Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Courteous Conversation - Dealing With Rude People

I am about to have a chat with you here about conversation habits, which to some people, is a highly sensitive subject. We are seeing more bad habits in the public, and this can in part come from the kind of training wrought in the home. From business to politics, little restraint is practiced by some people. Yes, right now, it is only a few people who are at fault, but rudeness can become epidemic if it is not noted and self-corrected. Like disease, bad habits are easily caught and spread. Young people who are well brought-up may enter the public sphere and be influenced to adopt some of these bad conversational habits that make life depressing.

 
 
I will relate some things I recently observed in the public. The first was at the airport, where a female employee was sarcastically and sardonically addressing the passengers as they went through the check point. Instead of informing them of what they were to do, she would yell out, "Sir, where do you think you are going?" She could have saved her voice and said, "Over here, sir. This is where you have to go next." Instead of informing a passenger what to put on the conveyor belt for examination, she croaked meanly, "Well, well. What have we here?" She pointed to the woman's shoes. The woman had not travelled much, and this was her first flight in 15 years. The employee could have said, "You have to remove your shoes, Ma'am." I personally found the female employees to be the most hardened, sarcastic, brutal-voiced, bossy and pushy people. In any other business, they would have been justifiably sacked. These antics at airports ruin business on all sides, for who wants to pay for an expensive ticket and be treated so disdainfully and given sharp commands as if they were a dog. Their training does not require them to add the extra sarcastic remarks that silently say "You dummy, you."
 
There is also the problem of dealing with those who live around you, whether it be neighbors or family members. Sometimes people think that it does not matter how they act at home, because, after all, they are doing it on their own property, and it is no one else's business, but this is not entirely true. They way we live has a great impact on others for good or for ill. A neighbor in the country may be allowed to water his lawn, but if he lets the sprinkler spray his neighbors wash on the line, it is offensive. On the other hand, it is quite rude to complain all the time to neighbors about every little thing. It puts a barrier between you both and makes it harder to win him to Christ. While we may feel justified in saying many different things that are true, as in the case of the sarcastic woman working at the airport, it does nothing to win friends and influence people. Everyone in your life is a potential brother and sister in Christ, a potential customer for a future business. a potential family member, a potential helper or care-giver. You never know how you cheat yourself when you alienate people.
This second example is one where the owner of a hotel and the employees treat the customers as though they were a nuisance. We all know that this situation was the inspiration for John Cleese's brilliant series, "Fawlty Towers," in which the proprietor rasped through clenched teeth: "I could manage this hotel perfectly if it were not for the people in it!" The hotel, motel, campground, travel-trailer, and other vacation resorts are known as "the hospitality business." Those who are in contact with the customers should be aware that the customer is their bread and butter and treat them with pleasantness.
 
I have read a lot of customer reviews of several places where I had personal experience. You can read reviews of places before you go, on Trip Advisor.com. The other customers almost always have the same bad experiences with rude hostesses, which include things like calling the customer a liar, charging more than the agreed price, sending them to a different room or spot than originally booked, misrepresenting the available amenities by not informing the customer that there was no water or cooking facilities, and on and on. One place I visited had added charges just for sitting in the cafe, before the customer even ordered. If I had read the reviews first, I would have been more aware and avoided the place. Some managers do not value the customer's business and will treat them with contempt, making their vacation miserable instead of relaxing, as it is intended.
 
 
 
For a few years I had a tea room and booked tea parties. I was so blessed never to get a bad customer, but it was partly because of my experience as a preacher's wife, knowing that if you treat people badly, you are out of business and so is your husband. To every complaint I was compliant, cheerfully offering a remedy for any known wrong, as well as not getting offended by smart remarks or innuendos; taking everything in stride and enjoying people. For the Christian, this is extremely important, because our ultimate concern is to win them to Christ. Once someone is offended, it is nearly impossible to get them interested again in the Lord and the body of people that are His disciples.
 
