The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Considering rudeness

I’d say most human beings are thinkers. Maybe not everyone thinks deeply, but they probably do question or analyze the experiences they have on this planet.

There are so many thoughts that run through our heads that we never verbalize. I have a particular interest in human interaction that I think about a lot but rarely speak up about.

One particular aspect of human interaction that has been on my mind lately is rudeness. That is the topic of my article today.

A wise man might say that there is never a good reason to be rude because it solves nothing. He’d probably be right.

Despite this fact, people are rude. Not everyone and not all the time. But unfortunately, it happens.

So what does someone do when they have been treated rudely? Do they quickly forget about it and move on? Do they speak up and call the other person out?

There’s no easy answer as to how to act when someone’s rude. We all have a buffer zone of acceptability. Certain levels of rudeness incite certain actions or inactions.

For kicks, I have made a model of rudeness that seems to be my natural way of categorizing how rude someone can be. Not to worry, it’s not an obsession. I just think entirely too much. I hope you find it interesting.

Level One – Mild Irritation: This is when someone says or does something that is inappropriate but immediately forgivable. These moments commonly consist of evaluative statements/questions about personal appearance. Thoughts that run through the receiver’s head might include, “This person just doesn’t know that’s rude,” or, “Okay, this person is just weird.”

Example: “You look like you just rolled out of bed this morning.”

Level Two – Hurt Feelings: This usually occurs when someone is behaving outside the lines of obvious acceptable behavior. Usually, it comes from a derogatory statement about someone’s identity or life choices. On this level, the perpetrator is almost definitely aware that he has been rude. The victim may roll her eyes or attempt to end the conversation quickly without calling the perpetrator out on his actions.

Example: “You and your boyfriend aren’t exactly made for each other.”

Level Three – Fight or Flight: These statements are either attacks or completely uncalled for. They are meant to be hateful, hurtful, or degrading. Nothing productive comes from these statements. The victim may choose to stay and figure out what just happened (fight) or immediately walk away (flight).

Example: “What do you know about dating? You’re fat.” or, “I didn’t invite you to go out to eat because I know you’re poor.”

A particularly smart person might calmly let the perpetrator know that her statement was rude. Many people, however, may retaliate with an attack or leave hot headed. This level transcends the realm of rudeness and becomes the beginning of a fight or even the creation of an enemy.

Sadly, some of these conversations are unavoidable. The best thing to do is to act and not react. Anger is an emotion that harms the person feeling it more than anyone else.

Although feeling is a wonderful gift, in these situations you might want to use your head more than your heart. My experiences have taught me one thing: The longer your fuse (or tolerance for rudeness), the better off you’ll be. Avoid the rude people in your life and choose to be happy no matter what.

Here are some famous quotes about anger that we could all learn from:

“A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.”

– Winston Churchill

“When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear.”

– Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Speak when you are angry — and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

– Dr. Laurence Peter

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

– Buddha

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

– Confucius

Brent Paxton is a junior political science and international relations double major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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