Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Bad Behavior Really Hurts

I read in an MSNBC article on the net today how rudeness can really upset the day for everyone.  We like to pretend that it doesn’t bother us, but the mood goes completely south when we even witness a transitory situation where someone we don’t even know is treated badly or treats someone else badly.  
We even fester through the day over what we should have done to help or intervene.  The article tells of a woman who had come into a store attempting to bully a store owner into a full refund for an item she had purchased on sale.  When the store owner finally found the original receipt and found that it had indeed been purchased at a discounted price, the crazed customer screamed that the owner was trying to “rip her off” and said as she left, “I can’t believe you treat customers this way.  I’m never coming back!”
We’ve all seen such tirades and know the relief we feel when it’s over.  But the article indicates that studies done indicate that seeing such a scene make us become so alarmed, that it “measurably affects . . . creativity and performance.”  We know when we are the receivers of rudeness it impacts us, but just witnessing it apparently can affect us as well.  
The article goes on to talk about how rudeness in American is growing and blames tv and reality shows like  “Jersey Shore, The Hills, The Real Housewives group, Fliping Out and 90% of the Bravo Networks lineup. . . . these shows glorify and pay tribute to the art of treating each other like garbage and are the epitome of the promotion of rudeness and extremely bad behavior.”
I remember some years ago that someone had said that if I were having a bad day, I could trace it back to some incident, and if I did, I might be able to turn the bad day around.  I found that was true.  Usually it’s nothing large, but it’s something enough to cause the day to go grey and sour.
The article  considers that perhaps the growth of rudeness somehow might correspond with the decrease in shame.  It makes good sense to me.  
My brother, Scott, reminded me a month or so ago that my mother used to tell us that there are some things that decent people just don’t say.  We thought she was rather provincial at the time when we were young.  I think, though, that she was probably right and could be expanded upon.  I think there are there are things that decent people just don’t do, either.  And I think we better teach our children about it soon or we are going to be really feeling sorry about the world we will be living in.

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

I totally agree with this. I feel like I can actually feel my blood pressure rising when I am behind someone in a line who is totally rude and aggressive. I know when I worked at the library one irritated/irritating patron could ruin a whole shift. The interesting thing is, people in general are much more willing to work with you if you are pleasant and kind than if you are yelling and angry.