Author Topic: Why do we do it?  (Read 6013 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 10:56:14 PM »
I agree that for females, there is an element of social conditioning. Many times, we're raised to "not hurt the other person's feelings", or that girls shouldn't "answer back". (Especially if the other person happens to be male!)

I also suspect that people generally want to avoid confrontations. And giving a polite answer (rather than a rude or even blunt answer) is less likely to result in a confrontation.

And sometimes people are just so rude that it's highly unlikely that calling them out on their rudeness will suddenly make them realise the error of their ways.

Danika

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 02:09:34 AM »
When I'm in the moment, I tend to clam up because sometimes something is so outrageous and rude that I don't believe I just heard what I heard. I have to digest it for a while. I don't want to go off on someone for saying something only to learn later that I mis-heard or misinterpreted something and totally blew it out of proportion. So I underreact because I think "surely, no one would be so mean and obnoxious to say what I think was just said. Surely not. So I need to find another way to frame what I just heard because clearly I misunderstood." By the time I realize that I did hear it correctly, the offender has walked off and I'm just left with my mouth hanging open and kicking myself for not defending myself.

mharbourgirl

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2013, 11:04:07 AM »
I guess it's how I interpret their motive....for example shoe lady was breathtakingly rude and deserved a slapping down.  The OP in that thread was beyond gracious....more than she needed to be.

People asking about kids....it is rude but in a different degree.  Tactless, nosy....but not likely intending to be so.  It's a little tougher because some people don't mind those kinds of questions but others find them intrusive.  Of course that doesn't mean you are obliged to answer personal questions but it would make me much less inclined towards bluntness.

Relentless probing is yet again different because it really is a peeve when people don't take the hint.  In that case I think a little bluntness is OK.  After all if they are that obtuse they should be able to handle a bit of "frank talk".

Look, people asking about someone's reproductive choice is just as rude, to the same degree as any other nosy question.  It's none of the asker's business, no matter how well they've convinced themselves that prurient curiosity is permissible because they 'mean well'.

I'm sorry, but intentions are not magical and do not ever make it okay to push oneself into someone's personal business.  And reproductive choices are right up there in the 'very personal' category with gender and orientation.  I don't care how curious they are or what their motivation is.  Just because a person 'means well' doesn't mean their question isn't rude.  Ask me if I have kids, that's fine.  I will politely say no, and I will change the subject to something completely different.  If they insist on prying into my *reasons* for not having kids, I'm going to bluntly tell them - once - that I don't care to discuss it.  If they won't drop it THEN, I'm walking away before I verbally eviscerate them and I will probably avoid talking to them or even being in their presence from that point forward.

Someone's curiosity does not outweigh or overrule my personal boundaries.  Not now, not ever.

gen xer

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2013, 11:55:41 AM »
I guess it's how I interpret their motive....for example shoe lady was breathtakingly rude and deserved a slapping down.  The OP in that thread was beyond gracious....more than she needed to be.

People asking about kids....it is rude but in a different degree.  Tactless, nosy....but not likely intending to be so.  It's a little tougher because some people don't mind those kinds of questions but others find them intrusive.  Of course that doesn't mean you are obliged to answer personal questions but it would make me much less inclined towards bluntness.

Relentless probing is yet again different because it really is a peeve when people don't take the hint.  In that case I think a little bluntness is OK.  After all if they are that obtuse they should be able to handle a bit of "frank talk".

Look, people asking about someone's reproductive choice is just as rude, to the same degree as any other nosy question.  It's none of the asker's business, no matter how well they've convinced themselves that prurient curiosity is permissible because they 'mean well'.

I'm sorry, but intentions are not magical and do not ever make it okay to push oneself into someone's personal business.  And reproductive choices are right up there in the 'very personal' category with gender and orientation.  I don't care how curious they are or what their motivation is.  Just because a person 'means well' doesn't mean their question isn't rude.  Ask me if I have kids, that's fine.  I will politely say no, and I will change the subject to something completely different.  If they insist on prying into my *reasons* for not having kids, I'm going to bluntly tell them - once - that I don't care to discuss it.  If they won't drop it THEN, I'm walking away before I verbally eviscerate them and I will probably avoid talking to them or even being in their presence from that point forward.

Someone's curiosity does not outweigh or overrule my personal boundaries.  Not now, not ever.

I didn't say it was OK.  It is rude and intrusive.  I acknowledged that....and I would never ask such questions in a million years.  But I'm not going off on someone either.  Intention may not matter to you but it sure makes a difference to me.   Most people can tell when someone's being an obnoxious jerk like the shoe lady or someone who maybe hasn't perfected the art of appropriate conversation.  It makes it even harder when some people loooove to talk about subjects others might consider off-limits.

I think we've all made blunders that we wish we hadn't made - asked the wrong question, hit a nerve,  a well-placed foot in the mouth.  I would like to think I would to try to extend the same grace to others that I hope they would extend to me if unwittingly committed a big faux pas.

