Saturday, 11 October 2014

Rude People - What Are They Thinking?

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where someone does something unbelievably rude or insensitive and you're at a loss as to what motivates them?

At a school function the other day, I passed a woman I rarely see and stopped for a brief chat. (She was standing in line for something and on her own.) We had barely spent two minutes chatting, when another mother (whom I didn't know) came up on the other side of our apparent mutual friend, put her hand on the woman's arm, interrupted the conversation and proceeded to talk about something that not only didn't include me, she made no attempt to apologize for the interruption. And then - the first women moved her body to respond, effectively dismissing me and showing no embarrassment at all.

What am I? Chopped liver?

And it happens all the time. I don't know if it's an American thing or just that I obviously move among RUDE people, but at least if I'm the one in the middle, I have the grace to try to keep two conversations going, introduce one to the other or just look torn. Or something.

It's the same as parents whose kids come up and start talking to them when I'm in the middle of a sentence. Most parents don't even say "excuse me", they just turn to the child and start responding. And forget the "I'm talking, please don't interrupt" approach. Some of these kids just keep on with the "Mom, mom, mom, mom", until they wear the mother down. Not too long ago I was having a conversation with a woman (who was asking a favor of me, I might add) and her not-that-young child was pulling on one arm the whole time. We ended up about thirty feet apart and still conversing! No attempt whatsoever to stop the child.

Just what are these people thinking?


  1. People are rude and inconsiderate - and, obviously, are raising their children to be the same. It's a shame.

  2. I had that happen to me for the first time a few months ago, and oddly enough, the woman who cut in is from Chicago.

    Where I'm from, children are taught not to exclude and that continues into adulthood.

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  4. I think this may be a more regional thing- my kids were raised mostly in 2 states in the American South, and ( completely in accordance with the way I had raised them) there would have been a severe dressing-down for interrupting an adult conversation in the scenarios you describe. As far as the adults go - no excuse for that. Introducing a new party into the conversation and including everyone in it are basics of good etiquette. Of course, etiquette is not taught nearly so much these days- I still remember MrL coming home from a business dinner horrified because one of the new young employees had no idea of how to hold a fork properly. ( the company later sent him to 'business etiquette ' classes.)

  5. The problem is they aren't thinking. Children here are raised to think they're the center of the universe and carry this into what passes for adulthood here. So they aren't being rude to you, you don't even really exist for them.

  6. I wish people wouldn't do that thing in a social situation of talking to you, but their eyes are flickering round the room. I feel like saying "Am I that boring? Please, if there's someone else you'd rather be talking to, just head off. On the other hand, if I'm saving you from that embarrassing situation of wandering round the room on your own looking for someone to talk to, then at least do me the courtesy of pretending to be interested."

    Maybe I really AM that boring.

  7. It does make you feel a bit like that Iota.

    And yes, I suppose they really aren't thinking - not sure if that's any better though.

  8. It's hard not to be offended, but I guess sometimes we need to put up some sort of defensive shield and try not to let it get to us! Think of it as mental rude-git protection gear.

  9. I do the 'talk to the hand' to my kids when they interrupt a conversation I am having with another person. Drives me mental. They don't do it at school, why at home?

    And as for other people's children, I have one particular friend whose child goes out of her way (she is 7) to get her mother's attention when she is speaking to anyone. Climbing on her, hitting her, jumping up and down, screaming... Perfectly normal child otherwise. I want to put her in a straight-jacket and gag her for 10 minutes at a time so I can have a 'normal' conversation with her mother.
    Does that make me a bad person?
    Do I give a shit?

    LCM x

  10. Rethink - Yeah, for some reason last week I took the high road and just said "Anyway, gotta go.", but sometimes I just walk off without saying anything. Not that they notice.

    LCM - I know a few kids that did that. Mental.

  11. I've got ignoring my kids down to a fine art when I'm chatting to someone.....but yes it is irritating when people break off to talk to their kids, particularly in the kind of way you know they probably only do in front of other people. "Now, Lila darling, we don't eat chocolate before 5pm, do we?"

  12. Wait, did you move to Sweden? People are SO rude here - the exact same thing happened to me this morning again, where I was talking to a teacher, then another woman comes up, interrupts the conversation without any apology, and the teacher turns her back on me. WTH???
    People also bump into each other all the time without saying a word. I blame it on the cold climate and that they actually want extra hugs...

  13. I've had that happen too. It's the rudest!
    I think people need a manners refresher they are obviously clueless.


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