Dealing with Rude People

This entry is part 7 of 15 in the series: Mind Your Manners with Nathalie Findlay

If you wonder what makes me an expert on dealing with rude people, I just want to point out that I am writing from a room with a magnificent view of the Eiffel tower.  If that little nugget of subtlety is lost on you, then je ne sais quoi.

That being said, there are discourteous people everywhere in the world, so please don’t think I have an exclusive on that.  The ways to deal with them, however, are pretty much standard.

There is a special place in hell for queue jumpers, door droppers and bus seat hogs.  Until they get there, it seems there is also a special place for them on Twitter. (viz Leprechaun man in Toronto)

If you haven’t got digital media on your side, and I really cannot advocate online revenge anyway, then I’m afraid you simply must choose to pick your battles when it comes to dealing with unpleasant people.

The important thing you must recall is that there is virtually no action on your part that will change the behavior of someone who has offended you, and what might result from trying to settle the score will likely require stitches.  The best thing to do is lead by example or shave your head and start a peaceful revolution, in India, for instance.

How can I lead by example, you ask?  Thank you for asking!  You can lead by minding your manners.

4 Rude Personality Types and How to Deal with Them

Seat hoarders: When you are travelling with a young boy, please make a point of educating him on giving up his seat to a lady, pregnant or not.  Do this loudly enough so that people around you can hear.  You don’t have to be occupying a seat for this to take place.  Watch as the young men within earshot trip over themselves to give up their seat for you, as a perfect illustration of the lesson you just gave.  If they don’t, then at least now they know they were meant to (always give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cultural differences).  If no young boy is available, please speak loudly at a broomstick.  You’ll probably still get a seat, but only because no one wants you near them.

The loud-speaker.  Friday night, date night.  Woohoo!  And just as you lean into your partner’s gaze whispering sweet somethings over the Chianti, the front doors fly open to reveal a gaggle of ruffians whose sole purpose in life is to ruin your evening with impossibly loud chatter.  There seems to be some weird wiring in our brains that leads us to think that our muffled ‘tsk’ and widening eyes will (by telekinesis?) compel people to do our bidding.  When that fails, remember that the civilised way to deal with unruly behavior in a public place is to address your server or the manager.  Never try to ask another patron to quiet down, it’ll only end in tears as they intentionally raise the volume, just because they can.  [Personal message: This is meant for YOU, loud cruise-ship passenger on stopover. You who ruined my lunch on Santorini! You and your dozen or so loud friends!]

The road hog: I know you think that giving the finger to the person who just cut you off will make you quits, but take a moment to consider the sort of individual who would deliberately cut you off to begin with.  Not a nice person, and you know your mother would agree.  So wind down your phalanges and make an extra effort to let someone in at the next intersection.  Then you’ll be quits.  (ref the Karma Book of Road Rage, which if it does not exist, should).  Then safely go home and watch a few YouTube clips about ‘Road Rage Karma’ and feel better.

The clerk:  If you have ever had to deal with yards of red tape, then you’ll invariably have crossed paths with a really sour lemon of a clerk who is both incredibly unsympathetic and unhelpful.  Pent on ruining your administrative mission, one which you probably would prefer not doing to begin with, the despicable little person will make a point of withholding essential information until your paths cross again in five weeks, when you have jumped through the proverbial hoops to provide him with a totally unnecessary document he will deliberately lose anyway.  If he could get away with asking for a handwritten reference by HM the Queen he would do so.

Where was I?

Ah yes.  The best way to deal with this person is to kill him.

With kindness.

It’s like light to a vampire or salt to a slug.  Imagine the wicked witch melt under your sweet drivel while you smugly walk over his remains.  I know it isn’t easy.  But it’s the only way.  Threatening to speak to his manager is futile, that only feeds the monster.  Actually speaking to his manager will result in two lemons putting spanners in your cogs.  I’m afraid you need to find the one source of common ground between you and the creep at the other end of the line and go with it.  There is a fair chance he’s into cosplay in his free time so you could always reach out by saying ‘Comicon’ beneath your breath and if his pointy ears take the bait then you have your “in.”

LESSON: There are so many cases we could go through of people treating other people unkindly that listing them will simply overwhelm you. Bear in mind that if you keep your composure and grace, then you’re sure that at least half will be well.

 

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Nathalie Findlay

After completing a degree in Fine Arts and another in Interior Architecture, Nathalie began modelling in New York, Hamburg, Munich and Paris where she eventually decided to base herself. Always on the lookout for opportunities to grow, she combined her modelling career with other areas of interest, working for the Canadian Embassy, Christian Liaigre, A Small World and Sotheby's. She has also enjoyed appearing regularly as a presenter and speaker for television and media events and as a pit-lane reporter on Eurosport. Exposed both personally and professionally to the intricacies of etiquette and protocol, Nathalie now focuses on applying her extensive knowledge-base practically, addressing matters of refinement, image and manners for individual and corporate clients with Lifestyling, a consultancy she created in 2007. Nathalie lives in the French countryside with her husband, their baby and two Korthals.

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