• Breaking Barriers

How to handle rudeness?

Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.’ – Buddha

We meet a lot of people everyday and every now and then we come across someone who is extremely rude to us and we wonder why? This article is about understanding why people are rude and how to live and work with them.

Why are people rude?

There are multiple reasons why people may display rude behaviour, they can range from something as fundamental as conditioning to sense of insecurity let's look at some of the common reasons behind rude behaviour:

  1. Conditioning: We all have someone whom we look up to as our ideal, these people can be our parents, teachers or even bosses. We copy behaviour that these people display. We also observe their success rate very closely, so whatever has worked for them we quickly accept it as the best way. Once it starts working for us too, the belief in the behaviour becomes stronger. So if one has had an elder they looked up to behave rudely and got what they wanted then there is a chance that they would also behave rudely with others.

  2. Inferiority complex: An inferiority complex consists of lack of self-esteem, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and feelings of not measuring up to standards. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extremely asocial behavior. There can be multiple causes behind Inferiority complex, It could be living with a toxic narcissist (People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding). One always feels less in the presence of a Toxic Narcissist.

  3. Fear and Anxiety: Fear of real or perceived threat may divert our attention and reduce empathy for the people we are interacting with in the moment. People can become extremely aggressive and rude when scared. Anxiety, on the other hand is the fear of unknown or failure. We are all scared of change and any perceived change may trigger anxiety and state of panic. People who suffer from anxiety attacks or get anxious quickly are more prone to rude behaviour.

How to handle rudeness?

People are not bad but weak and scared, all they are trying to do is survive - S.A. Hussaini

  1. Respond with Kindness. Next time you read or listen (on the radio, TV or overheard in public) to someone else's opinion and it really annoys you, think about giving them the benefit of the doubt. Believe something good about someone, rather than something bad.

  2. Don't Judge. Assume the other person has had a difficult day and, unfortunately, is taking it out on you. Try to keep an overall positive impression of others, and keep their negative qualities in the larger context of their good and bad nature. With this perspective, you will be in a much better position to respond with positivity.

  3. Breathe. Count backwards, from seven. Be aware of how you react: notice that your body has tensed and your mind is attempting to assign meaning and blame.

  4. Know when to let it go. If you can make an appropriate, kind gesture to the other person, go ahead. But if they reject it or if the person is someone you don't know, walk away. Maya Angelou once said, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ The last thing you want is to get yourself into trouble. People who are mean and rude are stressed out and can flip at any time. Do or say one wrong thing and you could end up in trouble.

I hope this article was able to change your perception of a rude person, and help you empathise and forgive them for their rudeness.


S.A. Hussaini

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