There are, however, people who are chronically rude, who drive away family members and church members by their jaded, critical remarks. The Bible says to avoid those who cause division. Sometimes we think we can work with such adults and we imagine that our own gentle ways will rub off on them, and that they will change their manners and become more like us. I have found that this is more often not the case. We would like to be valiant rescuers of those who are lost in the foolishness of this world, but it is better sometimes that the rude people learn by the impact of not being in your inner circle. I have seen many Ladies Bible Classes ruined because people insisted that certain rude women be allowed to come. After all, their soul is at stake, and Christian women would tolerate the disruptive arguing, bossing and criticising, hoping to keep them coming to Bible class and eventually "win" them. In the meantime, the person discourages others in the class who really need the fellowship, by making the session so uneasy and unpleasant. In my experience this only works if you get someone young enough to train them in good manners; someone in their formative years who will easily mold to the teachings offered.
 
 
Parents need to be careful not to let rude visitors disrupt their home lives. While all families have a certain amount of commotion and noise, sometimes unruly visitors think it is kind of enlightening to expose them to loud arguments about temperamental subjects like environment, health, politics, refinement, propriety, marriage and child-rearing. The disruption is extremely unnerving. The first time it happened in my home, I was entertaining a couple with children, and during dinner, the Mr. Guest began yelling loudly about submission and other things, making the mealtime most unpleasant. I was so stunned I responded in silence and could not eat another morsel. I did not respond back in kind, but grew more silent, until the family departed. They were never invited again, and although I never told them anything, I tried to adroitly and politely avoid them in church and other places.
 
 
 
 
This is another thing that needs to be explained: when you have found someone who is unbearably rude, you may do better not to announce to them that you find them too rude to associate with. Just do not associate with them. As a preacher's wife, I learned to be careful about saying something like that, because it would be told and re-told and it did no good to my family. It is best to be an example rather than to mouth off what you are thinking. Avoid the trouble makers and the rude people. Seek peace and pursue it, as the Bible says. It is often not even wise to work it out with such rude-mongers, because their rudeness controls them, and they cannot be reasoned with, nor are they caring about others. Just leave them alone. They will have to learn by impact, and the impact of being left alone is the best thing for them.
 
 
Rudeness is not just contained in harshness, sarcasm, mean-spiritedness or shouting. It is also sometimes cultivated by people in a subtle and quiet way. I knew a man who would never answer a greeting unless you called him by his name, first, if he was sitting with a group of people. He would never participate in conversation but was quick to correct people who spoke. He never liked pronouns or antecedents (he, she, her, him, they) and insisted that names of places and people be used at all times, even if you had to repeat the same name several times in a sentence. If you were talking about your home town and named the home town but after that referred to it as "there" or "downtown", he was apt to ask, "Of what are you speaking?" This is what I call the "teacher" person who feels an obligation to correct and teach everyone in his association. That kind of rudeness does not draw all men unto you.
 
 
I will now mention rudeness in the home. Snappy comments, impatience, and harshness will poison the atmosphere of the home, as bad food will put acid in the stomach. The husband will not acknowledge that his wife has just spoken to him, so she repeats the question or comment. He then tells her she is repeating herself. A wife will answer her husband's question but do so with a hard edge to her voice. Children talk over the end of their parents sentences, answering abruptly without waiting to hear the end of it. They often reach wrong conclusions. I remember watching a mother with her 13 year old boy whom she loved very much. She was talking to her other son about a trip they had taken before the children were born. She said how lovely a certain town was. The older boy walked in on that last sentence and assumed that the family was going to this town, and he said, "I don't want to go!" He had jumped to conclusions. The Bible talks about the fool that does not listen to a matter before he makes a judgement. Children need to be taught the art of polite conversation.
 
