Why Being Inconsiderate Will Destroy Your Credibility
Can you recall getting through a full day without someone being completely rude to you — or you to them?
We've all been victims (and culprits) of inconsiderate acts. It even seems this adverse behavior is becoming an acceptable social norm.
We love to complain about how disrespectful other people are but are also quick to justify our own insolence.
Moreover, we paint an internal picture of ourselves as kind, tolerant, and understanding. Yet if someone were to take a video of us in the midst of our random acts of unkindness we'd swear it was "fake news".
It's time to stop imitating empathy and emotional intelligence. We far too often treat others without tact or care, and it jeopardizes our reputation.
Let's hold ourselves to a higher standard and eliminate the behaviors that undermine our relationships.
This article is a 5-part guide that discusses the following:
Examples of Inconsideration
There are many different ways in which a person can act inconsiderately. I want to capture a few of them here – not so we can point our fingers at others, but turn the mirror on ourselves.
It was difficult to admit to myself that I've been guilty of some of these behaviors. I imagine it will be hard for you to internalize this list too.
But part of the process of relationship-building is acknowledging where you fall short. So dive in and be real about what resonates.
Being completely oblivious or purposely insensitive to the feelings of another.
Saying, for instance, you'll be somewhere at a certain time and not showing up or arriving late.
Making a promise or commitment and not feeling compelled to keep it.
Causing someone else inconvenience and not apologizing for it.
Acting so ignorant, rude, or crass it's as if you had no civilized training.
Putting on a facade of care or interest in another person but not actually caring about them.
Hiding your true motives by tricking someone into an unfavorable situation against their will.
Dragging others into your state of discontent because you have nothing better to do.
Causes of Inconsideration
I am not a psychotherapist but even if I were I wouldn't be able to list all the reasons why we hurt or upset others.
Instead, I've laid out broad buckets of social and psychological deficiencies that can contribute to perpetual disagreeableness if left unchecked.
You lack self-awareness
You haven't invested enough time in reflection and introspection. So it's hard to detect and correct your off-putting tendencies.
As a result, you behave in a manner that irks others and, to add insult to injury, often seem clueless about it.
You have an unchecked ego
You have a superiority complex and act as if you are more important than others — even though you are not.
Your sense of entitlement means that you position your wants and needs over others.
On the extreme end, this could be narcissistic or sociopathic. But you don't have to have a clinical personality disorder to be an egomaniac.
You have severe cognitive dissonance
There's a significant disconnect between who you actually are and who you want to be or try to portray. To remove this dissonance you resort to irrational behavior and act out of character.
Your confusing behavior triggers other people's aversion to inconsistency and they respond by avoiding you.
You harbor deep-set insecurities
You have an inferiority complex and overcompensate with antisocial behavior.
And since misery loves company, you seek ways to belittle others in an attempt to make them feel as inadequate as you do.
You are too impressionable
Social influence is powerful and we all conform to herd mentality — no one is exempt from it.
Yet some people are overly susceptible to groupthink.
Certain environments or groups may bring out the worse in you. And, your desire to fit in could be stifling your moral compass.
Effects of Inconsideration
Being inconsiderate causes a lot of damage to others. But one of the often overlooked side effects is that it also ruins our own credibility.
People remember what you say and do (and sometimes what you don't) and it can be hard to change these impressions.
Most alarming is the possibility of passive-aggressive backlash and our reputations potentially deteriorating against our knowledge.
People aren't always willing to enlighten you about your flaws. But they may still perpetuate a negative image of you.
You've lost all trust
The more you act in a selfish way the less people will believe in or depend on you.
So if you notice that someone is second guessing, micro-managing, or withholding information from you, it's a clear sign of distrust.
Your network excludes you
If you feel disconnected from your social network and left out of the loop it might not be a coincidence.
It could be that people have qualms about interacting with you so would rather leave you out than risk dealing with your impolite mannerisms.
No one vouches for you
You're missing out on great opportunities because no one is open to referring, supporting, or recommending you.
If the sting of your selfishness is fresh in their mind, someone may even speak poorly about you when given the chance.
You evoke quiet ridicule
Quiet ridicule is a kind of unspoken, passive-aggressive, disdain where someone opts to phase you out instead of calling you out.
Even though your careless or selfish act is hurtful, it might seem too small to make a big deal about.
So instead of being confrontational, the victim avoids you.
You are directly attacked
The Gawker debacle is a painful example of what happens when you piss off the wrong person.
Not everyone will take your inconsideration lightly. You could end up instigating an all-out campaign against your reputation.
This could be anonymously in the form of hacking, stalking, or trolling.
Or it could play out in public, particularly when the person is of higher regard or has more power than you.
How to Avoid Being Inconsiderate
Identity your core issue
Evaluate the list presented above and try to identity one of the areas that resonate most. Writing this article revealed tendencies I otherwise would have never admitted to myself. Hopefully reading this article helps you become a bit more self aware as well.
Being in tune with yourself and your surroundings is one of the most important ways to develop personally and strengthen your interpersonal dynamics.
Sometimes all it takes is stepping outside of your own mind and observing the energy in a room, the mood of another person, or someone's reaction to your actions.
At times we may offend someone and not even know it. Being more mindful allows us to have a greater sensitivity to how our behavior impacts others.
Have no respect of person
I'm not religious but I picked this up from the Bible and it has stuck with me ever since. It means avoiding the tendency to rank order people in your life.
Do you tend to put more weight on social status, wealth, attractiveness, and other superficial measures when judging a person?
Do you treat people who don't rank at the top of your list as if they are dispensable? Perhaps, interacting or engaging with them but then disposing of them when they no longer serve your purposes?
If so, this is a dangerous tendency because you are underestimating someone's value. Allowing pettiness to cloud your judgments means you might not only hurt the other person, but also miss out on what could have been a rewarding relationship.
Recommended Reading & Select References
I was hesitant to write this article because I felt it had a negative undertone. But as I followed through, reflected on my own relationships, and did the research, I realized this was a topic that needed to be addressed.
Science is starting to support what we've known historically and intuitively: we are social beings and are individual well-being largely depends on the health of our relationships.
Here's a short selection of resources that I borrowed from and that are worth diving into, particularly if you or someone you care for struggles with inconsiderate habits.
Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships — Daniel Goleman
What's the Best Way to Deal With Rude and Selfish People — Psychology Today
Cognitive Dissonance Theory — Simple Psychology
How Rudeness Stops People From Working Together — Harvard Business Review
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