General Etiquette > Life...in general

Why do we do it?

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SamiHami:
Not a question about a specific incident, but more of a general question. Why do we go to such great lengths to spare the feelings of those who are rude to us? I just read the shoe shopping thread and then another one about a nosy stranger telling the OP to hurry up and have kids...

In both of those instances the OPs were, IMHO, faultlessly polite. On the other hand, I don't think the perpetrators got that they were horrifically rude. Maybe I'm just getting old and impatient, but would it really have been so rude to say, "Ma'am, I don't know you and I am not interested in your opinion regarding my footwear/reproductive choices, etc." Maybe they weren't meaning to be rude, but they really were very rude. I can understand someone asking once, more as a conversation starter than a probing interrogation, "So, when do you think you'll have kids?" and easily accepting a non-commital answer. But if someone continues to relentlessly probe, etc. I think it's perfectly justifiable to say, "That is a very personal subject and I am not going to discuss that with you."

Is a little bluntness really so terribly rude? I guess it is, and as I said maybe I'm just turning into an old grump, but as a childfree by choice person, I endured my share of awful, nosy questions from people, along with their "knowing" assertions that I'd change my mind (I didn't) or that I'd regret it forever (so far I don't).

TurtleDove:
If it someone I know I will continue to have to encounter, I may take the time to educate them, but otherwise I tend to think it only detracts from my happiness and has no effect on the rude person to try to show them the error of their ways.  For me it isn't so much that I want to be "polite" to someone who has been rude to me, more that I prefer to keep my mind drama free and waste no time of people who are not value adds to my life.  Especially when anything I say is not likely to have any impact.

LeveeWoman:

--- Quote from: SamiHami on September 19, 2013, 01:49:57 PM ---Not a question about a specific incident, but more of a general question. Why do we go to such great lengths to spare the feelings of those who are rude to us? I just read the shoe shopping thread and then another one about a nosy stranger telling the OP to hurry up and have kids...

In both of those instances the OPs were, IMHO, faultlessly polite. On the other hand, I don't think the perpetrators got that they were horrifically rude. Maybe I'm just getting old and impatient, but would it really have been so rude to say, "Ma'am, I don't know you and I am not interested in your opinion regarding my footwear/reproductive choices, etc." Maybe they weren't meaning to be rude, but they really were very rude. I can understand someone asking once, more as a conversation starter than a probing interrogation, "So, when do you think you'll have kids?" and easily accepting a non-commital answer. But if someone continues to relentlessly probe, etc. I think it's perfectly justifiable to say, "That is a very personal subject and I am not going to discuss that with you."

Is a little bluntness really so terribly rude? I guess it is, and as I said maybe I'm just turning into an old grump, but as a childfree by choice person, I endured my share of awful, nosy questions from people, along with their "knowing" assertions that I'd change my mind (I didn't) or that I'd regret it forever (so far I don't).

--- End quote ---

Bluntness is not rude as long as it is not used to retaliate against a rude person. In the shoe store, it would've been fine to say, "I'm sorry but, this is none of your concern. Please, stay away from me."

veronaz:

--- Quote ---and as I said maybe I'm just turning into an old grump,
--- End quote ---

Well, as I’ve gotten older I’ve turned into more of a curmudgeon.  But let’s not be so quick to just blame age or our own personalities.

Some questions are just plain rude, or on general principles, don’t deserve much of an answer if any.

I think in general, we (because of upbringing or what we’ve been told) want to be nice, we want to give others the benefit of the doubt, we want to feel good about not coming back at the person with an answer they deserve or ignoring them completely.  We don't want an uncomfortable situation to spoil our day/evening. Then later we think about it and get mad at ourselves, wishing we had not been so nice to someone who didn’t deserve it.

I find that a silent stare then walking away or a brief, confused frown then “Excuse me?  That’s a strange question” often works with rude comments or nosey inquiries.

weeblewobble:
In my situation ("I judge you and your footwear, you tall person!"), the impression I got from her was not, "I'm just trying to be helpful and it hurts my feelings that you're not listening."  It felt like the woman was trying to "shame me" back into a socially acceptable mode of femininity. I am tall and have a curvy figure. I am not petite and delicate, and because of that, this woman implied that I should try to minimize myself and hide, avoid calling attention to my "condition" because what I am/how I'm built is beneath notice.

She was shoe-shaming me.

She was rude because she was offended by my "audacity" and thought it was up to her to put me in my place. 

Don't get me wrong, she hurt my feelings.  Somewhere in the back of my head, I was asking myself, wow, do I really look so bad that a stranger felt compelled to tell me my height was unattractive? It's one thing for an aunt or uncle to tell you that you're wearing the wrong outfit/shoes, but a complete stranger?  That's pretty bad. At the same time, most of my thoughts centered around, "Who the HECK do you think you are?  I am an Amazon!" 

I was polite as a defense mechanism, because if I responded in the way my instincts demanded, I would have made a scene and embarrassed myself.

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