TODAY   |  December 12, 2012

How to deal with rude people

We’ve all had to contend with somebody who is having a bad day and may not feel like spreading holiday joy. TODAY contributor Harriette Cole and Dan Bova, editor-in-chief of Maxim magazine, share some helpful ways to deal with rude retail shoppers, salesclerks and co-workers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you live in a big city like new york, you probably deal with this every day, rude people . it's especially true during the stressful holiday season .

>> whether the person who cuts you off in line or a sour puss coworker, there's a right and wrong way to handle it. here with some advice, harriet cole and dan boba. hey, kids.

>> hey!

>> holidays bring it out. everybody's in a rush, busy.

>> they wait until the last minute. for those people who do buy holiday gifts and are getting ready for it, they are rushing. when you're rushing and you're stressed, it's, you know, recipe for bad behavior.

>> i think the problem is when someone's rude to you, there's a reaction to be rude back because you think i can't believe someone jumped on me like that. my initial reaction is usually to go right back.

>> you pull a switchblade on them is what you're saying.

>> the golden rule is better. if you act the way you want someone to treat you, it usually helps, but sometimes it's really tough.

>> guy did that to me in the elevator today in the apartment, coming down, stopped at the gym, he's all ready to go, ignoring, i said you have a nice day, he just gets off. i said you too, you too. you have a really good one, god bless you. i just kept talking to him.

>> what if it's like a sales clerk , someone you've been waiting in line --

>> they are supposed to be serving you.

>> i think the mistake that a lot of people make is to say, well, i'm taking my money else where. that's what they want, they don't want to be working. you have to put it back on them, pay with penniepennies, make their life miserable.

>> you say no, go to a supervisor.

>> they are supposed to be trained for this moment. many of these people, this is their only time working even because of the economy you have extra people coming in. go to the supervisor and say this was an unpleasant experience, might want to talk to that person. not going to scold, but your employee needs some support. and i wouldn't spend money there.

>> there's a big department store here in new york where that's happened twice to me. you know, i'm not going to shop there. who cares if it's me?

>> what if it's a coworker, as opposed to one-time thing that's a sales clerk .

>> they are rude when?

>> in general.

>> office party, somewhere.

>> at the office party or during the holidays, people get very emotional, which is what we often don't realize.

>> they are alcohol infused.

>> even during the day sometimes people get sentimental, they start thinking about what they have or what they don't have and then they can have an attitude. so i think compassion helps a little bit. you think what could be going on with that person. just check in with the person. how are you doing today? seems you're having a hard day .

>> what do you think?

>> i think you have to give people an earful. if you're too nervous to say it, this is a trick we like to do a lot. sneak into their office and put a glob of vaseline on their earpiece, go back to their cubicle, hello? done, done. it will never happen to you again.

>> there's an angel way and devil way.

>> what about a complete stranger. walking down the street, someone bumps you and you're so tired, really, not even an excuse me? should you say or do anything?

>> i say keep moving. i have seen that happen when someone said something right outside my office on 14th street and it almost broke into a fight. how dare you tell me i shouldn't bump into you. a convoluted way of thinking.

>> excuse me, you can say it and let them know you're aware they are a jerk.

>> i think you did it perfectly. if you use humor, diffuse the situation. but if a person is bigger than you, in my case, everyone else on earth, just walk away.

>> when is your child, because this has come up, if someone's rude to your child, draw the line. you want your child to know there are boundaries. if someone becomes rude to my daughter, excuse me? this is my daughter.

>> oh! scary mommy.

>> learn what's appropriate.