SamiHami

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2013, 11:57:36 AM »
Lots of interesting responses, none that I can say I disagree with. I think when I posted I was feeling frustrated and just generally irritable. I think Ehell has trained me to the point where some things seem so obvious to me...of course you don't ask highly personal questions! Of course you don't offer unsolicited advice! Of course you don't force your opinions on others! I tend to forget sometimes that not everyone gets that, and get annoyed when they don't.

Usually I do really try to be patient and polite and hope that I set a good example. For example, a coworker wanted to know something personal about another, and it was something that I did know. And he knew I knew. He wouldn't come out and ask me directly, but hinted around very, very strongly that he wanted me to tell him. I played innocent and treated him as if I just assumed he would never be rude enough to ask me to betray a confidence. In that case it worked and it was fine. But there are many others who would just ask point blank and would refuse to understand why something is just not their business. Those folks tend to drive me up the wall.

I think I need to start meditating again.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 12:07:43 PM by SamiHami »

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GratefulMaria

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2013, 02:25:38 PM »
I've found the older I get (I'm 50), the more philosophical I am about inevitable consequences.  MIL used to set my teeth on edge, and still does, but I stopped trying to correct her.  But it turns out everyone else with whom she's had contact has "gone off on her" (her words) and walked out of her life.  So I suppose I've had the time to see what goes around literally come around.  Less pressure on me.

Another great thing I learned here is to let my behavior do the talking.  Someone violates a boundary?  Make sure I'm taking measures to preserve it instead of trying to find ways to make the other person stop.  This is why I haven't had to post about my aunt's and cousin's reaction to my mother's hospitalization and my level of contact about keeping them informed:  I've already made sure I know what my mother would like them to know, and when, and how, and make sure that happens in a way that preserves my sanity.  Thank you Caller ID, voicemail, and eHell!

EllenS

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 05:21:45 PM »
Have not read all replies, but for myself it is a form of mental/verbal martial arts.  By controlling myself, I have more control over the situation.  I am also leaving myself options of multiple responses in case the interaction escalates.  I have actually gotten myself in trouble/embarassed myself by unecessarily cutting responses in the past, so I prefer to keep a tight rein and save the really obvious stonewall response as a last resort.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2013, 02:16:52 AM »
Another thought: some people may have low self esteem, and may actually believe the other person's rudeness was justified. Eg "That stranger called me a 'fat cow', but I am overweight, so I suppose I only have myself to blame..." etc. Hence, they wouldn't dream of calling that person out.

squeakers

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2013, 03:39:24 AM »
To be the better person.  If only for that moment in time.

Because one can not believe a person would actually "go there".

To avoid an incident: whether the embarrassment of an argument or the threat of violence that is not as rare as it used to be.

I was seldom guilty of this in the past... I have improved my manners since joining this forum years ago and now have an arsenal of replies and a shiny spine.  I have learned the difference between a hill to die on, letting a moment go by and when I need to make a stand.
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

cabbageweevil

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2013, 09:23:28 AM »
I might be venturing into dangerous territory here; but I wonder whether meekness in the face of obnoxiousness and rudeness is partly accounted for, by Christianity's influence on Western culture, and / or individual Christian instruction received by people at a young age. It is enjoined on Christians: "Turn the other cheek"; "Do good to those that despitefully use you"; "Render unto no man evil for evil". It strikes me as imaginable that many people may, at various levels of consciousness, feel that this is the proper way to behave; and in fact do often behave thus -- whether they are believing / practising Christians, or not.

So far as I understand the matter, it is not basically in order to make life run more smoothly, or to improve the offender's behaviour, that this way of responding is enjoined upon Christians.  Being a Christian is seen as, overall, making a person over into a new kind of creature -- in many ways, not carrying out standard / normal human conduct or interaction; which can make interaction more difficult and less agreeable. This last, seen as part of the cross which every adherent of the faith has to bear.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2013, 12:17:14 PM »
Another thought: some people may have low self esteem, and may actually believe the other person's rudeness was justified. Eg "That stranger called me a 'fat cow', but I am overweight, so I suppose I only have myself to blame..." etc. Hence, they wouldn't dream of calling that person out.

Yes.  Along with that, is the thought that you (general) must have been inadvertently rude to get such a reaction.

This took place years ago, but I still remember it for the "what on earth just happened?!" feeling.  I was out shopping with a friend, and we went into a small shop I frequently visited.  The owner was there as she normally was, and we usually chatted a bit as I shopped.  She said something about having been away to a nearby city for a few days.  I asked, "Did you have a nice time?"

She practically shouted, "None of your business!" in this incredibly venomous voice and shoved my change at me, looking absolutely furious.

I was totally taken aback, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry."  Once we were outside, I asked my friend if I'd been rude.  She said no and was as confused as I was over what had just happened.  I never went back to that shop in case she kicked off again like that.

But, for a few minutes, I was convinced I *had* to have incredibly rude somehow for her to react in such a way.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 12:20:32 PM by Queen of Clubs »

LeveeWoman

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2013, 12:48:20 PM »
I'm not sure whence this quote, but it might be from Gone with the Wind. IIRC, Scarlett was shocked at how nice Melly was to the Yankees. Melly said something along the lines of "We're not nice to them because they're nice but because we're nice."


