This is the last part of my 3-part series on how to deal with rude people — including co-workers, clients, managers, and customers. If you are new to this series, read Part 1: Tips #1-4 and Part 2: Tips #5-10 first.
11) Maintain your dignity
As mentioned in Tip #2 Don’t Take It Personally, no matter what the rude person says, you should never let him/her make you feel any lesser about yourself. Neither should you back down, lower your worth, nor depreciate yourself. Be sure of who you are and what you stand for. Stick to your values, your integrity, and your beliefs. Maintain your personal boundaries and guard them.
If the person ever tries to trample on your boundaries, don’t be afraid to confront him/her (Tip #3 – Confront if need be). You deserve better, and it doesn’t matter how important the job is or how valuable the client or deal is. There’s nothing more valuable than your integrity and it’s up to you to honor that.
12) Raise your consciousness where you cannot be affected
I love this quote by Rene Descartes:
“Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.” — Rene Descartes
Rude people vibrate at a certain level of consciousness, namely lower levels like fear, anger, and pride. As I mentioned in You Are The Average Of The 5 People You Spend The Most Time With, your consciousness level is partly affected by the type of people you’re with. When you interact with rude people, their consciousness will naturally rub off you and drag you down as a result. The longer you stay in this state, the more negative you’ll feel, and the more likely you’ll start to behave negatively and rudely too.
If you’re affected by their attitude, that means that you’re currently at a consciousness level that’s making you vulnerable to their attack. For example, Buddha. Gautama Buddha is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood, and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Let’s say that there is a rude person who shouts vulgarities and hurls insults at Buddha. Do you think that he’ll care or be affected by this person’s rudeness? No of course not!
This is why people at lower levels of consciousness constantly feel victimized or undermined. It’s not necessarily because people are victimizing them; it’s just that they’re at a state where they perceive everything to be an attack on them. Similarly, people at high levels of consciousness don’t feel attacked even if people do try to attack them. They’re just at a state where attacks don’t hurt them. That’s why you often hear about how Buddha/Jesus/Allah/Krishna/enlightened beings remain unaffected no matter who tries to tear them down.
13) Connect with people who can help
Just because you’re going through a tough time doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Seek help from people around you. Even if it’s just having a listening ear, it’s better than bottling it up. Talking to someone will also help you get added perspectives to the situation. Who knows, you may get help where you least expect. Some people you can reach out to:
- Friends and Family
- Team members
- Senior managers
14) Opt Out of the Interaction
If you’ve tried all the tips from tips #1 to #13 and none of them work at all (or to little effect), perhaps it’s time to opt out. In the context of work, this means quitting if the situation is unbearable.
The bigger consideration point behind whether you should leave is whether you have a reason to stay. Don’t quit your job just because you face rude people. Leave because there is no reason to stay. Do you like this job? Is the work meaningful? Do you see prospects? Does this job give you opportunities that you can’t get elsewhere? If it’s a yes to any of these questions, then it’s better to find ways to deal with the situation than to leave.
As mentioned in the beginning of part 1, rude people are everywhere. If you leave just because of some rude behavior, there’s no telling that you won’t face this elsewhere. What’s more, it reflects poorly on you and how you deal with situations. Conflicts with people happen all the time. It’s more important to learn to handle them than avoid when they happen. Furthermore, people come and go all the time. Most likely you won’t be facing this rude person 1-2 years down the road. If you see long-term prospects in the company — prospects which you want, it’s not worth it to quit due to rude people. Learn to deal with it — read through tips #1-13 of this article thoroughly and apply them. These tips have real value and they work. And then there’s tip #15, which is the last tip of this article.
15) Think about the times you were rude to others
It’s normal for us to feel mad at others when bad things happen.
- “Hey this person is so rude. How dare he/she do this to me!”
- “This is unacceptable behavior. I’m going to seek redress.”
- “I can’t believe this person is so unreasonable. I hate him/her.”
Yet instead of feeling mad, it is good to use this as a reflection point. When someone is rude to me, I find that it is a good opportunity for me to reflect and think of times when I was rude to someone without my awareness. Usually I can think of one or two incidents when I could have acted in a better way, after which I would reflect on where I went wrong, why I behaved in that way, and how I could be better next time.
Think about the people you’ve been not-so-nice to in your life. And there will usually be some, even if it was just a one-off incident, you felt the rudeness was justified, you didn’t think it was rude, or you weren’t aware of it. Say that customer service staff you felt peeved at because she didn’t handle your request the way you want or because you were really angry at the company (even though she is just a customer service rep). Your colleagues, when you got angry at work over something. Your parents/housemates/friends, when you had a bad day and you became snappy as a result. Or just anyone whom you had lost your cool at before.
Why were you rude to them? Was your reaction justifiable? Did you ever make it up to them? Are you still taking them for granted or have you changed your behavior? If you haven’t, is it perhaps time to treat them better?
Having been on the receiving end of rudeness, you know how unpleasant rude behavior is. While we can’t eliminate rude people, we can however endeavor to be better to others, to pass on kindness. As with the Golden Rule, let’s treat others the way we want to be treated.
16) Focus on the positive
Last but not least, focus on the positive. In my post Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise, I discussed the phrase “Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise.” Things that are noisy will always get our attention simply because they are noisy. And noisy things can often be empty in nature.
With rude people, they may get our attention because their rudeness is so abrasive. After all, people are expected to be kind to one another, not be rude or demeaning. So when someone acts out of line, we feel disrupted. We feel hurt. We feel like someone just attacked us and we need to make them pay.
But these people are not the most important people in the world. Heck, you may not even know them such as if it was a customer service staff or stranger who was rude to you. For rude co-workers/boss, these people will disappear after one to two years when you rotate to a different department or change jobs (or even when they leave the company). So why let them bother your life so? Why not focus on the positive people and things instead?
Here’s what I recommend: Think about the people who are positive in your life. Think about those you care about. Think about the things you are grateful for. Focus on them. When you come across rude people next time, think about the positive things instead. Be grateful that you have kind people around you. Be grateful that you have things that many others don’t have. Nurture your relationship with those you care about instead. This way you will grow in positivity and attract more great people into your life. Watch: How To Stay Positive All the Time [Video]
Get the manifesto version of this article: How To Deal With Rude People [Manifesto]
This is the last part of my 3-part series on how to deal with rude people — including co-workers, clients, managers, and customers.