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What to do when rudeness strikes

Friend constantly ignoring you to check her mobile? Someone listening to loud music on the train to work? Catherine Jones offers some solutions for those times when you find good manners lacking

by Psychologies

manners, loud music on public transport

1. A passenger on the bus is listening to music on his iPod too loudly. Despite the polite notices reminding people to keep the volume down, your journey has been made unpleasant by the loud hum from the headphones of the passenger opposite.

SOLUTION: No one likes to be reminded of the rules, so raise the issue as terms of personal discomfort. In non-confrontational terms tell the other person the impact of their behaviour. Then make your request, using formulas such as ‘I would really appreciate it if...’ There is no guarantee that your pleas will be well received, so use common sense to assess the situation and don’t forget your own safety.

2. A disruptive child is ruining your restaurant meal. The child at the table next to you has the run of the room while his parents ignore him. If this continues, you know you will not enjoy your meal.

SOLUTION: Keeping your distance makes an altercation less likely so resist admonishing the child and his parents. The best approach is to ask the manager to have a word with the parents, a perfectly legitimate request. If he fails to help, then ask to be moved to a different table or simply leave.

3. Your friend is too connected to her mobile. Your friend always keeps her Blackberry at her side, checking it incessantly. You have not seen each other for months and find her behaviour ungracious.

SOLUTION: Tell her that you look forward to spending time with her and that when she is always checking her phone, it feels like she is only half present. Lightheartedly ask her if she minds turning her phone off for the rest of your time together.

4. A colleague takes credit for your work. An email from the MD is sent round the company praising the latest marketing plan and the people who worked to make it happen, only, thanks to your colleague, this doesn’t include you or your team.

SOLUTION: Involve your colleague in redressing the situation. Say, ‘Steve, I was dismayed that Karen’s email didn’t mention my team’s input. She seems unaware that we were as much involved in the plan as your team. I hope you can set the record straight.’ If he resists, then send the MD a tactful email that requests your team receives the public credit they deserve.

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