E-Community Activity: Dealing with Rude People

Send this message to the e-community of protégés and mentors.

Subject: Dealing with rude people

You can't prevent people, with or without disabilities, from being rude. But you do have control of how you respond. You can develop a positive way of thinking about and dealing with the inevitable situations where you are labeled in a negative way. You can learn to separate your knowledge of the truth about yourself from the way you are described by others. In the following statements, individuals with disabilities articulate how these strategies play out in their lives.

  • Yes, it's not nice when someone walks up to you and says, bluntly, "Hey, what's wrong with you?" But remember that this person is curious. My experience has been that if you tell them about your disability, they are sometimes actually interested....If you educate one person about your disability, dispel one rumor, isn't it worth the anger at the bluntness of the question?
  • It is not impossible, but it is difficult to teach people to be more sensitive and understanding to how we feel when they give us different labels.
  • I don't blame anybody if they don't treat me the way I want to be treated, because I know that they are not in my shoes. They can't see or feel what I see or feel, because they don't experience what I do, and this is their disability. I have so many goals to achieve and dreams to seize, I have no time to stop and hear what they think I am. What they think of me is none of my business.

Others may view you differently than what you know to be true about yourself. The ability to know and value yourself even when others suggest otherwise is key to leading a successful life.

If someone describes you or your disability in a way that you do not like, what are some positive ways to handle the situation?