The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Rudeness Doesn’t Have to Be Contagious

On August 17th, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

grumpy faceA guy named Trevor, a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida, is the lead author and researcher of a paper that has determined that rudeness in the workplace is like a sneeze in an elevator — it spreads quickly and makes everyone uncomfortable. And once it gets rolling, stopping the contagion of rudeness may be hard to do. The shelf life of a nasty attitude can be long and damaging.

Whatever your proclivity for rudeness may be — eye-rolling, unkind words, or maybe a visual display of one’s most prominent finger — they all end up doing the same thing. Rudeness in any flavor hurts performance and feelings, and it generally pulls the entire corporate culture to a new low. Work is tough enough without the attitude.

The short answer is to cut it out. Whoever might be inclined to start the ball rolling needs to check the attitude at the door and leave their incivility at home. Sadly, rudeness is like a yawn that, when witnessed by others, makes them yawn in turn. Research shows that rudeness is generally answered with more rudeness by unsuspecting people, who then pass it on to the next innocent bystander. People, for God’s sake, practice some restraint.

I find it extremely interesting that people feel it necessary to reciprocate rudeness. This Old Testament mentality of “an eye for an eye” is beyond old school, yet it has made a resurgence in society. As a result, we have a society where decorum takes a back seat to getting even. The result is a rainstorm of rudeness that serves no purpose other than proving that “misery loves company.” What a waste.

You know what? Your rudeness is not going to get on me. I subscribe to the applied psychology of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Why would anyone let someone ruin their day? All of what’s right in one’s life — good health, free-flowing blessings too numerous to count, air conditioning on a hot summer day, and a loving family — are all going to be turned inside out because a fellow worker is cutting an attitude? I think not.

Another person’s rudeness is your waste of time. Perpetuating it allows the rude person to dominate and control the mood of countless people who play “ring around the rosies” with negativity the rest of the day.

People are such sheep. Practice fending off rudeness with happiness. Every time rudeness invades your space, sluff it off and focus consciously on being happy. The next person you encounter will appreciate it very much, and so on and so forth, across the miles and mountains, and around the clock. Don’t worry — be happy. Go ahead, sing it.

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