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I'm Labeled As Rude And Mean But I Can't Help It

by Vincent
(New York)

I will be in my second year of high school in a few months. I'm very caring and polite when it comes to strangers.

When it comes to voicing my opinion, I'm not afraid to speak up. No matter the topic, I'm very sarcastic. For that, people call me an asshole.

It is very hard to hold back my smart alec remarks. Some jokes are even race related, and I tend to be called a racist. All in all I'm not, I just have a crude sense of humor.

What can I do to change that about me? My first thought is always a sarastic one, which is seen as rude.

My natural facial expression tends to be very gloomy and angry. Most of the time, I'm happy as can be!

So many people come up and ask me, "What's wrong with you? Be happy? Why do you hate life?" It pisses me off when I get asked this, and when I respond with, "I'm not," No one ever believes me.

This eventually leads to me making a comment, or getting defensive. These days all the kids use the word "mean" for everything. Because I become upset, I'm once again seen as an "asshole" or "jerk."

When I try to be nice to people, they always ask what's wrong with me. Why am I being nice, am I feeling okay? Once again, this angers me, causing me to lash out.

Overall, I want people to realize I'm not an ass, and I just want people to like me. Endless amounts of kids in my school think I'm rude and mean. Will there every be a way to change that?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Vincent, and thanks for telling your story here. I truly respect your honesty about your situation. I think that you are sincere in your desire to change, based on what you've written here.

I have some suggestions, which of course you're free to use or ignore, whichever you choose. If you use them, I think they'll help. These are the things I would do if I were in your shoes.

1) Begin a daily exercise in front of the mirror, practicing new facial expressions. You say that your natural facial expression is gloomy and angry, but I would suggest that this is more habit than natural. Habits can be changed, with practice. So, practice these facial expressions, just to loosen up your facial muscles and make it easier for you to smile:

a. Surprise -- pretend that you're really surprised, in a good way. Do this several times, until it starts to be believable.
b. Relaxed happiness -- imagine that you're happy, in an easy-going, cool way. Try to feel the feelings that go along with this expression.
c. Laughter -- fake laughter, pretending that something's really funny. Keep going until it starts to feel real. This is a really good exercise, for a lot of different reasons. If you need to, search YouTube for some funny videos to get the laughter going.
d. Love -- pretend that you're looking at someone you really love, and feeling a tremendous amount of affection for them. Notice how this feels in your heart and your body.

Here's a video that will likely bring a smile or two:

father daughter

2) Follow these journaling exercises on a regular basis, as a way of shifting your inner attitude about yourself and other people.

3) Write down all of the sarcastic things you can think of that you've ever said or thought. This will make you more aware of the sarcasm, and then you'll have an easier time choosing something else to say.

It takes more courage to be kind, Vincent. I think you have that kind of courage. As you do the above exercises, imagine the person you really want to be, and make up your mind to become that.

You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Mar 04, 2017
You're Doing Fine As You Are
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi, and thanks for you comment. Not to worry. You're a unique human being, and you're having to figure out the difficult territory of social interaction. If you think about it, nobody really knows the rules. It just comes easier for some than for others.

Check out this page, which explains social anxiety (which is amazingly common), and also has some basic social skills outlined that might help you.

There's nothing wrong with you. Focus on your strengths and be glad that you're aware enough to make the changes you're making to feel more comfortable in social situations.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Mar 03, 2017
I Think I'm Being Funny But Actually I'm Being Rude
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem. I make comments that I think it's funny and right after I said it I see the expression on my co-workers' faces. I do realize immediately that I crossed that invisible line. I do this over and over again with pretty much everyone.

My intention is never to be rude. It just comes out that way.

I've been pulled aside and talked to several times. Nothing really changes. I try every day to be proper and polite but every once in a while something bad slips out. Now I just talk less and think about my words before I say anything. This has helped a bit. Less talking does equal less rudeness.

I have never been able to change my personality at the core level, where I can comfortably interact with people around me. I just came to the conclusion this is who I am and I just need to talk less. My friends have accepted me with the occasional eye roll and I constantly watch myself at work.

Dec 02, 2016
Wonderful Advice
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the wonderful advice.

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