Rude people abound. Everywhere you turn there seems to be someone hell-bent on ruining yours and everyone else’s day with their attitude, selfishness, and inattentiveness to others’ feelings. In fact, rudeness in the workplace seems like it is getting out of hand. A study at the University in Sweden surveyed 6,000 people about the social climate of their workplaces and found 75% said they’d been subjected to rudeness in the past year alone.
Sometimes we find ourselves responding in kind but all that does is raise our own blood pressure and ruin our day – as well as making us stoop to their level and continue the cycles of viciousness. Surely there are better ways to deal.
Well there are and in ways that can both help your own sense of well-being as well as give the other person something to think about – something positive – and it all boils down to the healing power of forgiveness. So without further ado, let’s dive into ten different ways you can disarm people with kindness – and, in doing so, make the world a better place.
Equanimity – Defined as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation,” equanimity, when employed, can stop things from elevating. It shows inner-strength and self-restraint and is a true testament to courage. Simply count to ten, take some deep breaths, and ask yourself if the situation or words are enough for you to blow up over. Chances are they aren’t.
Empathize – Try understanding why the person being rude to you is doing so. Are they reacting without realizing to internal conflicts or pressure? Was someone else rude to them recently, setting them off? Sometimes, by not engaging in their behavior and instead taking a bigger picture approach, you can break the cycle of rudeness.
Lead By Example – If you’re snappy, brusque, or rude yourself, chances are that will set someone else off. So just be kind. Being nice doesn’t mean you’re being weak.
Shrug It Off – You don’t even have to respond to rudeness. Laugh it off, shrug it off – do whatever you need to do to just move on. It deflates both the situation and your own potential blood-pressure-raising response.
Be Respectful – Even if they’re not showing you any respect, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to. It also stops them from getting angrier; it’s a great way to help defuse a situation.
Ask Them What They Really Want – Oftentimes, people snap without thinking. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe they’re having a bad month. But by not responding in kind and instead responding with kind(ness), you might be able to help open their eyes to their behavior which might be the cause of increased pressure in their daily life.
Love The Bully – We’re all programmed on a genetic level for reciprocity – it’s rare for you to be nasty to someone who’s being nice to you without a reason. But it’s much easier to be nasty to someone if they’re nasty to us. If we maintain that lifestyle though, we’re opening ourselves up to the fact that someone else is always going to be in control of our emotions; it leads to a constant state of reacting to someone else’s actions. By remaining nice to someone disarms them.
Give Before Taking – With this simple act, the rude person finds themself instantly disarmed. They are also now put in a position where they 1) must accept your charitable act and 2) feel compelled to reciprocate in some manner.
Show No Fear – Oftentimes, the best way to disarm a bully is to show them you have no fear of them – and then show them kindness. They’re utterly disarmed because they rarely find that behavior in someone else (and for good reason; most people being bullied are too angry/upset/scared to confront the bully). Don’t accept the game that’s presented; change the rules and disarm them with kindness.
Gift Them – That co-employee at that nearby cubicle is always bitching about something or someone, right? What if they showed up one day to find flowers? Or a box of chocolates? Or lunch? A simple gift can be all someone else needs to find the validation they’re so desperately acting out for.
At the end of the day, kindness is the ultimate weapon and shield if wielded correctly – and isn’t that ironic? Use it well and you can disarm many situations where voices are starting to get raised and tensions can dissipate much quicker.