Monday, March 11, 2013

How to deal with rude people

You’re familiar with the scenario: you’re shopping at the mall or you’re filing papers somewhere and the attendants or security guards are grumpy and act like you’re making their life a living hell. Your first instinct is either to lash out at them for their rudeness or duck your head and just meekly allow them to walk all over you, then complain about it on Facebook or Twitter.

Shouldn’t there be a better way to deal with this situation? You don’t want to feel like a doormat—or worse, you don’t want to be caught on video screaming your lungs out asking whether you are bearing false witness against your neighbors. Etiquette expert Lia Bernardo has some advice on how to deal with rudeness.

1. Do not be rude back.

As tempting as it may seem to throw some nastiness back in their faces, it is a waste of time and energy. Plus, it can ruin your day. “Just don’t give them your business,” Bernardo says. “If you are not getting the proper service, it is your right to walk out of the restaurant. If a sales girl is rude, find another sales girl or walk out of the store. Why should you waste your time and hard earned money in a store that does not serve you well?”

2. Give importance to the people in authority if you want to get your way.

Sometimes, you find yourself being stopped from doing something by a security guard (in Bernardo’s case, she wasn’t allowed to hand carry a certain item into an airplane even if she wasn’t breaking any hand-carry rules). Instead of blowing your top, because this will just make you lose self-control, find a way to compromise.

“You can argue till you are blue in the face, but the person in authority will always win because they hold the power,” explains Bernardo. “So the polite and practical way is to compromise and give them what they want. All they want is importance, so give that to them.” Explain why you need to do whatever it is they aren’t allowing you to do, then ask them what you can do to make it possible, but the whole time, remain polite.

Bernardo adds that you must thank them and even apologize for any misunderstanding. In the end, they might even smile because you gave them what they needed to feel—important—and you raise your chances of getting what you want.

3. Remember that you are in control.

“You have power because you can turn this into a win-win situation,” says Bernardo. “Why rant, why be a doormat, why lose your cool when you can create and turn the situation around and make it pleasant for all?”

A problem may arise because some people find it hard to let go when they know they are right, but Bernardo says, “Sometimes it is easier to be peaceful than it is to be right. It is okay to make the other person feel good for as long as you get what you want in the end.” Keep your eye on the bigger picture.

4. Do not be a doormat.

Don’t take rudeness quietly and just give in to whatever the rude person is telling you to do. You can still stand up for yourself peacefully and politely. “Explain kindly and gently where you are coming from and why,” suggests Bernardo. “No matter how frustrated or angry you become, giving in to the anger will not solve anything. Remember, you cannot control how others react but you can always control how you react.”

5. Tongue-lashing just leads to more tongue-lashing.

Some people believe that a good tongue-lashing will teach a rude person a lesson, especially if they have not been educated or will not recognize reason. However, Bernardo doesn’t agree: “Find a way out. If they are rude, leave. If you cannot leave, compromise. People are rude because they are mad at themselves and no amount of tongue-lashing will teach them a lesson, they will only become more rude and you become the bad guy.”

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