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How to Deal with Rude People

How to react to public rudeness. Consideration is given to whether the rudeness is just observed or if you are the recipient.

They show up everywhere. Rude people are in check out lines, on the streets, and sometimes in our homes. Dealing with these people can be difficult and, at times, exasperating. The say things that are offensive. Their behavior can be atrocious. Rude people butt into lines in front of you. The list of rude people and their rude deeds can be endless. Some days it seems even longer than that. So, the question becomes: How do we respond when people are rude in our presence.

We encounter rudeness in two ways. It can be done directly to us, or we can witness it happening to someone else. These two areas require differing reactions from us. The second one is somewhat easier to deal with than the first. So, it will be considered first.

We are out in public and see someone being deliberately rude to another person. First, examine your connection either to the event or the people or both. If you are just a bystander who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you will want to be very cautious as to how you proceed. After all, you have no way of knowing if this a continuing saga in their lives or a fresh incident. You may poke your nose in and get your nose poked. It might even come from the side you are trying to assist. So, the best possible reaction in this case is to just watch the situation and stay out of it unless their is a clear indication of danger for one of those involved. If it appears that violence may be on the horizon, call for professional help. Any type of police will do. They are better trained to manage what might evolve than you are likely to be. They also have permission to use a measure of coercion to stop violence.

If we know the people involved in the rude incident, a more active involvement may be warranted. If the perpetrator is a relative, you certainly may want to intervene and call for an apology. In the case of one of your children being guilty of this, use it for a stern teaching session with consequences. For a more removed young relative, call for their parents or use the threat of their parents if they do not comply with your orders. If this fails, deny being related and walk away like you are disgusted. It will not fix the problem, but at least no one will hold it against you. For a spouse who is the problem, you may want to draw on the experience of your past to determine the best way to proceed.

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  1. Hoping4aBetterWorld

    On November 10, 2007 at 4:22 pm


    The more people accept rudeness the worse it gets. It is evident in the society we live in today. No one has patience, people want to be first even if it means stepping on others. It didn’t happen overnight but it is now a plague. Even simple manners have gone out the window. Thank you, excuse me and please are foreign phrases that seem to be difficult for some to use.

    A society of “civilized savages”.

  2. min

    On March 14, 2008 at 12:20 am


    I agree with “hoping 4 a better world” rudeness should never be accepted , manners is the only thing that seoerates us from the animals .

  3. Eric

    On May 31, 2008 at 7:19 pm


    one time someone said something rude about me at a restaurant. he acted as though he were saying it to his friend next to them, but he said it loud and knew i could hear him clearly. I turned the tables instantly by acting overly nice to him. i asked what his name was, shook his hand, told him my name and told him it was nice to meet him. Acted like i was his buddy. I think he felt really stupid afterwards because he didn’t receive the expected reaction.

    eric

  4. Fat and fed up

    On June 5, 2008 at 10:44 am


    I am fat and fed up, not with food, but with being laughed at. I used to be slim and never knew what fat people went through every day of their lives. I eat about the same amount of food that I see everyone else eat, and yet, I am fat. I had been fighting a battle with it since I was a teenager and gave up at about age 40. I was tired of starvation, so I became fat, and now I am laughed at all the time. I am constantly insulted and hurt by strangers laughing at me. One way that I have found helpful in fighting off rudeness is to report the abuser to their employer. At least if I am laughed at by someone on their job, I can inform their boss by phone or in writing a heartfelt letter about their rudeness and the discomfort it causes. I found that this has gotten excellent results. The employee usually learns a valuable lesson when it comes to being chewed out by their boss and risking the loss of their job. While I work on getting slim again, I will continue to find ways to help fat people fight for their right to be fat and not abused. I hope to find other ways to make rude strangers consider their ways. Perhaps a flyer about the stupidity of rudeness or rude people left on their windshield or handed to them directly with a satisfied smile might help.

