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The difference between being honest & being rude.

Updated on January 7, 2013

Thank you for being rude.

I'd like to start this hub by thanking someone for being rude to me as it prompted me to consider why some people appear to take pride in being rude (or "honest" as they call it). Rather than brood over what they said I've decided to use it as motivation to share some of the techniques I train regarding how to give feedback appropriately and demonstrate that it's perfectly possible to be honest and assertive without being rude.

Don't sit on my laptop!

Please note, the techniques described in this hub probably won't work on cats.
Please note, the techniques described in this hub probably won't work on cats.

Don't do it!

Many of us are pretty good at telling people not to do things. "Don't sit there", "Don't talk over me in meetings" and so on, and we don't understand why it doesn't have the desired results. Why don't they just stop doing whatever it is? Can't they see how much it's annoying us?

Well the answer is no, they probably can't see how much it's annoying you, mainly because they can't read your mind. You also haven't mentioned anything about what you do want, so until mankind invents telepathy we're going to have to tell them.

Put simply we need to explain a little more aboout just what the problem is and why it's annoying us so much and what we'd like them to do instead. We also need to "own the feedback" which means not being afraid to describe how it's impacting on us.

OK, so how do I do that?

I'm very glad you asked. Just follow these 3 simple steps:

Explain the problem.

Describe how it's impacting on you.

Let them know what you'd prefer instead.

No, it doesn't suit a neat little acronym I'm afraid but it does work, for example:

"John, when you interrupt me during meetings it prevents me getting to the point as quickly as I'd like, I'd really appreciate it if next time you've got something to say you could wait until I'm done speaking."

Of course how you say this will be important too - no good hissing it through clenched teeth or delivering it with an air of sarcasm,

Time it right.

Like comedy, good feedback depends on timing.
Like comedy, good feedback depends on timing.

Timing is everything.

If you're in the middle of an argument, or either of you is emotionally charged then this is less likely to work. Ideally you need address the issue at a neutral time when you've got the opportunity to discuss things rather more rationally.

And if you're wondering how to calm things when faced with someone who's "kicking off" then remember to remain calm yourself and try to ask questions rather than tell someone exactly what you think. Calmly saying "Can I ask why you're raising your voice?" generally gets you further than yelling "stop yelling at me!" (Why should they stop yelling at you when you're yelling at them?)

There's no magic wand.

Sadly there is no magic formula I can give you that will work perfectly 100% of the time, however the techniques I've briefly described above will help if you need to give feedback to another individual and wish to do so in a balanced and appropriate manner.

It's important to deliver any feedback with absolute respect for the individual concerned, as I've already mentioned, none of us are mind readers so have no idea as to exactly why the individual is behaving in the way they are.

But what if they're rude to me?

If someone is rude to you then remind yourself that you cannot control their behviours but you can control how you respond to them and, as Eleanor Roosevelt famously said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Why did that person feel the need to be so rude to me? I've no idea, but I like to think I've done something a little positive thanks to their input.


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    • constancenunn profile image

      constancenunn 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I hate rude editors I had to put a hub editor. In they place.

    • Beth Pipe profile image

      Beth Pipe 6 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Amen prairieprincess - everyone seems in such a hurry nowadays and so many people seem to take pride in being rude. Homesteadbound - I used to be the same, I still am a little, but I'm getting better! :-) Thank you both for your comments.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Great advice! It seems we have forgotten manners in our society and I love your reminder!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      What excellent advice. This was really good to read. I am so bad about letting people run all over me.

    • Beth Pipe profile image

      Beth Pipe 6 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Thank you. I'm a bit on the sensitive side myself but I generally don't show it. Writing the hub helped me deal with the annoyance I felt toward the person who was rude to me. Try to turn every negative into a positive, that's my motto!

    • LadyLyell profile image

      LadyLyell 6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Beth, you have written on my pet subject!As I am a sensitive person (so rude people say I am) I have tried different approaches to rudeness but none work too well for me. I found the best way to show up anothers rudeness to go into 'silent mood' myself. It works,with the other party noticing the mood swing. I refuse to lower myself to the same level as one with a 'sharp' tongue.

      Thanks for the info Beth!

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 6 years ago

      Thanks for the interesting hub. It has some very practical advice I am anxious to try with some very rude, excuse me, honest person I know too!

    • Beth Pipe profile image

      Beth Pipe 6 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Glad you liked it AllieRambles - maybe send her the link and see if she gets the hint! :-)

    • AllieRambles profile image

      AllieRambles 6 years ago from Bay Area, California

      I am reading this laughing. Why? It it hits home! I have a rude, er, "honest", friend and I am so done with her "honesty". So the laugh is one of "you nailed it for me".

      I'm glad I am not the only one seeing this. :-)


    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 6 years ago from New England

      Great hub, short, sweet, and informative. Yes, keeping it positive is so good, and can be a daily challenge to grow to where it becomes second nature to step back and think about how we can phrase our needs for the best results.

      Thanks for the tips. :0)

    • Beth Pipe profile image

      Beth Pipe 6 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Thank you. I think as long as you have genuine respect for the other person then you can be honest and straightforward without being rude.

    • nicregi profile image

      Reginald Chan 6 years ago from Malaysia

      Came across your hub. Nice writing. For me, there is a thin line when comes to being honest and many times, people mistaken it as rude. Using the right words might be your best and always think before you act. Being too straight forward isn't good for both parties :)

      Keep up your writing and thanks for sharing.