Rudeness often goes under the radar. Although the researchers observed that bullying and harassment in the workplace are often well documented—acts of rudeness, that often border on bullying, are rarely reported.
The most common catalyst for co-workers acting rudely is imitating the behavior of their colleagues.The study found that people who behave rudely oftentimes experience a type of ‘lowest common denominator’ social support, which makes them less afraid of negative reactions or repercussions for their rude behavior by managers and colleagues. This creates a climate in which rudeness can spiral out of control and contaminate the entire workplace.
Obviously, when someone’s rudeness crosses the line and becomes bullying or harassment, you must be a proactive “whistleblower” and alert others to the details of your hostile work environment. Sometimes being ‘polite’ is not an appropriate response to disrespectful treatment.
When dealing with rude people, always stay even-keel and use common sense. Trust your gut instincts and intellect when deciding whether to let rudeness roll of your back in an attempt to create an upward spiral of more empathy and kindness by “not fighting back.” In some instances, we all need to put our foot down and make it clear, in the spirit of ‘ferocious equanimity,’ that we won’t tolerate rude or insulting behavior anymore.