  5. pc

    On June 11, 2008 at 4:56 pm


    I totally agree, I have been so angry about a particular rude person I currently work with, who just happens to be my Manager. I have never beleive me doen anything wrong to offend her or make her this way becauase I have done my homework and had feed back from other people. In a nutshell she simply cut you off when it was her who asked you the question (very bizarre) then when you are telling her about somehting she has asked she gets distracted and looks around the room or even more ruder talks to someone else whilst you are in mid conversation with her!!!!! worst still she will pick the holes in anything even though you have the evidence to support how well your doing she will find any excuse to have a go… I have noted a falseness in her behaviour, her weakness is apart from the obvious she does not like to talk about herself, yet wants to know everyone else’s business.. Very sad really, oh yes it is do as I say not as I do.. She will take the swerve opportunity to avoid queryies or dealing with an angry customer. God only knows how she smarmed her way into the current role.. probably stepping on some poor sods toes on the way.. I’m a strong person and was bullied in my younger days but I am by no means soft, I can predict this horror of a human being down to a tee, and will not let her win over me.. ANy advise welcome cos god knows I want to take her outside and smash her bloody face in..

  6. Fat and fed up

    On June 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm


    Well, pc, I can see why you would be so upset. Many years of this kind of treatment can add up and cause some pretty strong feelings of resentment. I, too, had to work with some horrible people for the last few years. I think their problem was jealously, but your managers problem might involve a hunger for power. (We had one of those too). They like to exhert power over their employees and belittle them no matter how hard they try to please (especially in front of others they want to impress by a great show of authority). One thing you could try (I would try this)is especially when the manager turns to someone else to talk or cuts you off, you could turn and briskly walk away. If the manager stops you or later complains about this action, you can always say that it seemed very clear to you that he/she was finished with you because he/she had stopped speaking to you. The other thing is that even though you know that you are a strong person, this manager may not know it. Have you ever tried to stand up to him/her? The one we had backed down when someone finally stood up to her.
    Here is another idea and works well if there is another higher up boss. (Usually, that boss doesn’t want to deal with the manager anymore than you do), however, you might be able to put a fire under the bigger boss, like I did, with a good letter. If you are afraid that it will come back on you, do it anonymously. Tell no, and I mean NO ONE that you wrote it. I wrote an anonymous letter of complaint like that about 5 employees that included 2 supervisors. When I left that place, no one knew that it was me who wrote it, but it sure got great results! I wrote it so well that they must have thought someone with a much greater education had written it, as well. They never suspected it was me, and the big boss tore through that place like wildfire. I am told it has never been the same since. People are actually working now (for a change) including the supervisors who never worked any more than their favorites did before. Well, I know jobs are hard to find, but good luck, pc. You need to think of something you can do to change this situation and help you to chuckle about and pat yourself on the back like I did.

  7. Fat and fed up

    On June 12, 2008 at 8:32 pm


    PS to pc: The reasons that you write a letter anonymously are this: First of all,if the boss receives a letter with your signature on it, he/she will have no choice but to call you into his/her office for a meeting with your enenmy. The boss will probably do his/her best to appease your enemy (the manager) seeing that the manager has a higher title and always gets more respect than you do. The two of them would only gang up on you in some way. You don’t need this. You have already suffered enough abuse at their hands. Secondly, if the letter is not only anonymous, but well written, they will assume it was written by someone else (hopefully, they have many other well qualified employees to suspect). Thirdly, I found that a well written anonymous letter gains a lot of respect from the higher boss because he/she thinks it came from someone he/she thinks highly of even though the boss can’t be sure who it really was. Fourthly, the boss becomes afraid that these bad complaints will reflect on he/she if they get out and decides to take action against the manager immediately. (The manager or the accused is the only one called into his/her office to get ganged up on). All I know is my letter packed a way more powerful punch being anonymous than it ever could if I had signed it. I know that if I signed it, the boss would have only shoved it under the rug like just another complaint from some lowly underling. Think about it, pc. There must be something you can do. I am still patting myself on the back for a job well done. I am happy and the place I worked for is so much more efficient now.

