Author Topic: Retaliatory Rudeness  (Read 9387 times)

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Ceiling Fan

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2011, 01:12:25 PM »
If it would be rude behavior on its own, it becomes retaliatory rudeness when the behavior as justified as being OK as a response to other bad behavior.

Sometimes these things are understandable, but understandable does not mean polite.

I was thinking more on this, because of the (locked?) bus thread, where the guy threw the lady's stuff after she refused twice to move it.

That was certainly retalitory rudeness, and while no one condoned it, many applauded it (if that's not an oxymoron, and yeah, I admit it, I laughed). I think it has something to do with the idea of justice.

If you are driving and you get cut off by a driver driving like a fool and an idiot, you are going to feel satisfied if you come around the bend and see him pulled over by a cop. Now the cop isn't being rude in this example, but the feeling of someone getting what they 'deserve' is exactly the same. True schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) doesn't happen in a vaccuum, it's usually most strongly felt when we somehow feel that the person had done something to earn their comeuppance.

And whether the agent of that person's comeuppance is divine or natural (an act of god or nature, like when an invading army is wiped away by a flash flood), an official agent of the state or govenment (like a speeder getting pulled over, or a henious child abusing muderer getting the death penalty), or another person being rude in return (like the guy on the bus), our emotional response to it is the same (too bad, so sad).

So I think it's perfectly normal to appreciate a bit of 'cosmic' justice, even though we, ourselves would never be the agent of that 'justice'.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 02:29:33 PM by Ceiling Fan »

Mikayla

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2011, 02:25:06 PM »
If it would be rude behavior on its own, it becomes retaliatory rudeness when the behavior as justified as being OK as a response to other bad behavior.

Sometimes these things are understandable, but understandable does not mean polite.

This is exactly how I see it.  Also, there might be 2 separate issues here, because even if we can all agree on what constitutes retaliatory rudeness, how does this impact behavior on the forum?  I just read through the bus thread, and what struck me was people laughing at extremely rude behavior.  We've all been there, done that, but on an etiquette forum, I don't think it's a good idea to do this so overtly.  It's a slippery slope thing that says if it's ok to laugh at boorish behavior, then you're indirectly sanctioning rudeness.  I know I've seen threads locked in the past for this.

Lynn2000

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2011, 03:14:21 PM »
If it would be rude behavior on its own, it becomes retaliatory rudeness when the behavior as justified as being OK as a response to other bad behavior.

Sometimes these things are understandable, but understandable does not mean polite.

This is exactly how I see it.  Also, there might be 2 separate issues here, because even if we can all agree on what constitutes retaliatory rudeness, how does this impact behavior on the forum? 

And I think that we'll never agree on what retaliatory rudeness is, really--we can come up with definitions, but no group of people will ever agree, each and every time, on where specific examples fall. Which I think is fine--life happens, people say stuff, they don't fully understand the possible impacts of their behavior, so they come here and ask other people about the situation. Some people say, "You were rude!" Other people will say, "You were fine!" I think there's a lot of grey area. It's up to the OP to take all these different opinions and figure out which best fits their situation. And I think it's up to the mods to say, "This is actually OUT of the grey area and into the bad extreme," as the case may be.
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aventurine

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2011, 02:17:01 AM »
Lapis got me a book on practical etiquette for Christmas, and in reading it the other day, I saw this addressed.  According to my book, the litmus test in pointing out the rude behavior of others is whether or not the rudeness was intentional.  To use a PP's example:  she shut the door in someone's face and a passerby let her know. 

It had been an accident, so the passerby was pointing out unintentional rudeness.  According to my book (and, IMO, common sense) this is acceptable, and as the PP said, it was actually helpful because she could then rectify the situation.

Had it not been accidental, and our PP had slammed the door in the person's face in a fit of pique, then the passerby would have been pointing out poor behavior, which is not done.

Made sense to me.

In the thread about the snippy SiL, I said and still believe that the OP was acting in self-defense.  She wasn't retaliating at all. 




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think2x

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2011, 11:56:27 AM »
  According to my book, the litmus test in pointing out the rude behavior of others is whether or not the rudeness was intentional.  To use a PP's example:  she shut the door in someone's face and a passerby let her know. 