Ceallach

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2013, 06:33:30 PM »
I don't care at all about the feelings of someone who is rude to me.  What I do care about is to ensure that my own actions are held up to my personal standards of behavior.  That's why I make an effort to be polite to people: not for their sake, but for my own.

This.  It's about holding my behavior to the higher standard.

Also, I don't want to let them impact upon me or my enjoyment of my day.  I can handle situations well, but I don't enjoy conflict so unless I have something to gain from it won't engage.  That means I will speak up if there is a particular outcome I'm looking for, but just in general to re educate or reprimand them won't bother.    It is not worth my emotional energy.
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blarg314

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2013, 09:24:33 PM »

A couple of things here...

The etiquette prohibition against retaliatory rudeness has a few motivations. One is to keep the moral high ground. If you escalate the encounter, there is a reasonable probability that you are going to look bad, and will be seen as at fault in the incident. Second - retaliating often means that the other person will retaliate back, and the next thing you know, you've got a public argument going on. And that public argument  can make other people around you uncomfortable. And, as MrTango says, sometimes it's about holding to your own standard of behaviour/morality.


But - and this is a big but - etiquette does *not* say that you have to listen politely, nodding your head (or answering all the questions), when someone is egregiously rude. There are definitely techniques for smacking someone down for rudeness while being exquisitely polite. Miss Manners icily polite stare followed by "Why would you ask that?" is a classic example. With these techniques, if the other person escalates, they will end up looking unhinged in contrast to your self-control and dignity.

There are also various tactics designed for people that have poor boundaries whom you deal with on a regular basis (family, etc).

On a psychological front - when someone comes out with a random insult, often they are trying to get a reaction or start a fight - to see that they've hurt you.  If their words have no effect, or produce a puzzled or slightly contemptuous look, then the insulter ends up looking foolish.



poundcake

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Re: Why do we do it?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2013, 02:55:22 AM »
I might be venturing into dangerous territory here; but I wonder whether meekness in the face of obnoxiousness and rudeness is partly accounted for, by Christianity's influence on Western culture, and / or individual Christian instruction received by people at a young age. It is enjoined on Christians: "Turn the other cheek"; "Do good to those that despitefully use you"; "Render unto no man evil for evil". It strikes me as imaginable that many people may, at various levels of consciousness, feel that this is the proper way to behave; and in fact do often behave thus -- whether they are believing / practising Christians, or not.

So far as I understand the matter, it is not basically in order to make life run more smoothly, or to improve the offender's behaviour, that this way of responding is enjoined upon Christians.  Being a Christian is seen as, overall, making a person over into a new kind of creature -- in many ways, not carrying out standard / normal human conduct or interaction; which can make interaction more difficult and less agreeable. This last, seen as part of the cross which every adherent of the faith has to bear.

I think this is absolutely spot-on for a lot of us. Combine this with the aforementioned "social conditioning," and it is very hard to not be a meekly overly-polite when you are both female and raised Christian.

Personally, this is why I found a balanced spot between "retaliatory rudeness" and "shocked silence." It is important for me, in many cases, to at least draw a person's attention to their rudeness with a pointed, calm question, asserting myself while letting them know that a certain comment or behavior is totally unacceptable. Especially since I spent the first decades of my life being a "good Christian girl," which meant I was stricken with guilt at the thought of hurting others' feelings or being thought of as rude or a b-word, even if the other person was being rude or cruel to me.

An example of this is when someone makes a comment about my physical appearance, be it catcalling, or someone telling me to "smile!" When I was younger, I was once hurrying to work. As I passed a group of young men, one loudly exclaimed, "Look at her [rude word] bounce!" Then, I turned red, felt ashamed, and hunched my shoulders. The thought of "escalating" the situation with a "confrontation" was unthinkable. Now, when someone makes a comment like that, I usually stop, go back, look them in the eye, and ask, "Why would you say that? You claim you were trying to compliment me, but how is yelling a comment like that a compliment?" I keep up with a calm, focused question until the person realizes that no, I'm not backing down, and yes, their behavior was unacceptable. Usually they bluster about what a humorless female dog I am, but the point is, I feel better.

So if I had been confronted by Crazy Shoe Lady, personally it would be important for me to engage, not just ignore, after the first comment. "Ma'am, I don't know you, and I'm not spending your money. Why do you care what kind of shoes I wear? That's an interesting assumption. Why are you so invested in other peoples' attire? Why would you bother a complete stranger about something like that?"

You can turn the other cheek once, but if you keep turning it back and forth, it's just someone repeatedly slapping you.

So I absolutely understand why other eHellions might be more comfortable ignoring a rude person and not letting it affect their day, or engage in any way. But for me, it is very important to respond to certain situations after a lifetime of being trained that, as a girl and as a Christian, I was not supposed to.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 02:59:40 AM by poundcake »