  8. Jennifer

    On June 16, 2008 at 11:41 am


    I competely agree with Hoping4aBetterWorld. I a so fed up of rude people that I have actually become rude myself in dealing with these rude people! I get so vexed by people walking in pairs or groups who don’t move over on the sidewalk (happens absolutely every time I pass people. I’m actually starting to wonder if anyone besides my boyfriend and I move over), it drives me crazy when I see some many elderly people, or people whom obviously need a seat not given a seat. In one instance, an old man I would say in his 90’s got on the bus with an enormous bandage on his head and a swollen face, and he was not given a seat until I got up from the back of the bus, told the person next to me to save my seat, walked all the way to the front, and escorted the man to the back where my seat was! I am so appaulled by peoples manners these days. It drives me crazy! Teenagers who get on the bus screaming and shouting, blurting out obscenities (especially when there are young children near by), blasting the music in the earphones, and yacking on their cell phones so loud that the entire bus can hear them! I’m not saying that people have to be shivelrous, but what ever happend to just simply common manners? I once had a friend over for dinner, and he never thanked my mother for dinner, even though I had. I couldn’t believe it! It is something I was only taught once as a child, and it is something that seems like perfect sense to me. She bought it, prepared it, and cooked it, so why not thank her? I don’t even need to think about saying it; it just comes out by nature. I ended up getting so mad at that friend of mine, and I told him that he was rude. After he made another rude remark at a later time about something unrelated, I completely stopped talking to him.

  9. Ebony Littlewood

    On June 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm


    Well, people. Rudeness began with Europeans. First they came over here and invaded Indian territory, killed the Indians both with guns and by starvation, raped their women, and stole their land. Then they went into Africa and took Black people away from the only home they ever knew and brought them over and made slaves out of them and worked them to death without pay. They whipped them bloody and raped their women too. Later they pushed themselves on other groups over in Europe too, killing many millions there too. White man is the rudest, meaness, cruelest human that ever lived on this earth, very devils from the pit of Hell. What can you expect from such barbarians who lack feeling or conscience?

  10. az

    On June 29, 2008 at 8:55 pm


    in response to emily littlewood,you started off making your point,but WAY off track with the whole white man,thing,and I quote;
    “White man is the rudest, meaness, cruelest human that ever lived on this earth, very devils from the pit of Hell. What can you expect from such barbarians who lack feeling or conscience?”
    Not all white people are rude,racist,etc.Rest assured the people who commit these acts in history, are just that….history.

  11. Ebony Littlewood (not emily)

    On July 11, 2008 at 9:07 am


    No, not all white people are rude, racist,etc., just the vast majority throughout all of history is all -cruel, vicious bar- barians. It is to their record(and yours)and you can thank them for it. Very few ever stand in opposition to the oppression of other people. Today, just like back then, most white people are just going along with the crowd. If its popular to hate a group of people, they do it. If its popular to act like you like them, theyll do that too. Most white people dont really care. They are the most selfish self centered people on earth. Again I repeat- very devils from the pit of Hell.

  12. Lily White

    On July 11, 2008 at 9:45 am


    Dear Ebony- While I have to agree that white people have surely been the most oppressive and cruel group of people in history, I would have to point out that all people are subject to the temptation of cruelty to their fellow men. Any group of people, who are told they are superior usually want to believe they are. That was the strategy Hitler used to gain support from Germans (yes, I know, also white people). But there is oppression and cruelty within other groups of people of color too. Was it not cruel for Africans to sell other Africans to Europeans? People of all colors have always been cruel to one another. God says in His Bible that people are not basically good, but evil, contrary to popular human belief, and yes, history bares a shocking witness to this truth. Like it or not, we are all evil. That’s why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die to pay for our sins. We are forgiven if we believe that he died, was buried, and was raised from the dead so that we might live eternally with Him. White people need to know that you need an appropriate response from them because the blood of their ancestors runs through them and, as a race of people, they are guilty. God bless you, Ebony, and please forgive us ignorant sinful whitefolk for what we did and still do. I am so sorry and ashamed.

