My daughter and I text every day, and in recent weeks, she has texted two questions worth sharing: Why are some people rude? And why is it so hard to talk to a cute boy? I’ll tell you what I told her, though I must confess I know nothing about talking to cute boys.
I think you can lump rudeness into two categories. Some people are rude because they think they are superior to others. Other people are rude because they’re having a bad day and take that out on anyone they come into contact with, even friends and family.
I think it’s fine to tell a rude person that he or she is being rude; just maybe he or she will apologize and try to treat the next person better. But that won’t wipe out rudeness; some people will always feel superior, and we all have bad days.
So what to do? My default position has become to distance myself from negative people, including rude people. At 53, almost 54, I have come to realize that life is simply too short to purposely be in the company of negative people, and I now go out of my way to avoid them. I certainly don’t engage them, which is what my daughter did. She reminded a previously rude classmate that the class’ meeting place had changed for that day. Not surprisingly, he was rude again.
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I told my daughter not to make that mistake again.
As for talking to members of the opposite sex, I turn to the wisdom of my college roommate. Years ago, after a round of golf on campus, we were at a restaurant having dinner when an attractive young woman walked by. We were both married at the time, but he posed the general question: If you asked her out, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Before waiting for me to respond, he answered his own question: The worst that could happen is that she would say no, and you’d be no worse off than you were before you asked the question.
So that’s what I told my daughter: When it comes to the opposite sex, we all fear rejection; that’s only natural. But nothing, literally, is to be gained from reluctance, hesitation, uncertainty.
If my daughter asks a boy if he wants to have coffee, she is no better off if he says no, but she is certainly no worse off. To the contrary, she is right back were she was before she asked the question.
Again, life is short. Why sitting around hoping it might happen?