Monday, September 5, 2011

"Well, I NEVER! The NERVE of some people!"

You won't ever hear me say that, by the way. At least not unless it's in jest. I'll tell you why.

People are rude, in my opinion, for one of three reasons.

1. They're malicious.
2. They're distracted.
3. They're ignorant.

So here's a scenario - you're having a party and invite Joe, Mark, and Steve.

Joe is rude type number one - you asked him for an RSVP and he didn't give you one just so he could crash the party and try to throw your plans off. He was just being malicious. It can't be helped. He's going to be that way, so just don't let it get YOU down.

Mark is rude type number two - he didn't take his shoes off at the door. And you're Japanese and keep a Japanese home, where it is VERY rude not to remove one's shoes. Didn't he notice all the shoes by the door?? Well, no. He didn't notice. He was distracted because he'd had a really rough day and forgot you'd mentioned it to everyone in the invitation. It can't be helped. It wasn't intentional - it was an accident.

Steve is rude type number three - he didn't bring you a present. It's your birthday party for crying out loud. Why didn't he bring a present?? Oh. Someone gave him a verbal invite and didn't mention that it was a birthday party. He didn't know he was supposed to have a gift. It can't be helped. He simply couldn't have known he was being rude until it was too late and when he realized the blunder, he was too embarrassed to say anything and just hoped you wouldn't notice.

So here's what I'm getting at. We human beings get SO worked up over people we label as "rude." We take it so personally when we get cut off in traffic (he's either mean, in a hurry, or didn't see you) or when our neighbor doesn't offer to bring a dish to dinner (she didn't want to be there, she didn't have time to prepare anything, or she thought if you'd needed help with the meal, you'd have asked) or... choose a scenario. And then we go and complain about these people, using grand gesticulations and scoffing and saying "I was SO offended. I couldn't believe she'd DO that to me!" But for what? It can't be helped. It's either intentional and the person WILL be that way whether you approve or not... or it was not intentional and was not meant to be taken personally and you need to grant a little grace. Sometimes it's as simple as the fact that what some people think is rude is nothing at all to others - it's a cultural thing.

And so I am approached with such complaints and I don't know what to say. The person obviously thinks they're in the right, to judge this person for their poor manners. But they're only making themselves miserable... and me too, for having to listen. But they probably don't want to hear that THEY are also being unreasonable and it's likely they don't even want any suggestions or problem solving tactics - they just want to vent. So here's my question: what's a non-rude way of saying the following:

"I really do like you, but I couldn't possibly care less about what you're saying and it's really getting me down. Can't you please just stop talking for two minutes together??"

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