Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rude is Still Rude No Matter the Dressing

*AR pulls soapbox from closet, dusts it off, and stands on it -- pretending she didn’t just almost fall over*

I’ve been seeing, and having to deal with, a lot of rudeness in the disguise of “honest” and “candid”. It drives me crazy. I'm pretty thick-skinned, but even I’m taken aback by the acute case of rudeness going around.

Just because you start the sentence with “I’m just being honest...”, “I’m your friend...”, or “In my opinion...” doesn’t change a rude comment into a candid or honest one. It’s still rude, just with a false qualifier. They almost always are the start of the “I’m about to say a jerk comment and because I start with this stupid phrase you can’t tell me I’m being a jackass” sentence.

Let’s quickly go over the differences:

Candid: Frank, outspoken, open and sincere, free from reservation, disguise, or subterfuge, straightforward, unposed, honest, impartial.

Rude: Discourteous, impolite in a deliberate way, without culture/learning/refinement, rough in manners or behavior, unmannerly, uncouth, harsh, ungentle, crude, unkind

Both approaches are used to say what you think or feel, but the difference boils down to intent and delivery.

Is the intent of what you’re about to say in the right place? Is it being said for the right reasons and purposes? Is what you're going to say well thought out, will be helpful to the person or in the discussion, and is it necessary?

Most often I see rude behavior in situations where one person doesn’t take the other person’s opinion into full consideration before replying. You can tell because their 4-paragraph response was posted only minutes later. Or they wait forever and then lash out like a poisonous snake.

When you reply to the email or talk with the receiver, are you forming the response in the way the he/she will best appreciate it? Is your word selection matching the tone of your intent? Or are you finding the most arrogant word phrases to use and putting in a lot of bolding, italics and IMO’s?

In the end, though, there is nothing you can do about rude people under the disguise of honest/candid. Truthfully, those who need to “hear” this most will not understand it’s about them. Those who do have a tingling bit of self-recognition will claw back with the “I can’t help it if you’re too sensitive...” responses.

All one can control is their own reaction to rudeness, and the best response is none at all. Replying is only feeding the drama and who has time for that? Me personally, I use up all my drama hours with my family and in my fictional world.

The only people they'll ultimately hurt is themselves, when they run out of people who stick around to hear/read their "honesty".


  1. Couldn't agree more. It's the primary reason I'm no longer involved in any online critique groups.

    The one that gets to me the most is: "With all due respect." Though I think I hear that more spoken, than written. When I hear, with all due respect, I'm immediately certain the proceeding sentence will be anything but respectful.

  2. Yes, me to E.C. I still think critique groups are good for beginners in the publishing goal. They need that dose of reality and cruelty to thicken their skin in the industry. But the purpose is to outgrow it and build confidence to not need it.

    I can't believe I overlooked the ridiculous "with all due respect". It is misused so much for passive aggressive purposes.