Are You One Of These People?
Have you had to deal with a rude person today?
Beware Of Rude People
Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.
Every day, I encounter at least one rude person. When I do, I always wonder if it’s just me. Am I having a bad and am just taking someone's behavior more seriously/more to heart than I should? Could they, in fact, have thought me rude and were only reacting to my rudeness? And then on the days when I’m in a good mood and go out of my way to be polite and cheerful to others and am met with an unkind look or a nasty, whispered remark I realize that some people are just rude. Though I am no behavior expert, I give you the following ten reasons (in no particular order of importance) as to why I think rudeness has become so common.
As mentioned above, I always try to give people the benefit of a doubt. Our world is fast paced. If we can forget our car keys in the ignition, we can easily forget that other people shop at the same grocery store as you. I am the type of person who moves out of someone’s way only to get in the way of another. I’m down an aisle looking for a certain item and suddenly someone with a carriage is at my hip. I move out of his way and end up accidentally banging my cart into someone else’s. While I rarely forget to apologize, I know that some days my mind is moving a mile a minute and I forget to say I’m sorry. On these days, though I don’t mean to, I could be considered a rather rude person.
Having A Bad Day
We’ve all had a day when everything seems to be going wrong. Yet, we keep trudging along because we have some place to be. On these days, we always end up taking out our frustration on an innocent party. It’s the older woman who isn’t crossing the street fast enough so we glare at her despite knowing she’s going as fast as she can. It’s the man at the post office who unfortunately cracked a joke when you weren’t up to laughing. It’s the significant other who suggested going out for Chinese when you’ve been out running errands all day and just want to glue yourself to the couch. None of these people deserve to be chastised, but the guy who cut you off on the highway and put you in this mood moved too fast for you to yell at him. Unfortunately, good people move too slowly to escape rude people.
A Feeling of Entitlement
Entitled people come in all shapes, sizes, economic classes and ethnic groups. Somewhere along the line, someone told them they deserved such and such and, since then, they’ve expected that and more. As they can’t be distinguished from non-entitled people until they open their mouths or do something rude, you can’t steer clear of them. Yet, when you meet up with one, you know it right away and there is nothing you can do about it. If entitled people no longer existed, the world would be a better place.
At Christmas time, stores and parking lots are full of rude people. From experience, I know that this type of rudeness comes from a place of desperation. When you enter an aisle during this time of the year, the gloves are off. People fight over crap that, at any other time of the year, they would usually walk past. They elbow each other to stock up on bags and boxes of food items that end up being tossed out in March because they went unused, were forgotten and are now moldy. If it were October, these people wouldn’t be acting this way. Yet, it’s Christmas time and good cheer doesn’t come cheap or easily. Simply put, when we’re afraid of going without or disappointing the ones we love, we act out of desperation and come off as rude.
Growing up, my friends used to tease me for being so polite. They didn’t understand why I thanked a store clerk for getting an item for me or why I would hold doors for perfect strangers. At the time, I was embarrassed for having these bizarre manners embed in my brain. As an adult, I’m grateful. Too often, you do something nice for someone and they don’t say thank you. You move out of their way in a store, and they glare at you. Meeting these people, I always wonder if their parents called out sick the day that teaching your child to act respectfully and be courteous was taught. Even when they cut me off in traffic or needlessly push past me to get the last box of something, I pity them. How difficult it must be to be ignorant.
It happens to all of us. We see someone waiting behind us in the checkout line with one item. Realizing that it takes far less time to check out one item than a whole cart load, you let them cut you. This is when they signal for their spouse/child/friend/etc. to come over with a cart twice the size of yours. Without thanking you, they pile their mountain of groceries on to the belt. The next time you’re at the store, you rush in front of someone who has one item because you’re afraid that they’ll do what the last person did. You don’t have the time to waste to be polite. The person behind you can think you as rude as they want too. When people are too afraid to act nicely, they won’t act nicely. Plain and simple.
I believe that most examples of rudeness are a result of a chain reaction. One person is rude to another who is rude to another and so on. The initial person may have never meant to be rude, but their behavior can be credited with starting it all. For this reason, I always try to be polite to others. I don’t want to be the cause of a string of people’s bad day.
Believing rude behavior to look the same across the board, I always find it hard to believe that what is rude to a person of a certain culture could be seen as a sign of politeness to a member of a different culture. Yet, to simply write off a negative behavior as something that “those people” do is, in a sense, just as rude. With this in mind, if you are traveling to a different country or plan to live in a different country, to be on the safe side, look up what are major social faux pases so you don’t commit them. True, you are entitled to your own beliefs and shouldn’t be forced to assimilate to the new culture if you don’t want to. However, as you are more than likely to be the odd man/woman out, be aware. Offended people in numbers always beat one hot-headed, rude person.
Having been raised with two males, I am well aware of how greatly the sexes can differ when it comes to defining rude behavior. For example, I’ve always hated it when there is hair in the shower drain. As a result, I always make sure that the drain is clean even if I know I’ll be the only one using it. My brothers, on the other hand, have yet to figure out that hair in the drain is disgusting and will leave it sitting there until its accumulated enough so that the water won’t go down. Another example involves humor. Though I’ve never done this, I’m told that men find it rude when women joke about their menstrual cycle in front of them. What’s funny is that they see no problem in joking about their genital size in front of females though they think it’s rude. With our definitions differing so greatly, no wonder men and women are so often left scratching their heads.
Why Should I If No One Else Is?
I went through a period of not holding doors for people and trying to not say thank you. Feeling for too long like I was the only person who knew how to behave politely, it finally got to me. After realizing that fighting my nature was harder to take than not being thanked in return, I went back to my old habits. I’m going to assume that the same goes for some of the rude people out there. After being repeatedly treated rudely, they stopped being polite. So influenced by past negative experiences they saw no need in trying to maintain a balance and became one of the people they always frowned upon. Seeing so many rude people in the world, we sometimes question if we should be rude too. For some of us, we realize that being rude isn’t in our nature. For others, the “bad team” just got another player.
I am aware that there is no rule that states that people have to be nice to others. I also know that part of being courteous is not expecting others to be courteous in return. However, it’s distressing to see that as we technologically advance, we socially regress. Many of us dread going shopping or simply interacting with another human being because we never know if they’ll be rude or not. We are on guard all of the time which sometimes translates to others as being rude. It’s a shame, but, until these people stop acting like jerks, its how we have to be.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2009 L A Walsh