  13. Ebony Littlewood

    On July 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm


    Dear Lily White, thank you for your correct response and sincere apology. You have made a good point. Black people can be cruel too although not to the point that they had suffered at the hands of white people. God is trying to help us to forgive, but it would help us even more if whites would acknowlege their “crime” against us as a white society in general (and not refer to it only as “history”). This is why we cannot help feel the anger we feel at white mans attempt to brush it under the rug. How would the English would feel if it had happened to them? Our ancestors cry out to God from their graves for justice but justice comes slow. All we get are excuses: “We weren’t even born back then” or “I never owned any slaves”. As az commented above, “this is all history”-(just another excuse). It is not just history. It was real peoples lives and blood, and there are people out there still enslaved today. Read the world news, az. It still exists. People are worse than rude. God help us all. People are evil and just dont care. All people will have to answer to God someday and we are all headed for Hell. You’re right Lily. Jesus is the only one who can save us.

  14. Janet Jones

    On July 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm


    I feel you are angry and being very rude about a whole race – self centred, ignorant, sinful, devils from the pit of hell… Listen to yourself!

    Are we not trying to move forward from this kind of ridiculous racism in the world!?

    I love your name Ebony it is a proud name (anger eats you up in the end).

    Please peace and love today and every other.

  15. Ebony Littlewood

    On August 6, 2008 at 7:16 am


    Yes, you are trying to move forward Janet. You and the rest of you are proud about that and about yourselves. Give yourself a big pat on the back for taking so long, and just keep moving along with that popular crowd out there until someone comes along that changes the fad for you again. You people are doing so well. Keep moving along that slow tread mill of progress.

  16. Janet Jones

    On August 14, 2008 at 6:54 am


    Ebony

    Sorry you choose to feel like this.

    Peace and love :-) x

  17. Ebony Littlewood

    On August 15, 2008 at 1:14 am


    Peace, peace and loooooovvvvve. Hippie flower child LOL You ain’t gonna find that much of it in this mean ol world. Wake up Janet. You are dreamin’

  18. A regular person

    On August 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm


    Wasn’t the question about rude people? Most of the comments above that I have read reflect racists. No one is responsible of the actions of others. Who would apolgize for something that they have not done? Maybe someone who needs to read a book about self-esteem? I raise an eyebrow anytime a conversation about “people” turns to white…black…etc. Racists pure and simple. Clinging to a past that you were not even born into? Get over it. Move on. Make the best of YOUR life. Be the best non-racist person that you can be. Guh!

  19. Chinese Man

    On October 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm


    Native Indonesians are the most rude people in East Asia. Chinese Indonesians who have businesses are opening jobs to native Indonesians. In return, Chinese Indonesian are treated like \”Foreigners\” by native Indonesians. Chinese Indonesian even got a different number for their Citizenship ID card to identify that they are Chinese (even though born in Indonesia). Chinese Indonesia can\’t even apply in Government jobs. Native Indonesian always talk rudely when approached by Chinese Indonesia. If you think racism and rudeness between White and Black in the US is bad. In Indonesia, it\’s even worse. Don\’t believe me, ask all Chinese in the world, I think they already knew.

  20. june bug

    On November 24, 2008 at 4:49 am


    Hey, we are all humans capable of being cruel or kind. Children should be taught while very young to be kind and consider others feelings

  21. Loner girl

    On January 7, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    i agree with you Caucasiany Bigwood,i am currently living in a black neighborhood in a mostly black apartment. Black people are indeed the most rudest people i\’ve ever interacted with.For one thing, i have to deal with their looks and racist comments every time i walk out or go back home. Just because i\’m not black like them, geez. I extremely agree with you when you say they expect things from you but not the other way around. I hold the door for them and they ignore me. When they open the door, they don\’t look at me so i figured they\’re ignoring me, but as i walk away they\’re screaming \”YOU\’RE WELCOME!\” like they expected something in return. I probably would\’ve said thank you if her head wasn\’t turned the other way around.
    YOu should\’ve seen the sight of this chinese resturant that was opened in the neighborhood. All of their customers were black people of all ages. They were rude to the people taking their order and even ruder wen recieving their order. No thank yous or anything but INSTEAD they either say nothing, loudly demand something such as soy sauce or sumthing, or they make fun of their nationality and mocking the way their language, all the while laughing to their friends. What a world we live in.
    *I base my comments on experience so i have good reasons to say the things i did. There were not more than 5 Africans whom were sensible people that i\’ve known living there. African Americans may recieve racism, but they give it as well.*

  22. John Doe

    On January 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm


    Ebony,
    Let me start off by saying that though Europeans may have been cruel in history, it’s the ghetto black people thats the main problem these days. They always act as if the world owes them something. In reality this isn’t true. It’s gone so far we have a president who’s willing to steal money from successful people and give it to ghetto people who would rather spend money on newports than bread and milk. I rest my case.

