Rudeness tends to gradually get worse if you simply let it slide, causing relationships to deteriorate. But resentment and over-reaction make things worse as well. So how should you respond to rudeness?
When someone is rude to you, whether it is your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, or acquaintance, it’s best not to do respond to the person’s demand. First, let them know that you don’t appreciate his or her rude attitude. The trick is not becoming hostile yourself.
A simple “excuse me?” with a questioning tone of voice often will be enough for them to apologize or rephrase with a more neutral tone of voice.
Sometimes you may have to actually say, “That tone of voice really doesn’t work for me,” or “please don’t yell at me,” or “I don’t appreciate being yelled at,” or “it’s not helpful to sound angry.” Again, the key is to remain calm, and in some circumstances, you may even be able to retain a sense of humor, which is often the most effective way to get things on the right track.
If we let rudeness slide, our relationships will deteriorate over time, allowing disrespect and contempt to take over. It’s very important, however, not to put the other person on the defensive. Thus, stay calm, maintain your dignity, and retain a sense of humor if appropriate.
by Dr. Alison Poulsen