Hi! I am P.
M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Civility Solution. Today we are talking about what to do when people are rude. And in the next section we are going to talk about rudeness prevention, the first line of defense. How can we prevent rudeness? Quite simply you want to become the kind of person that people are less likely to be rude to in the first place. And how do you do that? Well, by being proactively considerate and kind. Will that work all the time? No, it will not. Will people be inclined to respond in a kind way to your kindness? Yes, in many cases that will be.
So the first line of defense is to do a self assessment and try to find out how you perform in the circles of acquaintance and care to which you belong with friends, with family. Is your presence preferable to your absence in those circles? Are people enjoying you and if not, why not? Do you dismiss the accomplishment of other and continuously showcase yours? Are you sarcastic and critical of others? If you find out that these behaviors prevent you from having a good relationship with others, try to change them. Change and the people that are behaving rudely with you will probably change their behavior as well. Arguing is a recipe for disasters in many cases because when we start to argue at the very beginning we argue about an issue. And then the arguing becomes arguing itself. And we are not interested anymore in finding what is negotiated solution between the two of us, but we are instead focused simply on prevailing. We want to prevail on the other person. Yes, you can prevail in an argument but at a cost. And the cost is that the other person maybe humiliated and your relationship with the other person may suffer. So it is a Pyrrhic victory, it is an ephemeral victory. It is much better not to prevail but negotiate a solution together with the other person, not to have the distinction of having won. But instead cultivating your relationship with the other person and that is the real win. People want to be with people they like. People want to do business with people they like. What makes us likable? Well, good relational skills, good social skills. When we know how to entertain good relationship with others, we are simply liked. That's what we do, that's who we are. Rudeness is not always preventable. Sometimes we can prevent it, sometimes we cannot. And when we can't, we have to decide what we want to do. Shall we let it pass? Shall we confront the other person? Shall we ignore it? Shall we be assertive? Is this a good time to bring the slide to the attention of the person who perpetrated it? So we want to think about it, think about what to do, what the best solution is. And step back, take a big breath and if you indeed decide that you want to bring the issue to the attention of the other person then you do it in the way that I am going to explain in one of the next questions.