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The 25 Rudest Behaviors—Are You an Offender?

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Tammy is a paralegal who enjoys offering tips and advice to others.

Learn the psychology of rude behavior and read about 25 of the rudest behaviors in the United States.

Learn the psychology of rude behavior and read about 25 of the rudest behaviors in the United States.

The Psychology of Rude Behavior

Rude behavior is on the rise in the United States; that’s what 79% of Americans say. This epidemic is spreading across the country as one rude act inspires another rude act, creating a rudeness spiral.

Here's an example: Someone annoys us while we're driving to work by being a jerk on the road. We walk into work where a cheery person wishes us a good morning and all we can do is grumble. This person takes our grumpiness personally and becomes irritated, taking it out on the next person coming in the door, which sours their mood in turn. The cycle continues on and on.

There is more to rude behavior than just everyday frustration. Many factors influence a person's inclination to be rude, including having an impatient disposition, being in a hurry, or feeling like no one cares about what they feel or say. That said, rude behavior all boils down to one thing:

People who are rude generally don't care about other people!

It's sad but true. Humanity is lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life as people are rushed, stressed, and tired, and take it out on their fellow man.


25. Being Noisy

It doesn't matter where you are, but if you're around people, blasting music is rude whether it's from your car, your home stereo, or in your yard. We can all relate to how irritating it is to pull into a gas station where two or more cars are blasting their bass.

24. Cutting in Lines

It happens all the time at the grocery store, at public events, and at amusement parks. No one is amused. Skipping others in line shows that you think you are better than everyone else and that waiting is below you. In reality, everyone has to wait. That's just life.

23. Interrupting

It is normal for very young children to interrupt adults when they are talking, but adults should know better than to cut someone off while they're saying something.


22. Barking Dogs

Anyone who has been kept up all night by a barking dog knows how terrible it is. You're trying to sleep and all you can think of is how inconsiderate your neighbor must be to let a dog bark non-stop. Parents with babies find barking dogs to be particularly irritating. And of course, there are those neighbors who let their animals tear apart your trash.

21. Not Returning Your Shopping Cart

This should be a simple thing to do but parking lots are full of un-returned shopping carts. We have become so lazy as a nation. Behaviors like this help explain the obesity rate in the United States.

20. Any Form of Disrespect to the Elderly

It seems these days that new generations are not being raised to respect their elders. All people should respect those older than them (though it’s difficult sometimes because there are some cantankerous characters out there). People should show respect to the elderly by holding doors for them and offering them seats if they need one.

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19. Bad Table Manners

Formal dining is no longer standard in the USA, but people should have respectable table manners. Elbows should be kept off tables. No one should reach over the table for food or accidentally shove his or her armpit in a guest's face while reaching for something. Slurping, smacking, and chewing with one's mouth open is offensive and just plain gross.

18. Cutting Off Others in Traffic

Many people think their need to get to their destinations is more important than the safety of everyone on the road. Others get frustrated with bad drivers and are just trying to get away. The truth is that respectful driving on the highways is more than good manners; it keeps everyone safe. Monitor your own driving so frustrated drivers won't have to cut in front of you.

17. Tailgating

Tailgating is when a driver follows the car in front of it too closely and does not allow a "two-second" space between the vehicles, that is, at least the distance it would take a car to travel two seconds at its current speed.

Some drivers think that if they follow the driver in front of them close enough, they can intimidate the driver into going faster or pulling over. This practice is the number one cause of automobile accidents in the United States. Since the cars are so close to another, there is no room to maneuver for either car in the event of something going wrong. This behavior is not only rude, but it can be deadly, even for the tailgater.


16. Littering

Littering includes everything from throwing cigarette butts out the window of a car to not getting trash or garbage into the container it belongs in, or dumping trash on public or private property.

Litter of any kind is dangerous for the environment; it can breed vermin and disease, contaminate drinking water, and take away from the aesthetic beauty of nature. Though burning trash is banned in many neighborhoods in the United States, people continue to burn their trash because they do not want to pay for trash service. Not only does burning trash hurt the environment, but it is also risky and can lead to a blazing, out-of-control wildfire in just minutes.

15. Not Using a Turn Signal

Even though using a turn signal only takes a minimal flick of the wrist, more and more drivers are refusing to use this system of communication with other drivers. Sadly, using the turn signal benefits the one who is turning left or right from being rear-ended or side-swiped on a busy highway.

14. Using the Last of Anything and Not Replacing It

This includes copy paper in the copier at work, gas in a shared car, and especially toilet paper at home!

13. Being Late

Sure, life happens, and we are all late for something sometimes, but those who habitually come to work late with the same excuse are rude and hurt the morale of the office. Not calling to say you will be late is rude behavior; you should call and give others a chance to be understanding, if they want to be. Those who are habitually late for meetings, family gatherings, dates, and work should try setting all their clocks at home 15 minutes ahead.


12. Improper Cell Phone Use

The introduction and popularity of cellphones have caused a whole new class of rudeness. Despite how commonplace these behaviors have become, it is still rude to be texting on your phone while also having a conversation with someone else, to talk on your cell phone during meals, to text or call while driving (which is also very dangerous), to browse the Internet during dates and dinners, and to answer a cell phone call while attending to other business.

