Close Encounters of the Rude Kind

rude Does anything bring out rude behavior more than the holiday shopping season? People cutting you off in traffic, stealing your parking spot, talking on their cell phone while being checked out, leaving their garbage in stores, and even being physically aggressive on Black Friday!

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Oprah recently did a show on rude behavior where she highlighted these statistics:

  • Eighty percent of Americans think rudeness is a serious national problem.
  • Yet ninety-nine percent say that they themselves are not rude.

So we can only conclude from these results that all of the rudeness must stem from one percent of all the people! Evidently, most of us think that almost everyone else is rude, but we’re not.

Test yourself

To see how you stack up, she provides a quiz. Here are a few of the questions:

Are you chronically late? 

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georgeI would have to say n…yes. I want to say “no”, but there may be some people who would disagree with me! Too often I think I can squeeze in one more call or answer one more e-mail before heading off to that next appointment.

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marylynnOprah answered the same way. I know I need to work on this … I tend to be five minutes late to meetings.

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Have you ever interrupted a face-to-face conversation to take a non-urgent cell phone call?

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george
I can’t ever recall a time when I’ve done this. Hey, that means I got one right!

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marylynn
I’m good at ignoring the phone when I’m talking to someone face-to-face.

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Have you gone through a supermarket 10-item express lane with more than 10 items?

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georgeWell, that depends on how you define the word “item”. If I have multiples of a single item that does only count as one, doesn’t it?

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marylynn
I’m guilty by association because I go to the store with you, George.

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george
Oh thanks, Mary-Lynn, for blaming it all on me! That’s rude!

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These questions made us think – things that we don’t necessarily think are rude may be perceived as rude by others.

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georgeI get annoyed with oblivious shoppers. When it’s December 24th and I’m starting to shop for Christmas, it’s just rude for people to wander around like they don’t have anything to do. They get in the way of us serious shoppers!

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marylynnFor me, it’s rude drivers – they don’t use their turn signal. They don’t get over when I’m trying to merge even though there’s plenty of room. Drivers who don’t pay attention are inconsiderate!

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What rude behavior is a pet peeve for you?

3 rules of civil behavior

During her show, Oprah talked with Dr. P.M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct.

He says our society is structured to encourage rudeness. We’re stressed, fatigued, and in environments with a lot of people we don’t know. For example, we may be one of hundreds of people in a store or traffic jam. His book points out three rules to behave more civilly:

Pay Attention
Without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible. When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.

Acknowledge Others

Acknowledge others' existence, their importance to you, their feelings, and the things they do for you. A simple "Good morning" as you walk past a co-worker in the hallway is a perfect example.

Think The Best
When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that. Yet from the results of this study, it appears that we assume the worst in others while thinking the best of ourselves. Sometimes it is dissatisfaction with ourselves that makes us judge others unfairly.

Finally, Dr. Forni also says being polite is a healthier way to live. Going through life behaving rudely can make you physically sick. 

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We really appreciate that you took the time to read our post today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. We’re going to put a different spin on it and talk about thanksgetting. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by Abdulic Monkey, CC 2.0)

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