 
 
Another type of conversation flaw is not answering and not acknowledging someone when they tell you something. It is easy to be rude to a child, too, when they ask the same question many times. I hear mothers say, "I heard you! You said it three times!" I believe that is very rude. Modern parents might think it is okay for a child to refuse to come when he is called by his mother, and then respond with the same words, "I heard you! You said it three times!" but those words are just not, and never have been polite. Would you say that to a school teacher, an employer, a deacon in the church, a preacher, or someone you are doing business with? Sometimes we think our families can be treated less politely than those we meet in public, but that is not the case. True manners flow from the home, from the goodness we show to one another. Once those are practiced with our parents and brothers and sisters, they are impossible to shake, when we start dealing with the public.
 
Another item of rudeness which I feel must be addressed is the habit of telling-all about your family. Children should be taught that all families have faults and that they must not go around telling people that their brother or sister said a bad word (especially if they were corrected by the parents and it was taken care of at home) or that their father got mad at their mother. Sometimes young couples think it is healthy to be transparent and tell other couples all the problems they have, including financial and social and physical and who-knows what, but this is rude. I have known couples in the Lord's church who were married 60 years or more and one thing I noticed about them is that they never criticized each other to other people. They always presented the good side of one another. They did not self-criticize their family but always built them up.
 
There is a problem today with criticism, in that it is sometimes taught as a habit to cultivate; that every fault must be noticed and if there is no noticeable fault, one must dig until they find a sore-spot and then bring out the worst, the sordid, the shameful in a person. In the Christian life, we do not do that, and in the Christian home, we love each other and want to bring out the best in one another so we look on the good side. Parents of course, must teach their children to speak politely and behave properly; it is not criticism to train up your children or correct them. What I am speaking of is the adult habit that comes from the world and enters our homes and churches where such things ought not to be.
 
 
You can be kind and loving to people without letting them disturb you and your family. Just remember to firmly but politely decline to be engaged socially with them or to avoid too much conversation with people who are not polite. It is very bad for the nerves and for your health. One thing that benefited me was realizing that the less we say, the less trouble we get in. Most of the time you can over look rudeness. If you try to correct rude people, you get double the stress: first, the rudeness itself can shake you to your core, and then, the backlash you get from the rude person when trying to correct them. Learn to let a lot of rudeness flow over you like water off a duck's back. Avoid those which cause stress, and cultivate politeness in your life.
 
One thing that perhaps you might not have considered, is that the television shows and radio chat shows are full of loud rudeness and arguing. Maybe those are not good for us. I've seen women get in to arguments on some of these films, loudly trying to drown out one another's words, using smart remarks and sardonic expressions. These are not the kind of women we want to mentor us. We need to avoid them. They are not the kind of people we want our daughters and sons to be around.
 
Finally, when responding to what you perceive as rudeness, find out if the perpetrator really intended it. It is possible that you can react to something just because you personally feel pressure, tiredness, or your teeth on set on edge for some other reason. I have often been surprised to see two people talking when suddenly one of them blows up at the other over some sensitive, little thing. The other person is left speechless, not even knowing what he said.
 
 
 
In general, there is a type of rude bluntness going on in public and at home: things you would never say to your own mother when you were growing up are being said to people on the street, and to people at home. The free enterprise system will make judgements on people who are rude in business, and that is for certain. We probably do not even need to correct the public rudeness ourselves and can save our nerves. Customers will take their business elsewhere, and the rude shopkeepers and hospitality workers will be no more. Rudeness in churches is another matter, for we cannot allow a rude person to run the church members or potential church members off. Such people must be taken aside and spoken to clearly and gently. Tell them you know that they do not intend to be rude, but that their manner of speaking, pushing, their harshness, etc. puts people off and can cause harm.
 
Many ladies and gentlemen reading this will remember in the "old days" at the start of electronic communication, the message boards and emails. Christians quickly learned what words and phrases were designed to enflame people and cause online disagreements. It is interesting to note how people policed themselves until they got rid of the dissenters and the rude people who wanted to destroy peace and happiness of others. There was first the technique of isolating the person and not allowing them to communicate with you if they were rude on your message board or email. Eventually people began to identify signs of rudeness and potential flare ups so that they were not tempted to "friendship" the person engaged in such tactics. Today, I find the web an easier place on which to dwell, but it always helps to be vigilant on these matters. People who are careless in their manners at home will eventually take them to town and spread them around, blighting the public with them.
 
