ENTERTAINMENT
09/29/2014 02:54 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Rude Are You? 4 Ways To Shape Up

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From excessive cell phone use to obnoxious drivers … from people who interrupt you to those who talk during movies … from those who bark at service staff to others who are chronically late … is there a rudeness epidemic in America? Dr. Phil weighs in on why people behave that way and what you can do about it.

1. Develop Empathy for Others.
Do you say what's on your mind regardless of whether you hurt someone else's feelings? It is your way or the highway? Instead of chewing a waiter's head off for mixing up your order, or constantly interrupting your relatives to get your point across, try to see things from the other person's point of view.

2. Engage People in a Way that Protects Their Self-Esteem.
Do you laugh your friends' expense? Do you always have a sarcastic comment about everything? Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. If you’re making a joke, and you’re the only one laughing, that’s a clue. A lot of humor has a sharp edge to it. If it’s always somebody else bleeding, it may be that you’re hurting other people’s feelings.

3. Find a Better Way to Be Assertive
There’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Assertive people stand up for their rights, while aggressive people often step on the rights of others. You can tell someone the truth and stand up for yourself while still being kind, warm and genuine. Why not speak your mind in a way that leaves the other person feeling better about themselves than when you got there? For example, if the offender is someone you know, make eye contact and call this person by his or her name as you calmly speak your mind.

4. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
I always try to treat everybody with dignity and respect. I might tell them the truth they don't want to hear, but I'm not going to treat them in a way that's without dignity and respect, because I feel like we're all in this together — this human experience called life. Treat others the way you expect to be treated.

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