You didn’t know that man that scanned your groceries just found out they lost their home. You didn’t consider that perhaps the woman you intentionally bumped into to make the subway was abused as a child. You were not mindful that your cashier found out they didn’t get accepted to any schools and felt lost. You sure weren’t aware of the train conductor’s recent spell at the hospital. Did you know that the teenage waiter that served you soup struggles with depression or that the barista at your coffee shop’s dog just died?
Let me tell you what you did know.
You knew the supermarket’s slow scanning was making you run late so you complained to the manager. You knew that pushing someone aside was acceptable behavior to catch a train. You knew that the train was late and because you were already running late you would take it out your frustration on the conductor. You also knew that when your coffee wasn’t made right the barista should be spoken to harshly.
To be fair, I also don’t know about your life or why you felt you had to act that way to another today. But let me tell you something I know.
1. Everybody deserves respect. They are people, just like you, with family, fears, successes and struggles. If you haven’t been taught that by now in your upbringing or professional life then let me quickly spell it out. It’s called (say it with me now) “common decency.” This is the minimum standard of being human.
2. If common decency doesn’t seem to be your thing, perhaps this may bring a different perspective. The world (and the communities in it) are smaller than you think. People know each other and they love to talk. You may not know it, but that person is or may one day be someone in a position to help you. Or, they may know someone that can make a positive impact on how things may go for you or someone you care for in the future. Reputation is an important thing and people remember rude people.
Think more long term. Being rude is being shortsighted.
3. And if 1 and 2 haven’t given you pause to your ways, than this last one should. There are other people witnessing your rudeness to others. You do not live in a bubble and no, we don’t agree with your behavior when you look around for support. Remember what I said about community? It also applies to everyone else around you watching you make a scene.
You see, rude people, your scene inspires solidarity against you in the check out line, inspires writers to base villains upon you and gives bloggers another story to comment on.
Think twice. Be nice. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Who knows? You may be surprised how much better it all can result if you do.