The result of bad manners in the home is even more severe than in any other sphere, for they infect a future generation and the bad habits are acquired and passed down, sometimes unknowingly, to the children and grandchildren.
 
I realize we cannot change the whole world, but I believe that we can correct our own manners and those of our family members if we implore them to present a better representation of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, to them.
 
I hope many will comment on this post and share experiences and insights. If you have trouble posting due to the fact I disabled anonymous comments (I had too much spam) please email me and I will paste in your comment: ladylydiaspeaks@comcast.net

 

37 comments:

Barbara said...

This is an excellent post. It is true that so many people are habitually rude, out-spoken, and downright insensitive these days. We all need to check ourselves, asking the Lord to help us to keep a guard on our mouths.

At the same time, we also need to remember that what people say is a fruit of what is in their hearts; and often what is in their heart is tremendous hurt that has gone unresolved. Compassion needs to be in the mix when we are dealing with difficult people, even when we need to decrease our contact with them.

Suzanne said...

I found myself constantly shaking my head in agreement as I read your post. Manners seem to be something that people don't deem worthy in our current age of cell phones. Every time I am in the grocers I am privy to someone's conversation on their cell phone--and for some reason they feel they can say just about anything! But, I do believe, the swearing I hear in public is really the most distressing. I recently purchased a new book, Making Great Conversationalists by Teri and STeve Maxwell. What a great little resource to help our children learn proper ways to converse with others.

LadyLydia said...



Dear Lady Lydia,

I read your post on Courteous Conversation and I really loved it. I posted a comment, but I thought I would e-mail it to you as well, since you said you’ve been having trouble receiving some of your comments. Here it is:

“I really like this post. I've had to learn a lot of these wise lessons the very hard way. I'm still learning them. It's so true that reacting to injustices only makes it worse on yourself, because people often do not care, and will only lash out at you when you get angry for being mistreated, rather than feeling remorse for the pain they have caused. This is not always the case, because some people do care, but often it does just make things worse for yourself. A couple of things I've learned recently is the more I associate with others who have a strong restraint on their tongues, the more strength I have to restrain my own as well. Also, the less I react to those who are argumentative, the less they will argue with me. I really have to fight the knee-jerk reaction within myself to "let them have it" when they've crossed the line. But, I find when I am able to contain myself, I feel a lot better in the long run.
Thank you so much for your wisdom and advice. I will try very hard to follow it. Blessings.”

Kelley Lee Folsom

LadyLydia said...

I certainly forgot to mention cellphone
Rudeness, with people letting the phones take priority over current conversations.

LadyLydia said...

I think that is why Proverbs says go not with an angry man lest you learn his ways.

LadyLydia said...

Firstly, several of the paintings on this post are most inspiring...the ladies, relaxed, over a tea table or with food....look at their expressions...such composure, gentleness...it makes me long for that time. They made time for serenity, peacefulness, companionship...and they had the time because they were AT HOME.

This was an important topic which you covered....we all need reminding to speak gently....and it was helpful too to know we indeed have no reason to NOT disassociate ourselves from offensive people. We are not being rude in doing so....we are removing ourselves from the bad apple in the cart...and moving to another .

Lynn M

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale

"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is three-fold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within." Joseph Stalin

Lynn

anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

I agree with Barbara and Susanne. Also experienced much of what you posted.

I've been embarrassed for women bringing their children in to use the public facilities, when a round of filthy language comes rolling out of another stall. A mother with several young children had to endure hearing this. I noticed the mother hurried the children and we all left quickly.
I'm a firm believer in "what goes around, comes around". Sometime in the future this person will get a good dose of what they sent.

