How to be Cool; Why People Are Rude
It seems that a lot of people are rude these days.
Here is a short list of rude things people do:
- Scowl –Stop giving the “too cool for school” look, people. Seriously. You just look depressed.
- Cast critical glances – “Who do you think you are with your flat front trousers and white shirt with rolled up sleeves? What a poser!”
- Dismiss people who smile or say hello – When I say “Good Afternoon” to the old Armenian ladies in my apartment complex, they just stare back at me with their steely-eyed gaze. My guess is that they’ve been conditioned by young men back in Armenia who say “Good Afternoon” and then stab people in the stomach. They’re thinking, “He’s part of that ‘Good-Afternoon gang!’”
Don’t get me started on the things people do in traffic!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “how does this make me cooler?” I’ll get to that in a moment. Bear with me.
I realized some time ago, the reason why people are rude. It’s the same reason they’ve been rude for decades. It’s because they want to seem important.
How does being rude make one seem important?
Q: Who are the most polite people in society?
Unconsciously we make an association between courtesy and servitude. No one wants to appear to be a servant (not even servants, really).
Unconsciously, we fear that if we are courteous we will get walked on or dismissed. If we act like a jerk, we’re telling everyone, “you’re the servant and I’m the master.”
This is rubbish. People who do this are worthless. No offense.
On the bright side, if you are one of these people, it can be easily remedied. Read on.
The problem with this perspective of the world is that it’s accurate. It’s true that if you’re polite, some people will perceive you as weak. However, this is not necessarily the case. Consider movie stars. Whenever you see one on a talk show, they are super polite, and they are always respected. “That’s because they’re rich and famous,” you say. Not so! There are lots of people are polite and yet still command respect. But why? What differentiates these people from those of us for whom courtesy inspires disrespect?
Before you read the next bit of genius, I’d like to shamelessly promote my own personal project:
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To differentiate one’s self from the servitude style of courtesy, one must simply be charming. Being charming suggests that you are at ease. Being at ease suggests you are in control. Being in control suggests confidence. Confidence is the single most attractive trait in a person.
Learn to be charismatic. Old movie stars are a great example of this. The most charismatic star of all, in my opinion, was William Powell. A close second, Clark Gable. Watch Cary Grant or Gregory Peck or Sean Connery. Modern examples are Tom Cruise (love him or hate him, he’s one charismatic man) Mathew McConaughey, and Robert Downey, Jr.
If you can be aggressively polite, like these men, not only will you be able to retain some semblance of dignity whilst being courteous, you will be shown respect far beyond the respect of those around you who demand it through rudeness.
So, the next time you’re in a restaurant, or in a line, or in traffic, or talking to your girlfriend or wife or mom, be as courteous as a waiter and as charming as Tony Stark. Then sit back and enjoy the positive attention. I promise you will be the coolest, most respected, and most attractive person in the room.