One of the challenging parts of the MUC – Managing Unknown Contacts – stuff we talked about yesterday is that it can feel really rude. MUC strategies can include brushing by someone with angry-face on and ignoring anything they might have to say, or asking them to stay away from you, or even yelling at them to GET BACK! They might be effective in making you safe from a potential bad guy, but you might end up using them against someone who actually meant well. Or you might feel bad about it even if they really were thinking about hurting you. I can talk all day about how it’s more important for you to be safe than to feel good, but it’s still a hurdle to overcome for many of us…and I think it’s important to acknowledge that so we can deal with it, instead of telling you to just get over it.
After all, a lot a lot of women have been raised with the idea that we must be nice. That it’s impolite, perhaps even “unladylike” to be demanding or even assertive. And even as we grow out of that mindset, sometimes old habits die hard, especially when we’re in uncomfortable situations….like when someone creeps up too close when we’re out in public at the grocery store or when we’re in front of our friends at a party.
We want to be left alone. But some of us are more challenged than others in not wanting to be “that bitch.”
Unfortunately, nice gets used by people to get close enough to hurt you, or to make you do things you don’t really want to do. Sometimes those people want to manuever you into a position where they can do real harm to you (Ted Bundy, anyone?) and other times, people are just socially awkward and can’t catch you dropping “go away” vibes.
Fortunately, you are permitted to be rude. I give you permission. You owe strangers and acquaintances nothing, not even your politeness. Being nice to them helps the world go ’round more pleasantly, but if they’re making your life unpleasant in any way, you don’t owe them kindness. And if your friends are truly your friends, they’ll understand that you needed to be rude to get through to their thick heads.
So, be rude. Whatever that looks like to you. And more. (We’ll talk tomorrow about the specifics of How To Be Rude.)
Then consider this – maybe what you did to get away from That Person wasn’t actually rude at all. It was something you perceived as rude and others would see as just you being reasonable to a person who was getting all up in your face. Firmness and assertiveness isn’t rude, no matter how bad you might feel about using it.
And at the end of the day, you’re being kind and nice to you and the ones who truly care about you. And isn’t it more important to care about your own feelings and the feelings of those you love?