Dealing With Rude People
by Vivian, Rutgers University
July 15, 2009

A big part of etiquette is knowing how to deal with rude people with dignity and grace.

Let’s face it, you can mind your manners all you want but there’ll always be that jerk that comes along and pushes you off the swing set anyway *cough*Ryan-M-from-first-grade*cough* So here are some quick guidelines of how to deal with the Ryans of this world:

During a confrontation…

1. Ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
If someone’s walking straight at you and expect you to get out of their way, remember that it wouldn’t kill you to move over. Yeah, it’s a pain in the butt and yeah, that person is completely rude, but is it worth ruining your day over?

2. Stay calm under pressure.
As Miss Manners, I really can’t condone rudeness; however, I do understand that everyone has bad days and sometimes people honestly don’t know that they’re being rude. So if you catch an attitude at the get-go, they might see it as you being rude first. Never fight fire with fire. No matter what, speak calmly and rationally and perhaps they’ll realize how ridiculous they sound in comparison.

DO NOT: Act patronizing. If your calmness comes off as patronizing, that’ll only set them off again. No one likes to feel stupid and you’ll just push their buttons if they feel like you’re looking down on them.

OR: Start a shouting match, especially in public. Then both of you are being rude. Plus it’s hard to be rational when you’re screaming/being screamed at.

3. Address the rudeness.
Say something along the lines of, “Excuse me, but it was really rude of you to steal my swing like that.” If they haven’t realized by now that they’ve been rude, now they know. And if they’ve already realized it and just don’t care, this will hopefully shame them into acting dignified. Stick to the facts and explain to them exactly what’s wrong with the situation.

DO NOT: Apologize unless you mean it. We can all tell when an apology is insincere and, trust me, it doesn’t make anyone feel better [especially if it was sarcastic].

4. If all else fails, leave.
Walk away from the situation. It isn’t the “weak” way out as some drunken frat boys may argue; it’s the adult thing to do. Be the bigger person and let it go. Yes, even if you’re right. You aren’t backing down, you’re walking away, which is much more mature.