Sunday, September 21, 2008
In his book "The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude" (St. Martin's Press, 2008), P.M. Forni presents social quandaries and proposes civil solutions to them. He closes his book with a tipsheet on dealing with rudeness, composed by psychologist Arthur Ciaramicoli. If someone's being uncivil to you, consider these points, adapted from the tipsheet, before you react.
1 Don't personalize rude be havior. It's unlikely to be about you, even though it's directed at you.
2 Be aware that rude behavior comes from various sources (sleep deprivation, depression, stress, illness, insecurity, etc.).
3 Respond with calmness rather than behavior that escalates rude behavior.
4"An eye for an eye" is a poor approach; don't turn another's insecurity into your own.
5 Self-righteous behavior only reflects poorly on you; don't use the opportunity to demean another.
6 Try to address the underlying cause of the behavior. ("I can see you are very stressed. Maybe I could help if you tell me what's bothering you.")
7 When necessary, set limits tactfully and assertively, not aggressively.
8 If the conversation remains irrational, know when to quit.
9 Don't assume rudeness is a permanent part of someone's personality. It is a pattern of rudeness (not one mishap) that determines character.
10 In the end, always let empathy -- the ability to read others accurately -- be your guide in understanding rudeness, knowing how to respond to a rude individual and knowing when to leave the scene.