I know, I only post once a week. This is an exception. I promise.
But after listening last night to President Obama remark at the Tucson Memorial, “How we treat one another is entirely up to us,” I knew I couldn’t wait until next week. I agree with Obama’s words and want to provide specific ways for people to express their differences without resorting to bad behavior.
Here are the 6 approaches (from one of last year’s blogs Ways To Restore Civility in Today’s World and included in my new book GREET! EAT! TWEET!) that provide specific actions so we don’t have to mirror the impolite actions of others.
1. Don’t attack back. Remember that someone else’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. Though it may feel good to respond in kind if someone is rude to you, it rarely achieves anything positive.
2. Talk to the person. If you are experiencing difficulty with someone, having a discussion with him or her may help. You can evaluate an idea without attacking the person who is promoting it. Saying, “Your suggestion doesn’t work for me, and here’s why…” is a lot more productive than screaming at people or calling them names.
3. Use courteous behavior. It’s hard to be nasty to people who are nice to you. Keep “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in your vocabulary. Do not ignore others; greet them when you see them. Help others when you can.
4. Avoid inflammatory words. Using harsh words, such as “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “fool,” only inflame a situation, and make it less likely you’ll reach a positive resolution. Cursing at people is just mean.
5. Admit your errors. Saying to someone, “I shouldn’t have said that, or done that,” goes a long way in maintaining good relationships.
6. Stop complaining. If you don’t like something, don’t complain about it, do something. Get involved. Join organizations. Politely object.
And if none of these techniques seems likely to help in your particular case, try to walk away from a difficult situation before it gets hostile.