Friday, September 23, 2011

A PhD in the Study of Rudeness

I am overly interested in/appalled by/obsessed with the rudeness of people. I honestly wish that advanced degrees were offered in the study of rudeness because I believe it is my true calling in life. Let it go! normal people say to me. That's just his/her personality. HOGWASH, I say. Let it go? And waste a lifetime of collecting, filing, and cataloging the rudeness of people? All those agonizing hours just flushed down the toilet? I don't think so. No, I would much rather file that rude remark in the enlarged portion of my brain designated as "The Rudeness Center" to be recalled at a future, beneficial date. And can I just say that I am so tired of hearing the "that's just the way she is" excuse all the time? If we all just went around acting like ourselves, following our primal instincts, then almost everyone would be rude! If rude is "just the way you are" then you need to change the way you are. No more excuses!

But anyway. I'm really into the rudeness of other people. You can imagine that this--character flaw, super-human sensitivity, or 6th sense, whatever you'd like to call it--makes it hard to be married to me. Especially for a person like my husband, who is so good at letting things go and forgetting the past. I mean, the man hardly remembers my birthday (but, that is filed away for a future, beneficial date). I hear myself saying "but don't you think that was so rude?" to him all the time--particularly after church. My husband really is a saint for just saying "YES! Can you believe it?" to me when I am on a rudeness rampage.

I know we aren't supposed to be easily offended. But I feel that most of my interest in rudeness stems from genuine, detached fascination, rather than personal offense (unless the rudeness was directed right at me from a person who ought to know better--I'm looking at you, family). I just wonder, how can people be like this? Why do they think it's okay? I ask a lot of deep, probing rudeness-related questions, which is why I am such an expert.

Did you know that clicking over to call waiting while you are talking to someone, unless it is a serious emergency, is rude? Well, it is.

Did you know that making someone feel bad because they were half an hour late to a preschool parents meeting is rude? It is!

(This is just off the top of my head!)

Asking someone if they fed the dog or gave the chickens water in a certain tone: rude.

Dumping on somebody by name on your blog: also rude.

Inundating people with forwarded emails: rude.

Using a negative-sounding term to describe someone's Christmas present (i.e. "Oh, you got a big green pot"): rude.

Ah me. I could go on. But you've probably seen my other blog posts, and the rudeness of others is a running theme.

P.S. In case you are ready to tell me that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, I ought to let you know that a comment like that is so rude.


  1. I really, really don't care if people answer call-waiting if I'm talking to them. Unless I'm right in the middle of a really good story.

    We all know how husbands, especially, have a fit if you don't dump any call you're on to take their call.

  2. Soooo true. Agree to all of the above! (Glad I am not the only one who thinks so!)

  3. My father, who also has a PhD in rudeness studies and has some done some post-doctoral research in advanced customer service studies, and I were just talking about this very topic. It's like no one teaches manners, no one has them, and no one cares. It bothers me so much.

    Today, in a moment of weakness, I allowed some rude kids push their way into my house, eat my food, and mess up my house in the name of "playing with my kids" and after a while, when I told them to go home they said, "No. We don't want to. . ." And I said, "Well, we're leaving the house." And they said (caution: rudeness ahead) "but my mom might not be home yet. . ." and I said, "Well then you'd better call her!" So then, after stalling and pleading and making me late for my appointment, they left and I yelled at them, "THANK YOU!!!!" and one ignored me and the other rode on her bike and said "you're welcome." They didn't get it.

    I feel better now that I got that out.

  4. Oh my gosh, Lisa. That is horrifying. I can't stand it I can't stand it.

  5. As a high school and middle school teacher, just let me say that many parents are not teaching manners. They don't treat their kids with any respect, and that's what they get back. It's business as usual at their houses.
    I'm no saint on not being rude, but I am constantly teaching basic manners during the school day.

  6. How do I get my rude comments deleted from inside your head? I can't really say I am sorry when I don't remember what I did that might have been rude. That's right, right? Wait I do remember. I'm sorry I said something about the paper that you were grading. There I feel so much better. You can delete that one now.

  7. (new reader...clicked over from kacy's blog...big fan) if you end up teaching at the college level, can i be your TA? because i could totally rock some study sessions on this. recent example: when you're at a pulpit in a provo UTAH...saying, "you don't know trials until you leave utah. i mean, there may be some families in utah who have had some big problems, but trials are so much worse outside of utah," is RUDE (and lots of other bad things). lisa's right...this feels good to talk about. :)