  23. Sarah

    On March 2, 2009 at 11:25 am


    Ebony,

    He isn’t the God of the dead, He’s the God of the living. Which means right here, right now, you have to live your life in circumstances which may make you very angry and which God wouldn’t have chosen for you. But Jesus wants us to forgive. He forgave all of us for crucifying Him when He came to earth out of love; He expects us to do the same if we want to be welcomed in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    I also think you may want to take a look at the lives of Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, and see that evil isn’t limited to white people. It’s the result of sin entering the world through our ancestors, who were a bunch of different colors.

    I pray that God will quench your anger and give peace to your soul.

  24. yankee in the south

    On March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am


    Universally, it is a self-centered and entitled “lens” that brings about a rude person…some of it is age, maturity and experience…sadly, race has been intimated as a causational factor, but really it is more cultural; we live in a culture of self-service, self-importance and outward apathy…

  25. Netty net

    On September 6, 2009 at 12:08 am


    When I live in New Jersey I use to work with some rude ill manners jerks.

  26. lonelygirl

    On September 26, 2009 at 10:21 am


    Hi all, I am an african american women living in Germany (over 15 years now. I agree that rudness comes in all differerent colors, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, for me I get laughed at almost daily. I don’t find myself ugly but I don’t have the small nose and straight hair thats excepted as beauty. It hurts so much to be laughed at and I cry offen about this. The only thing that helps me sometimes is when I consentrate on the few friends that I have. Some of them are german, poland, greek and africans. They are wonderful people and I love them dearly! Unfortunately, there not very many people like them. Lets just all try to stick together because we know the hurt and pain of others laughter. If anyone would like to chat privately, you are welcome to send me an email (swilbie@yahoo.com). Like I say “makes friends not war”. Blessing to all of you :) )))).

  27. Missy D

    On December 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm


    Thank you Allen for posting this. Especially the comment of thinking before acting (or mabe reacting). I am a black woman,and the most rude people I’ve encountered are white people. Pariticularly white males. Some examples are bumping into me, crossing me while I’m in line, and rude comments. Not one apolgy or excuse me which makes these individuals not only rude, but an absolute bad person.

  28. Missy D

    On December 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm


    Thank you Allen for posting this. Especially the comment of thinking before acting (or mabe reacting). I am a black woman,and the most rude people I\’ve encountered are white people. Pariticularly white males. Some examples are bumping into me, crossing me while I\’m in line, and rude comments. Not one apolgy or excuse me which makes these individuals not only rude, but an absolute bad person.

  29. April

    On January 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm


    well thats too bad. I think people have different experiences. I am latina, and i have encountered some pretty rude black people, who try to be intimidating.

  30. Ex-New Yorker

    On February 21, 2011 at 10:40 am


    If you want to see some really rude people, all you need do is visit New York State in the USA. There may be people living in other states that are rude too, but New York is definitely one of them, and I don’t just mean New York City. It probably started there and moved into other parts of that state. The ‘New York State of Mind’ that New Yorkers love to brag about should more aptly be called, ’stinking thinking’. It does little more than just give them a chip on their shoulders with an attitude that they think they are better than others, and it all starts with their upbringing. Their parents had that opinion of themselves and passed it on to their children. Oh, and if you doubt this attitude exists, just visit the state of Florida where many retired New Yorkers now live. Florida used to be a happy ’sunshine state’. Today, it has a ‘New York’ attitude. New Yorkers have deceived themselves into thinking they are better than anyone else when the are really ignoramuses. Such a pity they have ruined two states with their ’stinking thinking New York State of Mind’. They need to step outside their own narrow minded state of mind and see what people are like in other states where New Yorkers are often called, ‘mean’ and ‘inhuman’.

