Is It Ever Acceptable to Be Rude to Someone?


Hi, do certain environments excuse scathing rudeness? I personally try to always be emotionally considerate to gauge people’s receptivity before being direct with them. But too often I see people almost enjoying tearing apart other people emotionally, saying they 'deserve' it due to the needed competence (think Gordon Ramsay or Anne Robinson). To me, it’s one thing to be impersonally rude to convey a point, another to destructively berate. Thoughts? When is rude...too rude?

—Rush, USA


Dear Rush,

No situation in life excuses scathing rudeness, impersonal rudeness, or rudeness of any kind! Even being “direct” with someone should be done with prayer and care, being sure they are ready to receive a needed course correction. If they are not, it will do them no good anyway and will only cause disharmony and unhappiness for all involved.

People who seem to enjoy “tearing other people apart emotionally” are accruing extremely bad karma and will not be happy when the same thing inevitably comes back to them—and sooner or later, it will, without question! Unfortunately, many can people only learn the hard way.

Even though we can never fully control the actions and thoughts of others, we can control our own actions and attitudes. No one should receive berating, harshness, or rudeness from us—for his or her sake as a child of God, and also because it hurts us equally or more, to act that way.

But of course, there are times when we must be firm, strong, or very definite with someone, to try to explain them why what they are doing may be harmful to themselves or others. We may even need to try to stop them from harmful actions, if it seems necessary. But this should never be done with our emotions out of control.

No matter what is going on around us or what we are called upon to do by life circumstances, in our hearts we can strive to remain kind and compassionate to everyone. This is a much better way to live!