I recently read Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and it was every bit as funny, thoughtful, and delightful as I thought it would be. I love the way she describes her boys as being delicious, and how she preaches that childhood should be all about sweaty kids with skinned knees. But, as the Levo League recently reminded me, I especially love her particular brand of ComeBacks for Dealing with Rude People.
Rude people suck. If we let them, they can take the “good” out of a good day faster than bad traffic. Rude people are also bad for business. That isn’t because we are overly sensitive or thin skinned – it is an actual proven fact. In a study completed in 2012, rudeness from coworkers increased employees’ absenteeism and decreased their sales performance. Which makes sense, because rude people make us want to disengage… the opposite of staying engaged with our work.
In many cases, it is best to just shake off rudeness and move on with your day. But sometimes you cannot and should not keep your mouth shut. So when faced with a rude person who has crossed the line, Amy Poehler points it out to them. Here are three examples of how to do this, as highlighted by Levo League author Kathleen Harris:
Example 1: Call it what it is. When a producer told Poehler to relax after her routine was cut short, Poehler said, “This is the part where you apologize to me. You guys screwed up and this is where you make me feel better about it.” She added why: “I like to use this tactic on people. When someone is being rude, abusing their power, or not respecting you, just call them out in a really obvious way.”
Example 2: Act genuinely shocked by the act of rudeness. In another instance, Poehler said, “I can’t understand why you are being rude because you are the concierge and this is the part of the evening where the concierge helps me.” She explained: “Act like they are an actor who has forgotten what part they are playing. It brings the attention back to them and gives you a minute to calm down so you don’t do something silly like burst into tears or break their stupid *** glasses.”
Example 3: Remind them, it’s them not you. “If you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say ‘I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.’”
Are these examples office appropriate? Maybe not (I’d be curious to hear @AskAManager’s opinion). But they require you to use your spine. They do not require you to raise your voice. They also give you the opportunity to say how you are feeling in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, and they don’t let the other person off the hook for making you feel that way. So the next time someone is disrespectful or rude to you, maybe you need to point it out to them.