It had been an accident, so the passerby was pointing out unintentional rudeness.  According to my book (and, IMO, common sense) this is acceptable, and as the PP said, it was actually helpful because she could then rectify the situation.

Had it not been accidental, and our PP had slammed the door in the person's face in a fit of pique, then the passerby would have been pointing out poor behavior, which is not done.

 

LOL, I would have thought just the opposite:  If it's accidental, why point it out? Let it go, I would have thought.  If it was deliberate, I would think a curt "excuse me" or the like would be warranted.  And though I know this goes against ehell consensus, I also don't think a "well, that was rude" would be out of order.

Ceiling Fan

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2011, 12:27:39 PM »
  According to my book, the litmus test in pointing out the rude behavior of others is whether or not the rudeness was intentional.  To use a PP's example:  she shut the door in someone's face and a passerby let her know. 

It had been an accident, so the passerby was pointing out unintentional rudeness.  According to my book (and, IMO, common sense) this is acceptable, and as the PP said, it was actually helpful because she could then rectify the situation.

Had it not been accidental, and our PP had slammed the door in the person's face in a fit of pique, then the passerby would have been pointing out poor behavior, which is not done.

 

LOL, I would have thought just the opposite:  If it's accidental, why point it out? Let it go, I would have thought.  If it was deliberate, I would think a curt "excuse me" or the like would be warranted.  And though I know this goes against ehell consensus, I also don't think a "well, that was rude" would be out of order.

Me too. Though I think it's more appropriate or natural for the offended or injured party to say something. 'Well, that was rude' or 'You shut the door in my face'. Or in the case of the SIL 'You are being unpleasant and I want you to stop.'

I also think there's a difference between rudeness and abuse.

And Re. aventurine's post, I don't understand why the example was about a passerby, that seems adding an unneccessary layer of complication. And I don't understand at all pointing out unintentional rudeness after the fact, why is that OK? What does that serve, except to make someone feel bad, when nothing can be done about it? Is that book really saying it's OK for a person to basicly tell another adult they owe someone an apology?

jalutaja

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2011, 01:40:50 PM »

And Re. aventurine's post, I don't understand why the example was about a passerby, that seems adding an unneccessary layer of complication. And I don't understand at all pointing out unintentional rudeness after the fact, why is that OK? What does that serve, except to make someone feel bad, when nothing can be done about it? Is that book really saying it's OK for a person to basicly tell another adult they owe someone an apology?

Actually, if it was unintentional and unnoticed, then , without being told, the person would continue  as before.  So it is OK as it helps the clueless one to mend matters in future. The person who points out the mistake is paying it on to other people.

Let say I would have been the person slamming the door in face of someone. Lets say I did not SEE this someone, as I am too vain to wear my glasses in public and I think I manage all right without them. So - my actions pointed out would be unpleasant for me and shameful, but useful for future.

MrsJWine

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2011, 04:21:03 PM »
I think if I am bothered or offended by something I should ask myself a few questions:

1.  Am I pointing out someone else's rudeness or engaging in retaliatory rudeness, or am I maturely bringing up something that bothers me?  There's a huge difference between telling someone she's being rude and asking someone not to do something that hurts, bothers or offends you.

2.  Is this worth bringing up?  Is it a minor or infrequent offense that I can get over, and go on with life as usual?  If not, I think you ought to say something.  I hate, hate, hate it when people want cookies for "not complaaaining," but they stew in silence and complain away with every action and sullen word.

3.  If it's not something I can move past without stewing, can I bring it up politely?  If not, I think you ought to wait until you've cooled down a bit.  Things have a much greater chance of going south if the offended party is worked up when she tries to talk about it.

