That's so rude
April 12 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

That's so rude | Friday, April 12, 2002

Friday, April 12, 2002

That's so rude

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Rudeness is a growing problem in America, according to a recent study by the Public Agenda research group. They surveyed 2,013 adults and found that 79 percent of them think a lack of respect and courtesy in American society is a serious problem. Sixty-one percent say the problem is getting worse.

Respondents complained about poor customer service, and half said they had walked out of a store in the past year because of it.

Half the respondents also said they often found others' cell phone use to be loud or annoying.

Observing aggressive or reckless driving got the goat of 60 percent.

The results were surprisingly consistent across the country, the lone exception being that foul language bothered Southerners more than folks from the Northeast.

I'd be lying if I said some of these things don't bother me, too - especially the foul language (even more so when it's around kids) and the reckless driving.

But, I figure you can let others' foibles get under your skin only so much without giving yourself ulcers. And, I see examples of graciousness and politeness every day.

My completely unscientific survey of one person (me) suggests that, while rudeness may indeed be growing, so is our cultural sensitivity to affronts. While the use of cell phones in public may send one person's blood pressure skyrocketing, for example, others may simply accept it as a fact of life in contemporary society. While the lack of personal attention in a store can cause apoplexy for some shoppers, there are other possible responses.

I'm not defending rudeness. I'm bothered when others are rude to me, and I'm ashamed when I find myself being rude to others.

Rudeness is, well, rude.

I am reminded, however, that an overt reaction to others' rudeness can be rude in itself.

Christians, of course, are called to be kind and gentle. Jesus never said, "Blessed are the rude," or "Blessed are those who so easily take offense."

Those who show less self-centered sensitivity and more other-centered compassion (even to those they perceive to be rude) are bound to have a more effective Christian witness. Lower blood pressure is just a value-added bonus.

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4/12/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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