You will inevitably have to deal with mean or rude people throughout your life. Whether it’s a complete stranger at the grocery store, family member or a coworker, there will always be someone who gets on your nerves. There are different strategies to address rude people based on the situation. If the person is someone who has insulted you personally or their rudeness is something you have to deal with on a daily basis, it may be best to confront them directly to keep it from happening again.
You can’t control someone else’s behavior but you don’t want to be provoked by someone’s ill-mannered attitude. When confronted with toxic behavior, whether it’s coming from a crotchety stranger, a grouchy coworker or a snappish friend. Handling rude people can be tricky. You can’t control someone else’s behavior or explanatory style. I believe the most effective way to break the vicious cycle of rudeness is to keep your cool and avoid being rude in response.
Equanimity is the key to keeping the ricochet effect of rudeness from snowballing out of control. Equanimity is defined as, “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”
Polite Ways to Combat Rudeness
Equanimity. When someone’s rudeness upsets you, count to 10, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself, “Is it really worth losing my cool over this?”
Size Up the Grievances. Is it a waste of your emotional energy to let this get under your skin? Or does the rudeness cross the line and need to be addressed face-to-face with equanimity?
Empathize with the Rude Person. Don’t take rudeness personally; maybe the person is just having a bad day and taking it out on the world. Often you can break the cycle of rudeness by empathizing with the root of someone’s cantankerous behavior as a sign that he or she is unhappy, and be kind.
Lead by Example. Rudeness begets rudeness and is contagious—i.e., If you speak rudely to a waiter, don’t be surprised if you get the same treatment in return.
Let It Roll Off Your Back. If you can’t come up with a witty joke or laugh it off… just shrug your shoulders, let it go, and walk away.