Here is a short list of rudeness that I have experienced recently. I think many of you will be saying, “Me too.”
- After holding the door open for someone carrying a tray of take-out coffee, briefcase, and gym bag they breezed through as though I were invisible. Not a thank you or acknowledging smile.
- Two years after sending a wedding gift I am still waiting for a note of thanks.
- I politely informed a telephone caller yesterday they had the wrong number only to have the response of an abrupt hang up.
- In the dreaded middle airplane seat I was left without either armrest.
- When asked what I did and I responded that I taught etiquette and civility, I was met with a bemused smile and the words “Really? People actually need that? My grandmother taught me everything.”
- The elevator doors opened and before I could exit two people had entered, totally oblivious to those of us attempting to leave.
- During a conversation an acquaintance checked her phone.
The list could go on and I’m sure you can add your own frustrations with rudeness.
What did I do in these cases? Nothing. Oh yes, I had sarcastic retorts on the tip of my tongue. Scathing ones that would have delivered my message with a wallop. But that would have been rude. Responding to rudeness with rudeness is rude. I would have become what I so abhor – rude. Pointing out someone’s rude behavior with our own rude behavior only reinforces their rudeness.
Before the comments come flying, let me emphasize that I do not advocate allowing anyone to be abused, verbally or physically. Having a door fall in one’s face is not abuse. It is simply rudeness on the part of the person who walked through ahead and lacked the courtesy of holding it for the next person. Rude. But so is sarcastically yelling “You’re welcome!” to the person who just breezed through the door you were holding open for them.
It’s possible the rude behavior was due to the upset state of the individual.
It’s possible the rude behavior was due to total distraction by the individual.
It’s possible the rude behavior was due to lack of awareness of common courtesies.
It’s possible the individual didn’t care at all.
Whatever the reason, responding to rudeness with rudeness is rude.