistic asshats.
Although the article is primarily about workplace rudeness it can be applied to anywhere you meet rude people. Everyone has a bad day but in a civilized world we are obligated to not let infantile behavior surface simply because we’re having a rotten day.
Chronic rude people belittles others to make themselves feel empowered. I know you can’t tell someone off at work without facing disciplinary actions but you aren’t obligated to accept someone else’s abuse regardless of how rotten their day has been.
There’s a rude personality I call the sneaky snake chronic rude person. They are very covert in their operations. They usually are rude when no one is watching to witness their behavior. With this type of person the advice below isn’t going to work. It embolden them instead. The best way to deal with a chronic rude person is the same as with a bully. Stand up to them unless you are sure you will never encounter them again.
5 Polite Ways to Disarm Rude People
Emily Post offers timeless wisdom on how-to break the vicious cycle of rudeness.
Do you work in a rude or hostile environment? If so, a new study shows that rudeness in the workplace is a contagious behavior that spreads, if nothing is done to break the vicious cycle of incivility.
Workplace rudeness is a serious problem. For the recent study, three psychologists at Lund University in Sweden surveyed nearly 6,000 people on the social climate of their workplace. 75% of the survey respondents said that they’d been subjected to rudeness in the past year.
Rudeness often goes under the radar. Although the researchers observed that bullying and harassment in the workplace are often well documented—acts of rudeness, that often border on bullying, are rarely reported.
The researchers of this study said, “Rudeness can refer to petty behavior such as excluding someone from information and cooperation, or “forgetting” to invite someone to a communal event. It can also refer to taking credit for the work of others, spreading rumors, sending malicious emails, or not giving praise to subordinates.”
The December 2015 study, “Models of Workplace Incivility: The Relationships to Instigated Incivility and Negative Outcomes,” was published in the journal BioMed Research International.
In a press release, Eva Torkelson, who is leading the project on rudeness as a social process in organizations said, “It’s really about behavior that is not covered by legislation, but which can have considerable consequences and develop into outright bullying if it is allowed to continue.”
This groundbreaking research unearthed that the most common catalyst for co-workers acting rudely is imitating the behavior of their colleagues.The study found that people who behave rudely oftentimes experience a type of ‘lowest common denominator’ social support, which makes them less afraid of negative reactions or repercussions for their rude behavior by managers and colleagues. This creates a climate in which rudeness can spiral out of control and contaminate the entire workplace.
What Is the Key to Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Rudeness? Equanimity.
Handling rude people can be tricky. Obviously, you can’t control someone else’s behavior or explanatory style. I believe the most effective way to break the vicious cycle of rudeness is to keep your cool, bite your tongue, and avoid being rude in response.
Equanimity is the key to stopping the ricochet effect of rudeness snowballing out of control. Equanimity is defined as, “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” In 2013, I wrote a Psychology Today blog post about equanimity, “The Guts Enough Not to Fight Back,” which was inspired by baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
Before signing Jackie Robinson to play for the Dodgers in 1945, the general manager, Branch Rickey, made it very clear that: “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” Rickey was looking for an individual who was both a great athlete and a ‘gentleman.’ He needed someone with the inner-strength and self-restraint to withstand intense hostility and aggression without becoming reactive. Robinson was able to realize that ‘not fighting back’ was the ultimate testament of his courage.
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Etiquette: The Timeless Wisdom of Emily Post
My grandmother lived and breathed the etiquette rules of Emily Post. Although my mom is a renegade of sorts, she always kept a copy of Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, that her mother had given her, on hand for whenever she needed to reference the ‘Rule Book’ of good manners and proper etiquette.
I always assumed that Emily Post was old-fashioned and stuffy. However, after reading the new Swedish study on rudeness in the workplace being contagious, I did some research this morning on what Post had to say about dealing with rude people. To my surprise, I found that many of Emily Post’s insights on etiquette hold timeless wisdom about how people should treat one another.
Emily Post sums up proper etiquette as another form of the ‘Golden Rule’ in which you simply “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Post says, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” In defining the principles of etiquette, Post boils it down to three components: respect, consideration, and honesty.
Five Polite Ways to Combat Rudeness (inspired by Emily Post)
Equanimity. When someone’s rudeness upsets you, count to ten, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself: “Is it really worth losing my cool over this?”
Size Up the Grievances. Is it a waste of your emotional energy to let this get under your skin? Or does the rudeness cross the line and need to be addressed face-to-face with equanimity?
Empathize With the Rude Person. Don’t take rudeness personally. Maybe the rude person is just having a bad day and taking it out on the world? Oftentimes, you can break the cycle of rudeness by empathizing with the root of someone’s cantankerous behavior as a sign that he or she is unhappy, and be kind.
Lead by Example. Rudeness begets rudeness and is contagious. i.e. If you speak rudely to a waiter, don’t be surprised if you get the same treatment in return.
Let It Roll Off Your Back. If you can’t come up with a witty joke or laugh it off… just shrug your shoulders, let it go, and walk away.
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Conclusion: Rudeness Is Different than Harassment or Bullying
Obviously, when someone’s rudeness crosses the line and becomes bullying or harassment, you must be a proactive “whistleblower” and alert others to the details of your hostile work environment. Sometimes being ‘polite’ is not an appropriate response to disrespectful treatment.
When dealing with rude people, always stay even-keel and use common sense. Trust your gut instincts and intellect when deciding whether to let rudeness roll of your back in an attempt to create an upward spiral of more empathy and kindness by “not fighting back.” In some instances, we all need to put our foot down and make it clear, in the spirit of ‘ferocious equanimity,’ that we won’t tolerate rude or insulting behavior anymore.
That said, I rarely escalate conflicts with rude people. 99% of the time, it’s more effective to disarm rude people with politeness. Over the years, I’ve found that deflecting rudeness with genuine, Kevlar-coated kindness is the best defense.