Are Some People Rude To You?
Were you ever rushing to catch the elevator and the person already inside it, instead of waiting for you, pressed the button and made the elevator take off without you?
Were you ever heading to the cashier at a store and someone just quickly placed himself right before you and took your turn?
Have you ever smiled at someone and felt you were making a fool of yourself when he/she didn’t smile back at you?
Let me ask you one last and most important question. If one or all of these things happened to you, did you then think that these people behaved in such a way because they are rude and hostile or because they were not focused or in a hurry and didn’t notice you?
Could it be a perception error?
A study that exposed participants to such situations and then asked them to find reasons for the people’s behavior, 73% said it is because people are rude. Believing the reason to be a stable personality trait (rudeness) rather than finding excuses for people and saying “Maybe they didn’t mean to…”, is very common.
Psychologists call this the “fundamental attribution error”. Most people would easily think that the person who didn’t smile back at them is rude rather than doubting that he might have been preoccupied with something and didn’t notice them. (see also How incorrect perception affects self confidence)
In the Solid Self confidence program i said that people see a reflection of their insecurities when they deal with others. Lets suppose you believed that you are not worthy of respect. In such a case you will become super focused on small details in order to prove to yourself that people don’t respect you.
Some people feel that the world is not a safe place, as a result They take advantage of each other and only care about their interests and survival, not about anyone else’s. In such a world it might seem smart to always be distrusting of others and expecting the worst from them. But is that distrusthealthy?
3 reasons your lack of faith in people can harm you
1)The Stress Hormone: If you are always distrusting others, you worry a lot more than you would if you thought that people may actually be kind sometimes. The constant worrying releases astress hormone called cortisol that is very damaging for emotional well being. In other words your body will always be running in the emergency state and you will damage your health
2)Anger and Revenge: If you, for example, think that the person in the elevator didn’t wait for you on purpose, you will definitely feel angry. This anger may make you want to get back at this person. You might be motivated to look for opportunities to close the elevator door in his face. This would of course create a hostile environment and make everyone miserable. If you say you are not the person to take revenge, research found that you would involuntarily take your anger out on other people such as your partner or friend.
3)The loss of the Ability to Trust Even Friends: Once you become too focused on finding people’s bad intentions you will start to distrust everyone even the good people. In addition the friends you will attract would all be as distrusting as you are. At times they would think you are rude and you would also think they are unkind. They would encourage you to be angrier at people. There are a thousand reasons, like stress and personal problems, why people may seem rude to you. Of course this can’t justify their rude behavior. But you can’t take it personally and think that a person means to offend you without knowing what’s going on in his mind at the moment he behaves rudely to you. (see also How to stop attracting negative people)
Put in mind that all participants in the already mentioned study said that they would do something as rude as cutting in someone’s lane while driving only if they were in a hurry and didn’t notice the car in the other lane.
What If They Are Really Rude?
You might have come to believe that some people don’t mean to be rude to you. But I guess you are still thinking that rude people do exist and if we don’t put our guards up against them we will end up being mistreated all the time and suffering much emotional damage.
Here are some tips on how you can handle rude people.
1)Eye-Contact: If, for example, you were about to park your car and another car came speeding and took the parking space you were about to use, look the driver in the eye and ask him assertively to find another place to park. Some studies have found that the assertive communication from your eye-contact would force them to stop being rude.
2)Stay Calm: Your anger would always make things worse. On the other hand, your calmness can give you the upper hand in any situation. The angrier you get the more mistakes you make.
3) Don’t get aggressive: Do not try to be rude to a rude person. You will only trigger hisstubbornness and let him resist you. Instead be assertive without losing your temper or insulting him.
4)Speak Up for Your Rights: Don’t just smile and say it’s OK every time a rude person takes your turn in a line. Being passive will destroy your self confidence on the long term since you will start to believe that you are the kind of person who can’t stand up for himself