Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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How to be rude without even trying

I initiated a recent conversation with a young person, let’s call it training, when he left his car at the gas pump while he went inside not to pay for gas, but to just pick up some Twinkies, beef jerky and beer. My helpful observation prompted him to defend his rudeness with, “I had no idea this was going to inconvenience anyone else.” I then pointed out one of the key laws of physics that states that no two objects can occupy the same place at the same time, i.e. a busy gas pump. The frightening part of the dialogue was that this young person was not being malicious or mean. He truly did not realize how rude his behavior was. (Yes, I want to talk with his parents, too.)

 So I made a few observations and compiled a list of how to be rude. Please feel free to add your own.

  1. Never use your directionals while driving.
    Note: I believe there are many used cars that feature “Directionals, never used! Like new!”
  2. Don’t bother to learn the words “please” and “thank you.”
  3. Walk away when people are talking to you.
  4. Text when people are talking to you. At parties.
  5. Weave madly in and out of traffic to gain those two extra car lengths. This is especially helpful if you are on a motorcycle.
  6. Please use your cell phone while you are at the cash register. Extra points if you are the cashier.
  7. Take 32 items to the express lane. Pretend you don’t know how to count. Stare in wonderment at the people around you with 3 and 4 items.
  8. Say thank you only with an automated sign as people leave your business.
  9. Ask customers in your place of business who they are going to vote for. Tell them they are wrong.


  1. Janet Perreault

    1. Tie up six cars behind you as you wait for the driver to unload their groceries, strap the kids in their car seats, apply lipstick and adjust the mirror before she vacates the spot you absolutely must have.
    2.Talk loudly on your cell phone, as though you were speaking into a can connected to a string.
    3. Engage the cashier in lengthy conversation after you have been checked out, mindless of the line of customers behind you.
    4. Wait until the movie theater darkens before you enter and then try to find your seat; best if your travels include hands full of treats and the only seats left are in the center of the row.
    5.Don’t flush.

  2. Audrey Bruce

    Oh, wow, there are so many of these I could name right now! Some of the rude things people do at work really ruin other people’s productivity, too.

    1. Play music loudly or chat on the phone about personal things loudly in your cubicle or shared space.
    2. Using reply-all when a reply would have sufficed, making a conversation relevant to two individuals one that everyone uses time out of their day to read.
    3. Steal other people’s food out of the shared fridge.
    4. Monopolize time at team meetings so you seem especially intelligent or useful to higher ups, but only really waste coworker’s time.
    5. Criticize harshly. Everyone needs constructive criticism, but being negative does not help anyone’s work.

  3. Nora Burns

    1. Clip your nails….in the office, on a plane, at a public park.
    2. Use your speaker phone at the office with your door open or in an open cubicle.

  4. Mary Kelly

    Oh Nora, you are so right! Nails! Yuck!

  5. Mary Kelly

    Yes! Sometimes people in offices forget what they learned in kindergarten…….

  6. Mary Kelly

    I totally agree – the tying up of cars, especially when you illegally pulled in front of the store, school, ect so that no one can get around you…….


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