If you display these 8 behaviors, you’re being rude without realizing it

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I recently came across a survey in which more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents reported that people were rude or insensitive toward them once a month. 

A whopping 70% said they experienced this at least two to three times a month! 

Now, you might say, “So people are rude sometimes, big deal,” right? 

Sure, some people are rude. 

But I couldn’t help thinking that most of us, most of the time, don’t desire to be rude. Could it be that, at times, we inadvertently cause offense?

Of course. I think we can all agree that sometimes, we unknowingly step on toes. 

With this in mind, today, we dive into eight rude things you might be doing without even knowing it. 

1) Phubbing (aka phone snubbing)

This is a big one. 

This term, a blend of ‘phone’ and ‘snubbing,’ refers to the act of ignoring someone because of our phone. 

And let’s just be honest. I have done it, you have done it. We have all been guilty of it at some point. Checking our phones when they ping or vibrate is almost subconscious for most of us.

In one study, more than 30 percent of participants reported being ‘phubbed’ two to three times a day. Yes, two to three times a day!

You might think you’re just quickly seeing who emailed or messaged you. But what message are you sending to the person in front of you? 

Essentially, it says, “Whatever’s on my screen is more important than our conversation,” and according to a study by Baylor University, it can seriously harm our relationships. 

Sure, there are emergency situations, but how often are those emails or texts actually so urgent that you have to deal with them on the spot?

If you don’t relate to this, well done. If, like most of us, you do, the next time you feel the itch to check your phone while in the middle of a conversation, take a moment and consider the message you’re sending. 

2) Giving unsolicited advice

How many times have you found yourself saying, “Well, if I were you…” without being asked for your opinion? 

We all have. 

While we might think we’re just being helpful, offering unsolicited advice can often be perceived as intrusive or even rude.

It might sound harsh, but unless someone directly asks for your advice, it’s usually best to lend a sympathetic ear and offer support instead of immediately jumping in with solutions. It shows respect for their ability to handle their own situations and implies trust in their judgment.

Sometimes, what people need most is not a solution but a patient listener who validates their feelings.

3) Being too loud

One of the top complaints in the workplace, as highlighted by a Paychex survey, is colleagues being too loud. 

This is a simple one, but another many of us are guilty of without realizing it. 

Rarely do we think of ourselves as loud, but it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of a conversation or when excitement takes over. In these moments, we might not be aware that our voices are raised, overshadowing others around us. 

This lack of awareness can create an uncomfortable environment for those who are not part of the conversation or who are engaged in their own activities.

For many of us, it’s time to be more mindful of this. 

4) Neglecting to introduce others

Ever found yourself in a social situation where you feel like a fish out of water, not knowing anyone around? It’s an uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it? 

Now, imagine being the person who can ease that discomfort but doesn’t.

When you’re in a social setting with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces, it’s common courtesy to introduce people to each other. Failing to do so might not seem like a big deal, but it can make others feel ignored or overlooked.

If you can relate to this, make sure to take the initiative to introduce everyone next time you are at a social event. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way in preventing unintentional rudeness.

5) Accidentally dominating the conversation

Just the other day, I was having a chat with a friend of mine, and he said, “Man, this guy just loved the sound of his voice!” 

I know the “guy,” and he’s typically polite and quite reserved. It surprised me to hear someone saying something like this about him. 

It got me thinking – isn’t this a common trait we all occasionally display without realizing it? 

Imagine you’re at a gathering, and you’re excitedly sharing about your recent trip or your promotion at work. You’re so engrossed in your tale that you don’t realize the people around you are barely getting a word in edgewise. 

We’ve all done it. 

However, if we’re not giving others the chance to share their thoughts and experiences, we’re not only missing out on potentially enriching conversations but can also come off as rude without even realizing it.

6) Showing up late

This one is pretty simple: Being late sends a clear message: “My time is more valuable than yours,” even if that’s not our intention. 

And according to experts like psychologist Linda Sapadin, this harms our relationships because people feel like they can’t rely on us. 

The bottom line? 

Punctuality matters. It shows respect for others’ time and commitment. 

Maybe you’re not guilty of this one. If that’s the case, kudos to you. If, like many of us, you are, start aiming to not just be on time but a little early. 

7) Not making eye contact

In the era of smartphones and constant distractions, maintaining good eye contact seems to have become something of a lost art. But why is this so important? 

Simple – eye contact is one of the most powerful ways we communicate respect and attention to others.

Studies have shown that eye contact can help build stronger relationships. On the flip side, avoiding someone’s gaze, especially during a conversation, can come off as disinterested or even rude.

It’s not about staring the other person down but about showing that you’re genuinely engaged in the conversation. 

Look, many of us think we do this, but the truth is we often overlook it.  Next time you’re in a conversation, just be more aware of it. Check yourself. 

If you naturally do it, great. If not, well, then you know there’s some room for improvement. It’s a small change that can greatly improve your communication skills. 

8) Giving a limp handshake

I will always remember my dad emphasizing the importance of a firm handshake when I was a teen. He’d say, “Your handshake is your introduction before you even speak.” 

And he was absolutely right.

A firm, confident handshake reflects assertiveness and sincerity, whereas a limp handshake can convey disinterest or lack of confidence. It’s a mistake easily made, perhaps due to nerves, distraction, or simply not recognizing the strength of our grip. 

However, the impact of this small gesture is far-reaching.

It’s a subtle way to show engagement and respect. 

The bottom line

Being aware of our behaviors and how they affect others is essential. 

We all unintentionally come across as rude from time to time, but with a little effort and self-consciousness, we can avoid many of these social missteps like the ones we covered today. 

Until next time. 

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Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business.

As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys.

In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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