By nature, rude people tend to appear and likely believe they are the alphas in a situation that escalates toward confrontation. However, it is the clever person who may be on the receiving end of the rudeness who is the true alpha. We clever people have the emotional intelligence to recognize that we’re the ones in control, and we react accordingly, defusing the situation rather than making it worse.
We are often confronted by people who behave rudely in our everyday lives. And in turn, we have moments where we behave rudely. Impatience is usually a mitigating factor in most scenarios where someone has turned toward innapropriate abruptness.
Being self-aware is the first step in dealing with boorish people without getting angry, but the way we respond to rude people depends on the setting.
I Must Engage!
As clever people, we are natural born leaders who don’t mind being uncomfortable. Putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations can lead to great successes. Engaging in a discussion, rather than an argument, with a rude person can lead to success. If done properly.
When I worked customer service for eight years, I had no choice but to engage. Therefore, I did so by using classic customer service techniques. I made sure that I restated the problem in my own words in order to show that I didn’t just sympathize, but I understood. I also used it as a teachable moment, for both myself and customer — if I was having to listen to more than one customer rudely berate me about a policy, perhaps the policy needed changing.
Have I Been in His Shoes?
What if I’m on the other end of the rude service behavior? We all have those moments where we’re minding our own business at the grocery store and someone flips out on you for no reason. Of course, you know there is a reason, asking why can be the first step in defusing the tension.
Even we clever people who aren’t easily flustered sometimes have bad days. In fact, sometimes the smarter we are, the ruder we can be without realizing it. If you decide to engage with the rude barista, make sure you’re not rude in return by being overly blunt.
Don’t forget to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when it’s obvious that person is behaving rudely because of the situation, not their personality.
Just Let It Go!
In the end, there are rude people with whom we simply can’t reason. Or it’s neither the time nor the place to do so.
The workplace is a setting in which we have to pick our battles. Arguing with rude coworkers in a public setting is never wise. This can make you look like the rude person rather than the clever one.
Instead, find the right moment to pull aside your coworker and thoughtfully engage then regarding their behavior. The trick is putting the onus on you rather than on them: “I feel mistreated when I am wrongfully accused of . . .” This should put the shoe on the other foot, at least for a moment.
If the shoe can’t be put on the other foot, it may be time to walk away; a picture is worth a thousand words, and silence can sometimes speak volumes.
There are times when silence is the most effective way of dealing with rude people. In fact, ignoring a rude person can be healthier than engaging with them. When we engage with rude people, it can drain our mental strength, making it harder for us to converse with people who aren’t rude.
Next time we encounter rude people, let’s instead take a breath and consider just putting some space between us and them. It might be the cleverest reaction of all.
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