It’s annoyingly easy to act rude without even realizing you’re doing so. Whether it’s because you were never taught proper manners, you’re acting ignorant about important issues, or you’re in a bad mood, it’s not that hard to offend someone by saying the wrong thing or giving off an attitude. Sure, some people are total jerks, and know exactly what they’re doing, but many of us don’t even know we’re being rude – and that can make things awkward fast. Part of growing up is learning and practicing social graces that make you more mature and put together. We’re here to help you steer clear of the subtle rude behavior we’re all guilty of doing at one point or another.
One of the worst feelings is realizing you said something rude the second after it escapes your lips, or when you find out someone you care about has been hurt by something you did or said. It makes you feel crappy, especially if you didn’t mean to do it. I remember I once said something really rude to a friend by accident. I said something I didn’t find offensive, but he did, very much so. It took me a while to figure out why he was annoyed, and then I felt embarrassed and confused and bummed out. Let’s avoid that feeling and be more proactive. You can stop yourself from being rude by knowing what makes you that way in the first place. So, here are a few ways you might be acting rude without realizing it. But now you know, so there are no excuses!
Not RSVPing To An EventEven when plans seem casual, you should never be blowing them off. But since invites in the mail have become a thing of the past (unless an event is really formal), a lot of people assume they can either never respond or say things like "maybe!" Now that Facebook has introduced an "interested" RSVP option, you can flake on a whole new level. The fact of the matter is, when you're invited to a party or any other event, you should RSVP. Period. The host may need to make reservations or tell the venue how many people are coming and frequently, that involves paying per guest or the venue having a restricted number of people who can actually attend. Waiting to hear who else is going is still rude. Just RSVP with what you really want to do and let the rest fall into place. Don't be rude to the host and the rest of the guests.Source: iStock
Refusing To Accept A ComplimentSomeone was just really kind to you! Why would you throw it back in their face? I get it: self esteem, body image, and larger issues like body dysmorphic disorder could come into play here, but for the sake of social graces and manners, just say "thank you" and don't openly and overtly refute the compliment and refuse to accept it. If someone gave you a gift, you wouldn't throw it back in their face and call it disgusting, would you? The same rules of manners apply to a compliment. Even if you secretly hate it and compliments, in general, unless it's overtly racist or problematic (ex: "You're really pretty for an Asian girl"), just say "thank you" and move on.Source: iStock
Stopping In The Middle Of The Hallway Or SidewalkIf you need to stop to answer a text message or figure out where you are on a map, pull off to the side of the sidewalk or street so other people can walk by. The same thing goes for stairs. Suddenly blocking the flow of traffic is rude. Yeah, people can walk around you, but your issue that's causing you to stop is not their issue. Be considerate. Also, I know your squad rolls deep, but there's no need to walk down a hallway or sidewalk Sex And The City style. If you do this, expect other pedestrians to take it upon themselves to play red rover.Source: iStock
Getting Sucked Into Your Phone At A PartyI totally understand the feeling of wanting to disappear into your phone when you feel weird af at a party where you know no one, but much in the same way you don't talk to a girl wearing headphones, you also don't talk to anyone who is on their phone. Feeling like you have nobody to talk to makes you get on your phone, but being on your phone makes you look unapproachable and rude, so nobody wants to talk to you. It's a vicious cycle. Sitting there staring at your phone makes the host think you're bored - and that's just not nice.Source: iStock
Being On Your Phone At The Cash RegisterPhones can make you rude af without knowing it. Answering that text might feel really important, but staring at your phone instead of nodding hello to the cashier or answering their question on whether or not you need a receipt is just flat-out rude. Look this person in the eye, complete your transaction, step away from the line, then get back on your phone. Waiting 30 seconds won't derail your whole day. If you're talking on the phone, don't continue the conversation while you're on line. Put your phone away when you're on a line and be respectful to the employees and the people on line behind you. Source: iStock
Glancing At Someone's Phone While They TextWe live in a world of technology, and for some reason, that has made some people think it's okay to just look at other people's private stuff. I have a friend who is constantly staring at my phone screen whenever I text or go online or do basically anything around her. She blatantly looks at my phone to see who I'm talking to. It's beyond rude and makes me really annoyed. Don't do this! A phone is private, and if you want to know who someone is talking to, either ask or forget about it. It's not your business.. Source: iStock
Eating Your Friend's Food Without AskingI get it - your best friend is like your sister and what's hers is yours. So, to you, it doesn't seem like a big deal to grab a fry off their plate without asking. To them, it might be. Same goes for any friend, family member, or date. Most people don't mind sharing their food if you ask if you can try it, but a lot of people get annoyed when you just take something off their plate without even glancing at them. I once had a girl I had just met eat half of my fries without once asking if she could have one. I was mad! Which brings me to my next point - don't eat a lot of something off of someone's plate, even if you asked if you could have some. Want a chip? Okay, take one or two, not a huge handful (especially if it's a small bag). A bite of their burger? Cut off a small piece, don't grab it and dig in. Source: iStock
Complaining ConstantlyNo one likes someone who can't stop complaining. It's not cute when toddlers or small children do it and we expect this behavior out of them! Complaining constantly makes it seem like you're always dissatisfied with what you've been given in life and that you aren't grateful. It's rude AND annoying to everybody around you. It's overused, but it's worth repeating here: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Of course, stick up for yourself and don't be a doormat, but complaining about literally everything is the worst and stops people from taking you seriously. Pick your battles.Source: iStock
Forgetting To Return Something You BorrowedIf you said you'd return something to your friend in a week, return it in a week. Not in a week and three days, not in two months, not "it now lives in my house and I forget why I have it or how it got here, but shrugsies, it's mine now!" This includes tops, notebooks, appliances, electronics, movies, literally anything. Someone did you a favor by letting your borrow something of theirs, now do them a solid and get it back to them within the agreed upon window of time. Even if it's open ended, when you're done using the thing you borrowed, return it in the condition you got it in, not broken, stained, or damaged.Source: iStock
Making Excuses For Your RudenessIn general, most rudeness is forgivable if you own up to it, excuse yourself and apologize, then move on with your amended behavior. Saying stuff like "I'm always late" or "I'm just bad with names" puts an excuse on your rude behavior and makes your rudeness someone else's problem where it's their fault for not being understanding of your cute little quirk and not you owning up to your behavior. However, saying someting like "Excuse me, may I have your nameone more time?" is better than openly blanking and not caring. Don't make excuses, just apologize and make a change if you get called out.Source: iStock
Have you made these mistakes? Was it intentional? What did you do to fix it or was it too late? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.