If only there were a way to make all the rude people go and live on an island together so we didn’t have to deal with them!
But wait a sec. There are smarter ways to deal with rude people! Here are my top 10.
1. Remember, sometimes the rude person is you.
Maybe not today, but there’ve been times when you were rude. And you’re not a bad person. So next time somebody’s rude to you, remember that they’re human just like you, and rudeness alone doesn’t mean they’re a bad person either.
2. Don’t take it personally (even if it’s personal).
When someone’s rude—especially if they’re making personal comments about you—it’s easy to get upset. But you have a choice about how you react. Take the power out of their rudeness by choosing to treat it as their problem, not your problem.
3. Find out why.
People have their own reasons for being rude. Perhaps they’ve had a bad day, or they’re in a hurry and think there isn’t time for manners. Perhaps they don’t even realize how rude they’ve been. You won’t know until you ask! Stay calm and simply say, “I think that’s pretty rude. Why are you treating me like this?” The answer may surprise you.
4. Be objective and analyze the rudeness.
So somebody was rude to you. What did they do or say? Was there any sense in it? If you view the situation objectively, you’ll realize that most rudeness is senseless, so you can cheerfully ignore it. On the rare occasions when there’s logic behind the rude behavior, staying objective lets you address the root of the problem instead of the rudeness concealing it.
5. Don’t join the drama club.
Do you feel like yelling at the rude people around you? Don’t. Joining in the drama will only escalate the situation. Whether you’re dealing with a drama queen who’s doing it on purpose, or an inconsiderate oaf whose rudeness is unintentional, keep your dignity intact by not letting rude behavior provoke you into a tantrum of your own.
6. Let it drop and walk away.
Rudeness is hurtful, but removing yourself from the situation is the fastest and surest way to avoid more rude behavior from the same person. Walk away, even if they’re still talking to you! If they’re a stranger, you’ll never have to deal with them again. If they’re a friend or colleague, they’ll soon learn that being rude to you gets them exactly nowhere (and maybe that will prompt them to be nicer next time).
7. Consider offering help.
Some rudeness is a simple case of bad manners. But often, a person who’s rude to you does so because they feel frustrated about something—and if it’s within your power to resolve their frustration, you may see them switch from rudeness to gratitude in seconds. A word of warning, though: only offer help if you can provide it immediately, as an offer of help “later on” can add to their feelings of frustration.
8. Understand rudeness as a habit.
Some people are rude simply because they’re always rude. Once rudeness becomes a habit, it can be difficult to shake off even if they truly want to behave better. Habitual rudeness should never be taken personally; it’s just a pattern that’s hard to break. Which brings us to the next point—
9. Don’t try to force a change.
You can’t make someone be polite if they want to be rude. In fact, trying to force a change in their behavior will often make them behave worse instead of better. Sometimes your best option is to accept that their rudeness is not your fault and let them find their own solutions.
10. Fight rudeness with kindness.
Don’t let rudeness make you respond with more of the same. The best way to defuse rude behavior is to stay friendly and helpful, giving the other person a chance to calm down and adjust their behavior to match yours.