10 Actions That Are Often Misjudged as Rude, but Truly Aren’t

By Krystal Brown

Get ready to have your mind blown as we explore ten things that people often mistake for rudeness, but are actually not. Brace yourself for a new way of thinking about these behaviors that are often misunderstood.

Messaging You Multiple Times

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You know when the same individual leaves you a voicemail, text message, and email all on the same subject? Do you feel a bit anxious because you believe there is a serious emergency? Also, if it’s not an urgent matter, you could find it annoying because it feels excessive and nearly invading. Usually, the individual sending the texts is experiencing some level of worry, which is why they act in this way. They can be worried about the passing of time, receiving what they need, whether the text will be understood, or just feeling uncomfortable in general. The multiple messages may frustrate you and appear excessive, but to the recipient, they may seem very important and not necessarily rude.

Failure to Return Calls or Texts, Last-minute Changes to Arrangements, or Early Departure

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When a person is feeling somewhat overwhelmed internally, they will often withdraw in some form. This shows up in different ways, such as changing plans, not returning your calls or texts, or failing to see something through to completion. The sensation of overload may result from having a lot of responsibilities (consider parents who balance work and children), being overly sensitive and stimulated, being unhappy and not eager to “pass on negative vibes,” or being excessively occupied. This may also result from a lack of sleep and quiet time, introversion, and social anxiety. 

Using Passive-aggressive Words

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Usually, passively hostile statements are made because the speaker feels uncomfortable communicating directly or because he lacks the skills to do so. If people are open about their anger or frustration, it may be challenging for them to confront the situation. Sometimes they believe that the only choices they have are to disregard it or react passively and aggressively. By speaking out, but in a manner that avoids conflict, you might be able to provide them some respite from their uncomfortable feelings. 

Saying “No” 

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Certain individuals find it difficult to refuse anything, be it a request for help, an invitation, or anything else. They believe it is impolite, egotistical, or unkind to say no. Truth be told, refusing is not at all impolite. Doing so demonstrates respect for both yourself and others. Saying no demonstrates your respect for your time, strength, boundaries, and interests. Additionally, it implies that you value the other person enough to tell them the truth rather than agreeing to do something you don’t want to or aren’t capable of doing properly. 

Not Smiling All the Time 

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Some individuals believe that frowning is impolite, especially toward women. They believe that smiling indicates friendship, joy, and positivity whereas frowning denotes antagonism, dissatisfaction, or unkindness. But in actuality, frowning is not at all impolite. It’s a symbol of independence and honesty.

Refraining From Small Talk

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In social settings or while speaking to strangers, some people believe that failing to engage in small talk is impolite. They believe that engaging in small talk indicates civility, interest, and interpersonal skills, but failing to do so suggests rudeness, disinterest, or antisocial behavior. However, the truth is that avoiding small conversations is not at all unfriendly. It’s a preference signal and it’s totally fine. 

Expressing the Need for Solitude or Space

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I’m not sure why, but it always appears rude to tell people this, although it’s just a part of daily existence to require some alone time or space to ponder and meditate.

The Practice of Making Requests

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No matter what they want—a raise, an appointment, a reimbursement, or even a date—many individuals are reluctant to ask for it. They fear coming out as conceited, entitled, or aggressive. But assertively requesting what you desire is not disrespectful. You’re communicating your wants and requirements straightforwardly and respectfully, and you’re providing the other person the opportunity to react. You are merely expressing a request; you aren’t making a demand or an expectation.

Putting a Conversation to an End

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Sometimes all you want to do is finish a conversation and go about your day. Perhaps you don’t want to spend time with the individual, you’re weary of conversing, or you have other things to do. Whatever the cause, ending a discussion politely and diplomatically is acceptable. You can finish a conversation by declaring that you must leave, thanking the other person for their precious time, or praising them for their insights.

Avoiding Making Eye Contact

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It’s common knowledge that making eye contact conveys respect, attentiveness, and interest. In some fields of study, it is taught that making eye contact is a valuable social etiquette. Eye contact can be very important in professional settings, and some other peculiar situations. However, not everyone is at ease making eye contact, particularly if they are timid, uneasy, or from a foreign culture. Making no eye contact does not indicate that you are unkind, dishonest, or uninterested; rather, it indicates that your method of communication is different.

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