Rude Remarks

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita, is it ever appropriate to call out a client or co-worker for being rude? Do you have any tips on how to do this so I don’t sound like the rude person?

Dear, “Rude-y,”

There’s no doubt about it, people get heated up over things at work and have a tendency to lose their cool. I have heard and seen it all, from boardroom blowouts to in-person insults and even phone call finger-pointing — imagine that!

To answer your question, I definitely think it is appropriate to call out a client or co-worker for being rude. Unfortunately, sometimes people need to be put in their place in order for business relationships to continue.

Not fun and definitely not easy.

Here are a few word tracks to consider when, or if, faced with this situation:

  1.  “Excuse me  for interrupting, but I can sense you are becoming very frustrated with <XYZ>. I think we are likely to come to a resolution if you would please lower your voice.” (Or control your temper… or whatever the case may be).
  2. “Mr. X, you seem to be getting a bit defensive in your tone, would you mind not speaking to my colleagues and me that way? It is becoming counterproductive.”
  3. “I do not appreciate being spoken to that way and suggest we table this conversation (meeting.. whatever) until you have had a chance to cool down. Perhaps you would like me to discuss the matter with your supervisor… I’m sure she (or he) would be interested in hearing about how you are handling this situation.”

The situations may vary and your responses will certainly vary accordingly. The key is to remain calm and professional at all times… even if you’re burning up inside, ready to jump out of your own skin! Maintain your composure and kill them with kindness by using your manners and staying positive… this always gets ‘em! Most importantly, do not stoop to their level – you’re better than that!

I CAN’T WAIT to hear your stories on this one! Please share examples… but remember to keep it clean!

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elicia
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 03:23:04

    Unemployed 2 years and counting i need help!!!
    I was employed at an indoor carousel for 4 years starting in May 2006 i practically came in on scheduled days off to fill in for an employee who fell ill even if it meant canceling my own personal plans on short notice. Within the first 6 months i was being told by the owner that the sales quota quarter numbers were up cant remember the exact percent. Secondly,I have skills that i believe were under-utilized by this company i am bilingual to a point i speak spanish,french,english any a few others and i took intercomputer application courses in excel spreadsheets,access,miscrosoft word,microsoft powerpoint in highschool (now granted a little rusty) i was known there as international boulevard. In 2007 the economy was going down but business was steady through out the entire year until the mall i worked at removed the ATM’s and business plumpted around Nov.2007. Third by 2008 the mall had less foot traffic even with a “santa claus” there for photos and easter bunny of course. 2009 was steady but slower and the company reduced bonuses/ raises and the owner started complaining more about the quota was down you cant force someone to buy a token. March 17th 2010 i was asked to resign,my resignation letter does not list why i was let go Washington State is an AT Will Work State.To the Point i was a Cashier who just happened to push a button to start amusement ride.Sell Pre-packaged Cotton Candy and Clean the Amusement ride while Answering Customers’ questions and concerns appropriately in multiple languages mentioned above i speak around 10 different ones.
    How can i pre-package these skills so i can get hired and which types of jobs can i transfer these skills to? i need help.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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