11. Taking and Misusing Handicapped Parking Spots

Not only is parking in a handicapped spot rude, but it is also illegal. These spaces are designated for those who need them even though sometimes regular people are shallow enough to obtain a temporary sticker and never part with it. That, however, does not excuse taking the spots if you're not handicapped.

10. Not Teaching or Enforcing Manners in Children

Not all parents are drill sergeants when it comes to discipline, but not instilling any manners in your child only hurts his or her future potential. Allowing children to run wild in public places and letting them scream and throw tantrums is rude behavior.

9. Taking Credit for the Work of Others

This item is a personal gripe of mine since I've been a victim of article theft on HubPages. Taking credit for the work of others can include plagiarism, cheating, and brown-nosing at work. Those who do not have the chops to get ahead in life rarely get very far by taking the credit for other people's work. Despite this, plagiarism is still a social epidemic.


8. Personal Grooming in Public

Grooming in public is unsanitary and offensive behavior. A person should not clip or chew their nails in public, clean out their noses, or brush their hair in places other than the bathroom. Many people find it acceptable to brush their hair in public places, but doing so leaves hair and dead skin cells all over the place. Grooming should be done in the restroom.

7. Treating Store Employees or Waitstaff Rudely

So many people walk into public establishments and businesses with an outrageous sense of entitlement. Sure, if you are paying for a service, you should expect to be treated well, but some people are totally unreasonable and are never happy with what they get.

It seems as if people who are frustrated with their personal life enter establishments and make employees pay for their bad experiences. We have all seen these difficult customers. Anyone who yells at their waitress and sends their food back to the kitchen really needs to watch the movie Waiting to see what kitchen employees really think of your sense of entitlement.

6. Cashiers Who Talk on Their Cellphones and Don't Acknowledge Customers During Checkout

It is increasingly common to walk into a convenience store to pay for gas and find that the cashier is deep into heavy gossip on a cell phone. The cashier doesn't acknowledge you whatsoever and just throws change your way. You can forget about asking this person for directions.

At the same time, many people are on their cell phones while checking out and do not pay attention to the cashier. These same people complain (see item 7) when they don't get exactly what they want.


5. Blocking the Aisles in Wal-Mart and Grocery Stores

This item also reflects people in society who have an enlarged sense of entitlement. Even though everyone must shop for groceries at some point or another, it is increasingly common to disregard fellow shoppers in public.

Many people block aisles in popular stores and make it difficult to get around. They stare at the canned soup on one side of the aisle and park their cart on the other side, making it impossible to get around them. At the same time, these rude shoppers pretend to not see that five people are waiting to get around them.

4. Leaving Messes in Public Bathrooms and Not Washing Your Hands

It takes a surprisingly small amount of effort to flush a toilet. For those readers who do not know how to do this, it merely involves pulling down the small handle on the back of the toilet. It's so simple but it still seems like people get a kick out of leaving public toilets full of waste.

Even worse, more and more people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. These germs are distributed everywhere for the rest of us to enjoy. Hand washing is good for everyone and reduces everyone's chances of getting sick.

3. Driving Slow in the Passing Lane

On any two-lane road, the left lane is designed for passing the slower traffic in the right lane. However, slow drivers have no problem driving 10 miles below the speed limit in the passing lane for the duration of their travel. They either do not see the mounting traffic stuck behind them or ignore the honking of people who would like to pass them.

Many states are finally cracking down on those who do this. In New Jersey and Maryland, the state has designated the left lanes as for passing only. Fines are finally being given to those who rudely creep along in the passing lane. People who drive too slowly cause more accidents than those who drive too fast. These new laws are wonderful for those of us who travel regularly.

2. Talking and Using a Cell Phone in Movie Theaters

According to the Huffington Post, patronage at movie theaters is at a 16-year low. Americans have started turning their backs on public movie theaters not only because of the outrageous price of tickets and refreshments, but because they can't enjoy the movie they have paid an arm and a leg to see because of other rude customers.

People leave their manners at the door of the movie theater because they feel they are anonymous in the dark. Rude moviegoers talk on their cell phones, receive calls, talk to each other, make out, and yell at the screen. Like many Americans, I no longer watch movies in theaters but in the peace and comfort of my own home.

1. Not Picking Up After Your Dog and Letting Them Use the Bathroom on Private Property

Few things infuriate people in America worse than irresponsible, rude, lazy pet owners that let their pets run free on other people's property to use the bathroom. Even worse, they walk them on the leash to someone else's lawn and let them use the bathroom and then walk away without picking it up.

People who take pride in their yards are subject to rude pet owners who refuse to clean up after their pet. Not only is this toxic, disgusting, and nasty, it is actually illegal in most cities that have ordinances against this kind of behavior.

This is not something you should tolerate. If you have a consistently rude neighbor that lets their pet defecate in your yard, get them on camera and take the evidence to your local city or county administrator. If you live in an apartment or condo where this is an issue and management will not address it, tell them that you will take the issue to your county or city who will inspect the property and most likely give them a big fine.

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