A rudeness I have recently endured was taking an older family member somewhere in public. While at the store I ran into a new friend with a Native American name. To to be polite I introduced the two.
To my horror, the one I'd brought tried to be humorous and made rude comment to the other about her name. I should have known better then to take this first party anywhere because things like this have happened before. I believe I need to be unavailable to take this person anywhere from now on.

Mrs. J.

anonymous said...

I'm sorry,I forgot to mention in my comment that the conversation coming from the public facility was coming from a cell phone conversation and was overheard by everyone using the facility at the time.

Mrs. J.

Miss Betsy said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

You brought up an excellent point about the effect of the media on conversation. I see television programs where women are arguing and shouting with each other, and it has occurred to me that many women today think this is not only appropriate behavior but also admirable. It has made myself and other people so uncomfortable at a social gathering when one or two women loudly and aggressively try to foist their controversial points of view on the rest of us, acting as if people who may not share their opinions are at worst, hateful and at best, woefully ignorant. It is really a challenge to try to change the subject!
Another tendency I've noticed, perhaps encouraged by the prevalence of "doctor" programs, is that many people will describe their, their family members', and even their pets' health problems in such intimate and nauseating details that I feel like I am going to become ill. Yes, the media unfortunately has not been a good influence on our conversation.
Lady Lydia, thank you so much for your blog, today and everyday. The subject of "Courteous Conversation" is much needed. You wrote a wonderful article.

LadyLydia said...

The medical appointments become the social lives of people and that is all they have to talk about. We have to guard our dinner times and bible classes against this unsavory talk, from ladies especially. We call them organ recitals, where they describe what is wrong with all their body organs Nd vital functions.

Sharon said...

Well I don't know what to say. Somehow, I don't think it's right to turn our backs on rude people. I know how that hurts. People have turned backs to me, and I don't know why. Why not show kindness toward them as well? I've seen brothers and sisters shun others because they don't have acceptable table manners or social skills. Doesn't this cause pain rather than admonition? And, how is it possible to shut out rude women from ladies' Bible study? I'm not sure these are the answers.

I agree with Barbara's statement, "compassion needs to be in the mix". I'm learning all the time about what it means to be "gracious". I HAD to take a call to a cell phone while talking to one of the most gracious people I know, apologizing. When that vital information was over, I went back to her, apologized again, and asked her to restate what she was saying. It was very embarrassing, and I felt so rude. She was as gracious as could be in every way.

The movies of times in the Edwardian and Victorian periods of refined people help teach kindness and graciousness to even the rudest of people, don't you think?

LadyLydia said...

This is not about table manners or social skills. It is about not allowing rudeness to corrupt your family or disturb the peace. It is about being careful not to meddle with people who want to quarrel and also about preventing bossy, agressive women from dominating a Bible class. By guiding them away from troubling the church, we are showing compassion. I have had over 40 years experience showing compassion to people, and this post was about my experience with those who are dangerously rude. It is not wise to meddle with angry people who may cause more disturbance in your life. Being compassionate does not require that they be in full fellowship with your family if they create disturbances. Even young parents have the good sense to remove a screaming child from the dinner table until he can go back and be peaceful. Being civilized has nothing to do with using the right fork, or making meaningless polite remarks. It has more to do with having the sence and the decency to not harm others and not ruin their lunch or destroy a visit or disrupt a class. I hope in no way this post expressed anything other than that.

4:28 PM

LadyLydia said...