4.  Is it an urgent situation?  I think there are some cases where something needs to get done, NOW, and that might mean bumping someone's shoulder by accident.  I do think every effort should be made to do this as politely and gently as possible.  For instance, the time I was waiting tables and a guest who was traveling through (so, it would be hugely inconvenient for her to come back to the restaurant later that day, even) left her purse at the table.  As I was cleaning up, I found it, and I could see that they were out in the parking lot, about to get into the car.  I hurried to the exit, and there were two ladies ambling down the hallway side by side.  I said, "Excuse me, please; I need to get through," several times, louder each time.  I knew they heard me because they glanced back and gave me a dirty look, but didn't even try to move aside.  I even explained, briefly, why I was in such a hurry ("Lady left her purse!").  I squeezed between them as carefully as I could, saying, "Sorry!" as I did so, and just made it to the lady in the parking lot before she drove away.  I could hear the two ladies muttering about how rude I was, but I honestly didn't know what else I could have done.  The restaurant was set up oddly, so the exit hallway was actually pretty long, and waiting behind them would have delayed me quite a bit.

I think a good, quick test of whether or not something is retaliatory rudeness is whether or not you're saying or doing something to get a rush of satisfaction, or if you're trying to fix a bad or unpleasant situation.  Of course, that's not a perfect test; I get a rush of satisfaction from doing a lot of things that are perfectly polite.  But I think it's a good starting point.


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aventurine

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2011, 06:44:48 PM »

And Re. aventurine's post, I don't understand why the example was about a passerby, that seems adding an unneccessary layer of complication. And I don't understand at all pointing out unintentional rudeness after the fact, why is that OK? What does that serve, except to make someone feel bad, when nothing can be done about it? Is that book really saying it's OK for a person to basicly tell another adult they owe someone an apology?

Actually, if it was unintentional and unnoticed, then , without being told, the person would continue  as before.  So it is OK as it helps the clueless one to mend matters in future. The person who points out the mistake is paying it on to other people.

Let say I would have been the person slamming the door in face of someone. Lets say I did not SEE this someone, as I am too vain to wear my glasses in public and I think I manage all right without them. So - my actions pointed out would be unpleasant for me and shameful, but useful for future.

To the first bolded:  It doesn't really matter; the way I read peirrotlunaire0's scenario, it included a passerby, so I included one when using her example.   I agree that bringing up something that can't be fixed quickly or at all is unnecessary and possibly unkind, but I don't think it's out of line to gently make someone aware of the unintended consequences of their actions so they can apologize to anyone they inadvertently offended and change their behavior in the future, if applicable.

To the second bolded:  Exactly.




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Lynn2000

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Re: Retaliatory Rudeness
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2011, 09:31:12 PM »
Lapis got me a book on practical etiquette for Christmas, and in reading it the other day, I saw this addressed.  According to my book, the litmus test in pointing out the rude behavior of others is whether or not the rudeness was intentional.  To use a PP's example:  she shut the door in someone's face and a passerby let her know. 

It had been an accident, so the passerby was pointing out unintentional rudeness.  According to my book (and, IMO, common sense) this is acceptable, and as the PP said, it was actually helpful because she could then rectify the situation.

Had it not been accidental, and our PP had slammed the door in the person's face in a fit of pique, then the passerby would have been pointing out poor behavior, which is not done.

Made sense to me.

In the thread about the snippy SiL, I said and still believe that the OP was acting in self-defense.  She wasn't retaliating at all. 

It's funny, because I also would've thought it was the other way around. Like the example people always give about a dinner guest using the wrong fork: presumably they are being "rude" unintentionally, but it would be far worse for the host/another guest to point out that they are using the wrong fork. On the other hand, deliberately rude people often do realize they're being rude, or at least that they're doing something another person might not like; so if you point this out, it's not like it's a surprise to them--they may just not care. But that doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with rude behavior all the time.

If I accidentally shut a door in someone's face, and a third person pointed this out to me, I would of course turn around and apologize, etc.. But I would also kind of wonder why the third party had bothered, unless the person had been injured or something by the door. It seems more like one of those awkward moments that often happen in life, why make a big deal of it? However, if I deliberately slammed a door in someone's face, it would not be out of line for a third person to react "in defense of" my victim by calling me out on my behavior (IMO).

I don't know, this topic has got me all muddled... I do think reacting to something in the heat of the moment is usually a predictor of retaliatory rudeness, because people tend to be more sarcastic, biting, harsh, or exaggerating at such moments, in tone and/or wording. I think that's why we often suggest that people practice a few "stock phrases" beforehand, so they can deliver them in a neutral tone should the opportunity arise and thus avoid being rude in response to someone else.
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