At an event recently Ann made snarky comments to another guest – “because I can”. She kept it up for several minutes even though it was clear her target did not appreciate the comments.
At a red light the other day I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the words “Go Faster” written on the hood of the big pickup truck behind me.
These and similar examples appear to be more common all the time. People are rude and proud of it. Manners are gone and many people take pride in their ability to be offensive. Some people even think it is funny, and it is more widely accepted (or at least take for granted) now than in the past.
This is a disturbing trend for many reasons, including:
- We live in community, and rude behavior breaks the trust and peace needed for the community to thrive.
- Rude behavior by definition is unkind and has a target, a victim. The damage such behavior can inflict might be fleeting, or it might be long-lasting (e.g. bullying). This deprives the victim of the ability to perform at his/her best, to realize his/her potential.
- It creates stress and health problems.
- It creates conflict at the expense of performance and productivity.
- It keeps the rude person from living up to his/her potential.
Ultimately, it is mean-spirited and judgmental. These are not the adjectives used to describe a healthy person or environment.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, the self-help author and motivational speaker, said: “When I judge someone, I do not define them with my judgment. I define myself as someone who needs to judge.” It says a lot more about the speaker than the victim.
If you are ever tempted to say something sarcastic, snarky, snide, catty or otherwise unkind or rude, stop and think for a minute. Ask yourself if you want to be seen and known as someone who is mean-spirited and judgmental, and if it projects the image you want as you try to build a life that brings out the best in you. Ask yourself if you would be proud to have your children see you behaving this way, how you would feel if your children were treated rudely, and if that is the kind of behavior you want to teach your children.
Rude behavior does not build connection or relationship. It isn’t life-giving. Being proud of it doesn’t make sense.