Thanks so much for this inspiring post that I intend to re-read again at leisure. It is so pertinent to me at the moment with raising our little children (the comment on hearing our children's questions and not responding appropriately!). It was also timely with dealing with awkward situations with argumentative people. Thanks so much for your suggestions. I'll be better armed to face future possible encounters with a polite response so the flames are not fanned.
I am always encouraged by your posts and have been reading on and off since 2006.
Caroline – Outback Australia

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lady Lydia, This subject matter of being courteous and dealing with rude people was much needed. I am sick and tired of trying to be nice to people who have a spirit of bitterness. You can hear the gall in their cell phone conversations, they're rude and very unkind responses to their children. I am sure I would be shocked at how they must be speaking to their Husbands.
I can not tolerate almost all television programs, but I will watch a good sweet movie that honors or shows or teaches respect.
Our words are killing the next generation. Because so many of them cause death and separation.
We have many who we can no longer even take a Man at his word.
And so many have a habit of gossip and will start out saying; I really love (so and so) BUT...
Okay, I will just say thanks for opening the platform so we can bring our conversations to HIS table. Because He is listening!
Blessing Always, Roxy

LadyLydia said...

We probably assume that people in. The Victorian/Edwardian times were so sensitive and polite that they were afraid to put a stop to bullies or loud mouths or people who ruined other people's parties, but this is not true. Brutes were not invited back, unless they were willing to conform to the standards of courtesy. And there was a time in our own era where people in churches wanted to change their lives and rise above crudeness and rudeness and be pleasant to people. Sometimes an elder or a teacher is willing to teach these people to be more considerate and loving, but if they indicate they do not want to learn and are intent on trampling on other people's sensibilities, there is nothing anyone can do but withdraw from their association. You cannot force people to change but you are never forced to be around them if they are a bad influence. I am not talking about an unfortunate mistake or an unintentional rude remark, or something done unawares, but am speaking of the bully, the bitter and the brazen who wants to walk all over people. People used to want to conform to whatever would make them acceptable to well mannered people, and why did they want that? Because it he more people they offended, the lonelier it got. Now, the most outrageous and savage behavior is accepted in the name of love and so rudeness is not corrected and kindness is not taught. I don't think it is kind to let people bother other people, and I believe that this article explains that it is better to get away from angry people than to allow them to have blow ups in your home in front of your children. Some people will come closer to understanding this as they gain more experience in life. Customers who are asked not to return, and this happens in business. There was a man who started a brawl in the campground i stayed in, and he was kicked out and not allowed back for a period of time. Even business people know that such boorish behavior is bad for their other customers.

LadyLydia said...

In general i find news media and talk shows have the most elevated stress, loudness and rudeness.

LadyLydia said...

Good suggestion about the book on conversations.

LadyLydia said...

Thank you for your comments. To the two ladies who mentioned kindness in the mix, I think I addressed thatS when I said that if you offend someone you could be driving away a future Christian convert, and that once offended, it is sometimes impossible for them to be retrieved, and so caution is necessary when dealing with people. Rather than complaining or telling them off, let the offenses flow over you like water over a ducks back. In avoiding trouble, we are being kind and preventing volatile people from being fueled with excuses to behave boorish lay. As for ladies Bible class, it might be that I did not express the situation clearly enough. No one gets kicked out, and everyone's soul is precious so we don't want them to be lost. Sometimes an outsider comes in to the class and disrupts it or takes over or dominates. It might be impossible to relate to a situation like that unless you have had It happen in your class. It still must be dealt with cautiously, but eventually if the situation deteriorates and you begin losing the clAss, the trouble maker will have to be spoken to. Sadly I have rarely seen the dominating person settle down and try to get along with the others. If she cannot rile everyone And get aS following , she will leave and say the clAss was not friendly, which just means they did not coopErate with her leading the sheep out of the pasture.

Yvette said...

Hi Lady Lydia,
I very much enjoyed this post and am going to sit down later and read over it again. Do you have any advice when a rude person could be an extended family member?
Thank you for addressing the subject of transparency/ rudeness. There is so much pressure put on Christian women from other Christian women to "just be real!" In a past post you taught on this referring to being discreet as taught in Scripture. How freeing to know that we,as Christian women are not required to share every detail about marriage/family. There is protection in that for our homes.
Thank you again for taking the time to share this! I always look forward to them. :)
~Yvette

LadyLydia said...

