Coping with Rude Colleagues.

The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray.

Proverbs 12:26

155669566912385208-1Today I received a reply to Easter blessings I sent to a brother priest, it was someone I had considered to be a friend. To say that I was shocked at the contents and demands he made in order for us to remain friends was not only what in Italy we term as ‘maleducato’ meaning ill-mannered, but it was somewhat childish and inconsiderate. It was also extremely upsetting, especially whilst I’m undergoing chemotherapy and feeling extremely fragile, nauseous and short fused. His tactic was manipulative which only a narcissist and sociopaths would use to demean and control you. You see our opinions differed on a topic and as I would not toe the line with his way of thinking his return easter wishes became an assault. Unfortunately I bit back in a moment of weakness and anger. I then informed my Bishop of the confrontation. Later as I lay in my cell I recalled Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray.”

It is not the first time that this priest has been contentious either towards the hierarchy or a religious fraternity. Last year in-fact, I regretfully left the International Fellowship of Saint Bruno as moral support to him. Then he left the church which he also wants me to leave because he disagrees with the way our Bishop is communicating his horror and caution at the Islamic threat we currently face worldwide. This brother priest who used to be at the head of an orthodox monastery, and who simply abandoned his monastic brothers for whom he was responsible only to join and autocephalous jurisdiction, has a history of joining, getting upset and leaving in a storm and expects all and sundry to follow his lead if you wish to remain friends with him.

“Baneful” people such as malefic narcissists, sociopaths and other types of people with misanthropic traits adopt maladaptive behaviours in their relationships that end up manipulate, belittling or abuse their partner, family and friends. They use many misleading tactics that distort the reality of their victims to divert their own accountability, anxieties and imperfections.

So I responded in a manner that could have been replied to better after some prayer and contemplation but definitely after the effects of the cyclophosphamide medication had worn away, yet I was impulsive and fired a reply by email… in hindsight my reply was brusque and ungentlemanly whilst it is important that we face these situations maturely, otherwise we lower ourselves to their level of libertinism.

I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve had to deal with a rude or contumelious persons so that you would rather have preferred to be stranded on a desert island rather than sharing the same space with them. Unfortunately and especially today there are more and more people who do not know how to treat others with due respect or confine themselves within boundaries.

How to cope with rude people?

These uncomfortable situations are part of our life, and present an excellent opportunity to let your intelligence work in your favour and convey a good exemplar of the arrogance of others. We must face these situations with wisdom and understanding, otherwise we lower ourselves to their level. Next time you meet a rude or discourteous person, then, take a deep breath and follow these recommendation:

1. Do not take it personally (even if a personal posture was assumed by the other person)

It is normal to get angry when someone is rude to us, but fortunately we have the opportunity to decide how we are going to react, and therefore we can adopt a more appropriate attitude in the face of the offence caused. The most important thing is not to let yourself be affected, yes it can be difficult not to take it personally, but if you don’t do this you will end up playing the other person’s game.

2. Find their motive.

People generally have two reasons for acting rudely, besides the fact that they are clearly and simply rude. In most cases it is a misunderstanding. The person may have had a bad day or perhaps they were just in a hurry, in any case you won’t know the real reason for the offensive attitude unless you ask. Keep calm and say, “I was somewhat upset with your attitude/comment. Is there any reason why you treated/spoke me like that?” You might be surprised by the answer.

3. Remember that there have been times when you have also been rude.

This time the fault is not yours, but I am sure that sometimes you have reacted rudely, offensively or harmfully towards someone. This does not mean that you are a bad person. Sometimes we interpret the other person incorrectly or we become offended ourselves for something that is done impulsively, and which in hindsight may have been completely normal. The next time someone is rude to you, use empathy and remember that that person is also a human being who makes mistakes.

4. Be objective and analyse the rude behaviour.

Has anyone been rude to you? What did they say? Was were their reasons? If you look at the situation objectively, you may perhaps not find any reason for that attitude, but sometimes there is another reason, and then you have to be objective so as not to magnify the problem.

5. Don’t be melodramatic.

In these situations, it may be that you feel like shouting or arguing with that person, but do not allow yourself in following your instincts. Don’t argue, don’t enter into polemics or lower yourself to their level, because it will only make the situation worse. Keep your dignity intact, so that the situation does not become an avalanche. Sometimes prudence and patience are key in resolving an issue.

6. Allow the storm come and pass.

If you lose control it could be calamitous for you, to avoid it you could change the subject. Sometimes it can be the best method to avoid that situation from escalating. If it is a stranger you have no reason to prolong the situation, simply walk away, but if it is a friend or an acquaintance they will learn from that episode and probably will no longer behave like that with you.

7. Think of offering help.

Generally a rude or indelicate person is frustrated for some reason. If you are able to help them resolve their frustration or at least understand that they are reacting that way for a reason, they will surely change their confrontational attitude and turn it into gratitude. In the end, we never know what the other person is experiencing.

8. Understand that for some, rudeness is simply habit.

Some people are rude with not just with you but with everyone, because it is their attitude towards life. When rudeness has become a habit, it becomes very difficult to avoid it, even if the person would like to avoid it. An attitude of contempt should never be taken personally, because an ingrained personality trait is extremely difficult to change.

9. Try not to force change.

You cannot force someone to be polite unless the person wants to. In reality, trying to change their behaviour can mostly cause it to become worse. The decision to change is purely a personal choice, so no matter how positive your intentions may be, do not try to change anyone, because change can only come from within.

10. Fight against rudeness with kindness.

Do not allow the rudeness of someone to get the better of you. The best way to react in this situation is to adopt a friendly attitude, which will allow the person to calm down and to regulate their own behaviour towards you and hopefully others.

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