  31. Ex-New Yorker

    On February 21, 2011 at 10:46 am


    If you want to see some really rude people, all you need do is visit New York State in the USA. There may be people living in other states that are rude too, but New York is definitely one of them, and I don’t just mean New York City. It probably started there and moved into other parts of that state. The ‘New York State of Mind’ that New Yorkers love to brag about should more aptly be called, ’stinking thinking’. It does little more than just give them a chip on their shoulders with an attitude that they think they are better than others, and it all starts with their upbringing. Their parents had that opinion of themselves and passed it on to their children. Oh, and if you doubt this attitude exists, just visit the state of Florida where many retired New Yorkers now live. Florida used to be a happy ’sunshine state’. Today, it has a ‘New York’ attitude. New Yorkers have deceived themselves into thinking they are better than anyone else when the are really ignoramuses. Such a pity they have ruined two beautiful states with their ’stinking thinking New York State of Mind’. They need to step outside their own narrow minded state of mind and see what people are like in other states where New Yorkers are often called, mean, rude, and sometimes ‘inhuman’ as I’ve been told.

  32. Soundbite

    On September 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm


    My survival pack for dealing with rude people in various situations (I’ve used all of these and do the one in number 4 on an almost daily basis.)

    1. Rude person whizzing past you and missing you from within quarter of an inch whilst riding their bike on the footpath you’re walking on – particularly where there is NO cycle path shared with the footpath.

    Solution : if you see it coming, give them the elbow and knock them off their bike! (this is a personal favourite of mine)

    2. Rude person you don’t even know who simply walks up to you and begins a seemingly innocent interaction which instantly turns nasty with some antisocial behaviour

    Solution : Ask them if they had their medication today.

    3. Rude person who tries to muscle you out of the way when queuing for something.

    Solution : Regardless of their gender, stamp really really (and I mean really) hard on their foot, and don’t even apologise!

    4. Rude people coming up to you in the street or even blocking your path so you can’t get to where you need to go, just in order to ask you for money or to sign up to a charity*

    Solution : Wear headphones when you’re in the city – that way you have a legitimate excuse for ignoring them.

    *I’ve actually had one of these arrested by the police for harassment.

    5. Rude people that make loud noise or any other disturbance when it is clearly not appropriate in a situation.

    Solution : Do and say nothing, pay no attention to it and when it is least convenient to them, do exactly the same thing back.

    Other alternatives (if you are ever sharing a living space): Disconnect the electricity (fuse board) or short out the electricity (insulated wire coat hanger)

    6. Rude people who display passive aggressive behaviour.

    Solution : Give it right back. If they ask you something or simply exclaim something during conversation, just say you’re confused and that you don’t understand what they’ve just said.. This gives you time to think up a reason for why you are confused and also make them look incredibly dumb.

    7. Rude people who insult you to your face for no reason at all

    Solution : Thank them form the bottom of your heart – and try to make it sound sincere. Do not raise your voice or look even bothered by it.

    8. Rude people who see fit to occupy a space where it is CLEARLY evident to even a partially sighted person that someone or a collection of people have reserved it for a reasonable period of time in reasonable circumstances. Particularly in public places, reserved seats on trains, theatres or other places with reserved seating.

    Solution : Ask them politely to move. If this doesn’t work (and lets face it, this probably won’t work), tell them that you are educated and that they are clearly not so, as they can’t tell the difference between what has been reserved and what has not. Failing this, if it is at all possible, have them removed from that location or even embarrass them to the extent where they need to move.

    9. Rude people that tail gate right behind you when you are driving.

    Solution : Tail gating is extremely dangerous. Slow right down to a reasonable speed.

    Side note : I’ve actually known someone to get the hump with this kind of behaviour and assess the other parties car and their own car’s safety features and just slam the breaks on.

    10. Rude people you just don’t like for any reason which is within the bounds of normality.

    Solution : Just ignore them, even when they talk to you.

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