Yvette, since you probably know the nature of the extended family member better than anyone, it would be hard to find a hard and fast rule for dealing with him/her. For example you would know what they respond to, and sometimes advice you get will backfire. Some people like to be talked to and some people do not respond well to confrontation. Others do well if you keep your distance. Sometimes though, it takes years to reduce the amount of contact you have, and if you have children, it cannot be a good influence e.

Yvette said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate it. It's so true what you said about the influence on children.
Please keep up the great work! God bless!

Lollyg said...

A wonderful post - especially the words about parents tolerating rude behavior from their children -so true!

I try to follow the teaching of my dear, late mother, who said that the more rude someone is to you, the more kindly and softly we should respond. It does not always work to turn their behavior around, but sometimes, it does, and it is a good feeling!
Blessings,
LG

Miriam said...

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

BUT if you are dealing with a person with certain mental issues, it's just gets worse if you are soft and gentle.

I think, in a general level, gently avoiding people who you know to be rude and just shake your inner peace or the atmosphere in your home, is a good 'middle-road' way of aproaching this issue.

How you speak to others indicates how much you value them. This is true in every relationship, domestic or business. As a mother or spouse, you may be sometimes too tired to speak soft and gently, but it should be an exception, not the daily way to communicate.

LadyLydia said...

Miriam, very interesting and well put.

Southern Girl said...

You mention family members but what about a parent? My (divorced) dad is the most negative, racist, sexist know-it-all person that you will ever meet. He is such a downer and very unpleasant to be around. He has alienated any friends he ever had and he will not stop talking during holiday gatherings. It is very embarrassing and I will locate the table he will be sitting at and make sure me & my family are sitting as far away as possible. It is very sad. I am always pleasant to him. I have given up trying to have a conversation with him (I don’t agree or disagree w/ his nonsense. I just respond w/ “hmmm”). As he gets older, I will make sure he has food, shelter, hygiene care and medical needs (I promised my grandmother on her death bed) but I’m not looking forward to it.

LadyLydia said...

Concerning rude family members, the relatives have to discern the best way to deal with their disturbances. Some people will respond to a quiet talk, but others are fueled into more anger and need distance. Those who think it just takes more gentleness might have to try it and see what happens. It all depends on how much you can take, and being aware that stress can rob you of your feminine nature and rob you of your ability to deal calmly with your own family

Ellie Rae said...

This article makes me want to be doubly sure that I myself am not rude to people. Thanks for the lesson, Lydia.

Michele said...

Very timely posting. I've been dealing with this at work this week (I'm a single woman). Things are not going well with what I am doing for a customer. A vendor is having repeated failings on this customer's orders. I am going above and beyond to assist the customer, but it doesn't not help when the customer calls and as soon as I pick up the phone, she begins to scream. I can hold the phone away from my ear and nearby coworkers can hear her. Interestingly, a male higher up is always able to calm her down, but multiple women cannot.

Someone posted about being part of a Bible study where a newcomer took over. That happened at my current church a few years ago. Things were so unpleasant that I simply stopped attending, and I told the leader why when she asked. The person soon stopped coming and so I returned to the study group.

LadyLydia said...

These observations are quite interesting. Women involved in these public conflicts are screaming more. Do they not hear themselves? I was at the DMV And the female employees were raising their voices at the people coming to pay their fees and renew licenses. The men were normal. How do they work with domineering screamers all day long?

The domineering women who take over the Bible classes do not stay long after their conquest has been made. They do not seem to have the steadfastness and stability to see a project through and stay with it for years and years. They seem to get bored after they upset the class, and move on to another group of people.

marisha said...

