Rude behavior is irritating, infuriating, and unattractive – but unfortunately, many of us have to deal with it on a daily basis. While it may be tempting to retaliate with an equally offensive act, there are ways to respond to rudeness without compromising your own composure and sense of dignity.
Here are four of my favorites:
Keep Your Chin Up
Smile at the offender, and keep your voice very calm and level. Most people will unconsciously alter their own tone to match yours. If you meet screaming with more screaming, the situation is sure to escalate. By contrast, if you meet their rudeness with serenity (fake it if you have to), you will take control of the situation and steer the interaction towards a kinder and more reasonable place. Anyone who responds to this tactic with continued rudeness should soon start to feel small, silly, and out of control.
Redirect Your Anger
It is not healthy to hold in your anger, push it down, or pretend that it doesn’t exist. It isn’t effective, either. Rather than repressing this negative energy, put it to good use. Write about it, paint about it, sing about it, or work it out physically by using it as fuel for a run or weight-lifting session. By channeling your pain and frustration into something productive, you have the chance to come out of the situation better off. That obnoxious lady who sent back her order six times just might help you go down a pants size!
Ultimately, the rude things people say and do tell more about them than their target. See their unkind action for what it is – a reflection of their inner self and the inner world that they inhabit. Truthfully, it has nothing to do with you. Their unkind words are simply an overflow of all the negativity they hold in their own heart. Speaking of which…
Bless Their Heart
As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. If someone is rude to you, they are likely unhappy, unfulfilled, and uninspired. What a sad state to be in! Take the opportunity to be the bigger person, and kindly tell them that you’re sorry they are having a hard day and you hope their luck turns around. They might be caught off guard, look at the situation with a fresh new perspective, and apologize. Of course they might say something nasty back to you instead, but that is none of your concern. Being a kind force in a cruel world is its own reward.
Don’t let rude people get you down. Use one of the strategies above, and keep on smiling. Nobody has the power to bring down your standards of conduct, self-image, and mood but you.