How to stand up to a bully

June 17th, 2008 - 1:09 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 16 (ANI): Rude behavior can make you want to scream, but confronting a rude person isn’t easy either. And so, a leading researcher has come to your rescue with a new book.

Johns Hopkins University’s resident civility maven P.M. Forni has provided some advice in his new book, “The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude.

A crucial question addressed by Forni: “How can one become the kind of person people are less likely to be rude to?”

His answer: If we are consistently considerate, even in the face of rudeness, others will often match our behavior.

That, he says, is the civility solution.

“Although we cannot hope to ban rudeness from our lives altogether, we can limit both its occurrences and its impact,” says Forni, a professor of Italian literature and director of the Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins who has worked for more than a decade to illustrate the connections among civility, ethics and quality of life.

“When we handle it well, we feel good about ourselves and reap other substantial benefits, such as healing wounded relationships. Being prepared is half the solution to any problem, Forni adds.

In the book, Forni does not advocate angry confrontations. Rather he believes in speaking up in defense of common decency and going out on a limb to let someone know you’ve been hurt rather than perpetuating the cycle of incivility.

“We teach others how to treat us by how much we are willing to endure from them,” Forni says.

“It is better not to endure even micro-indignities if they are really bothering you. Find the strength of character to confront that person in an assertive, non-aggressive way and say, ‘This is how I feel when you say that, when you do that. I really wish you didn’t.’ If you keep everything bottled inside, that person will do it again, Forni adds.

An example of the user-friendly advice in The Civility Solution for dealing with such sticky situations is “The SIR Sequence,” Forni’s shorthand for “state, inform and request.”

Namely: state the facts, inform the other person of the impact he or she has had on you and request that the hurtful behavior not be repeated.

“Do so politely, firmly, and unapologetically. And do it sooner rather than later. You will be more effective and won’t have to dread doing it in the future, says Forni. (ANI)

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