After working in customer service for over a decade, I have a pretty thick skin. I could count on one hand the amount of times I've been forced to hang up on a customer (after saying three times, "Ma'am/Sir, if you continue to scream and curse at me, I won't be able to assist you and I'll have no choice but to hang up.")
Customers need to understand that the person they are complaining to usually is the person who makes the least amount of money and has the least amount of authority to get the customer what they request. I've called vendors, gently reminding them that they promised that the merchandise would be in by the end of the month, and if it wasn't going to be in by the end of the month- shouldn't they have informed me (since I've called them a dozen times before)? I've called workrooms, asking to speak to managers, requesting an answer for why they have fabricated merchandise incorrectly for the fifth time (true story), only to be told that the merchandise is correct; it's the customer that's wrong. Right, because that's something I can tell a customer.
I've moved heaven and earth for customers, only to have them call the 1-800 number for customer service and accuse me of refusing to help them, because I didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. I've been screamed at, cursed at, and physically threatened. I used to write that "customer was being abusive" when advising a manager of a customer service complaint; now I write exactly what they said to me, curses and all, so that the higher ups know EXACTLY what I'm dealing with.
If you would like good customer service, be a good customer. Please. I assure you that I do not want a confrontation with a customer. I want you to be happy with your merchandise, and I want you to come back to our store.

LadyLydia said...

Customers have to be informed that although they can get service, they have no right to abuse the employees. They might change their atttitudesnifntheybwerenmade aware that they were being filmed or recorded.

unprocessedgal said...

Firstly, amen and amen. I had suffered tremendously from my late MIL and sisters-in-law. The latter are still living, but our relationship with them is quite non-existent. Also, a lesson learned just moments ago: a frugal blogger, with a scripture on her sidebar...though I don't believe she's a christian (rather believe she is trying to gain blog traffic)..this is due to months-long observation...just cussed me out bigtime after I offered my prayers for her previously stated blog post on being quite ill. As stated, I read her blog for quite awhile. Good tips. Because she'd stated the nature of her ills, but I knew some of the aggravated issue was from her 'cheaper' consumptions, I offered her to think about possibly limiting or cutting out those from her diet. If I'd emailed her (she doesn't list that option), I've no doubt I would have had the same vicious reply. Wow. Wow. Wow. I am so sad. Never saw the hidden fangs.

I live in a borough of NYC and sadly, am still in saddened shock over the non-existent manners/kindness of 90% of the populace I live among.

This post was a salve and gentle welcome to my heart. Thank you.

LadyLydia said...

The Internet, and blogs are such a great resource
Of friendship and ideas. It helps people who can't get out much and keeps them from being isolated. It is still a shock when someone takes some communication in the wrong way and destroys a friendship or a future customer or someone who is trying to serve them in some way.

Susan said...

You have written about issues that desperately need to be addressed in society today. I am currently living in a situation where I am forced to deal with rude neighbors and business people on a daily basis. It seems that their biggest concern is the financial bottom line. I am learning to walk away and say a silent prayer for all involved. This is hard to do when their behavior is affecting the happiness and tranquility of home. I did a review on Tripadvisor just last week and many people have reviewed it. I am glad to be of help to others. A book series call "Tales from Grace Chapel Inn" published by Guideposts addresses some of these issues in an interesting manner. The series is about Christian women running a bed and breakfast and how they deal with their customers, neighbors, relatives, and friends in a Biblical manner. I am learning a lot from them and would highly recommend it. Most libraries should have them. They are short books and very pleasant to read. I intend to read through this blog many times. A lot of helpful thoughts here.

LadyLydia said...

Thank you for the book recommendation. I will certainly read it. Bed and breakfast owners and garage sale, yard sale hosts need to make sure that visitors know they are on someone else's property and enjoying someone else's house even if they are paying. It does not mean the guests own the place

L Fout said...

Excellent article. Our small church was destroyed by this kind of behavior.

Mrs. U said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
"Sometimes we think we can work with such adults and we imagine that our own gentle ways will rub off on them, and that they will change their manners and become more like us. I have found that this is more often not the case."

I completely agree with you. Sadly, I am around such a person on a regular basis and there's no way around it. I've found myself picking up many of their "I have my rights!!!!" ways of thinking and acting and I do NOT like that at all!!! I used to be such a positive person, but the more I have to be around this person, the more negative I become. Sigh.

His,
Shari

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