5 ways to turn rudeness into something beneficial in the workplace

No one likes to experience rudeness at work, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is both insidious and a wholly negative experience. But surprisingly, a recent study into the experience of rudeness within a mental health context found that it can also be viewed positively, or at least, used in a positive way. Here are 5 ways to rudeness to your advantage.

Professional development: Mental health workers indicated that they thought the experience of dealing with rudeness helped them gain insights into why some clients behaved rudely and allowed them to learn techniques to defuse the behavior. This helps to increase confidence in working with a wide range of clients.

Enhancing resilience: Learning the skills required to deal with rudeness was found to increase emotional resilience. The key lies in seeing rudeness as a challenge to overcome, rather than a full-on nuisance.

Building relationships: Although many relationships begin with politeness, that decreases over time as exchanges become more informal and rapport grows. Later on, communication can include insults, name-calling, and teasing—all designed to signal confidence in the relationship and an increasing level of trust.

Forming groups: Although impoliteness and little insults can be unpleasant, research shows this type of social swearing—sometimes referred to as “banter”—can function as a stress reliever and can make groups closer, even improving worker motivation and morale.

Humor: In some of the examples above, the use of rudeness is acceptable, because it is deemed humorous and can help in relationship development. The important point is that this is mock rudeness, often directed at well-known figures, with the obvious intent of poking fun.

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