Being nice to rude people

During our routine post-lunch chit-chat, my friend made a gem of a statement – “It is easy being nice to nice people, but how can you be nice to rude people?”

I had been thinking about it for some days now and I was shocked when she made that statement. It was as if she was reading my mind. Many people would term it as a co-incidence, but I believe that incidents happen for a reason. This was no co-incidence. This was His way of sending a message across. But, I digress.

So, as soon as she said it, the words struck me. Few of my acquaintances are extremely sweet to me- always ready to help in any way they can, and I too reciprocate. I try to be nice to them as much as I can and all is well.

For the past few days, I am trying to be nice to people, and no where near being successful. I try to think before uttering a word so as not to offend anyone. But, whenever I encounter rude people, caution goes flying out of the window. Their act might be intentional or unintentional, but the point is they are rude. I find myself reciprocating in this case too. I use harsh words, sarcastic tone and I get a warm, fuzzy feeling for settling scores with them.

I know a few people who are nice to everybody. Even if someone is rude to them, they smile and act as if nothing happened – not a glimpse of anger, no teeth-grinding. I wonder how they can be nice to people who are mean to them?

Harsh words don’t upset them? Or they do get upset, but are capable of hiding it so well? Do they smile and bear with it only to bitch later and vent their anger? Do they feel superior to the other set and prove their superiority by forgiving? Do they feel sorry for the lesser mortals and hope they rise above the sins? Or is the secret word empathy here?

I will go on asking questions, but will never get a definitive answer. In effect, we come back to the statement we started with: “It is easy being nice to nice people, but how can you be nice to rude people?”

Your thoughts?


7 thoughts on “Being nice to rude people

  1. Anoop John says:

    I think the technically correct way to do that would be to totally not get affected by the behavior of the other person. If you can achieve that state, the way you behave would be totally dependent on your normal behavior – no acting and no complexes. I know it is very easy to preach and very tough to do this.

  2. maelyn says:

    The person with whom I’ve have the most experience as far as responding to rude behavior is my mother-in-law. Usually I just ignore her so that I can avoid any further conversation. In the past, I unfortunately let her walk all over me – she’s good at intimidation and she knows it – but I’m getting a bit better at sticking up for myself. She likes to give rude comments whenever possible – usually they’re just mean and not worth answering (i.e. “Oh, you cut your hair. Now it doesn’t just hang.”) She actually scolded her son when we informed her that we were having our third child. Our kids are evenly spaced by 18 mo., and I guess she thought that we were being too busy…regardless of the fact that she had three kids and they are evenly spaced by 2 years.
    Anyway, she’s not a kind person and ignoring her seems to work best. It’s my best attempt to as John says, not be affected by her behavior.
    As far as dealing with strangers, I try to allow for the possibility that they are simply having a really bad day. Everyone fails at least once in the area of etiquette, right? 🙂

  3. Anaamica says:

    I understand what you are saying maelyn. Atleast your mother-in-law expresses her feelings in front of you. Imagine how you would feel if she acted all nice in front of you and your husband but went on complaining about you to every other person? Won’t you feel deceived? Deception is worse than meanness, isn’t it? 🙂

    As you said, ignoring her is the best bet. If you can do that and not let her affect your life, nothing like it. Sadly, that is easier said than done. Sometimes people cross lines and you can no longer control yourself and you end up feeling bad.

    There is another way, which I sometimes try. Be extremely nice to her. Treat her like you would treat your own mom or any other woman who is good to you. One day, she will realize you are a good human being and she will treat you well. It will take time, but eventually good will win over evil.

  4. Kaushik says:

    Not quite the same, but similar –
    For me, I find it more difficult to be nice to wrong people than rude people. Of course, strangers who are rude used to (and still do, occasionally) piss me off, but having seen 24 years of life, I know better about how a person’s day might have been. Still, I am not able to be nice to wrong people. 😦 Wrong as in…not from my opinion alone, but like “obvious” and “blatant” wrong. Makes me wonder sometimes how much more I need to grow. Makes me also wonder if I am better off being honest now and stop growing to be a quasi-hypocrite. 🙂

  5. jj says:

    What if the person abuses you daily and makes your life miserable no matter what.(a nosy neighbour and her wild friends)?

  6. Jake M says:

    I have this problem all the time. I feel the same way,I am nice to everyone and even if they are rude, or are not a nice person I forgive them and I am nice to them anyway.

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