17 Behaviors That Seem Nice but Are Actually Rude

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By Darryl Henderson

Even though interacting with others might seem easy, socializing with different types of people can be challenging. What’s polite to one person may come off as rude to someone else. Here are 17 behaviors that seem nice but are actually rude.

Holding the Door Open for Too Long

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Holding the door open is usually seen as a kind thing to do, especially if the door is heavy or someone can’t manage to open it themselves. However, there is a fine line between helpfulness and rudeness. If you hold the door open for too long, this can actually have the opposite effect as the person may feel pressured to hurry.

Offering Unsolicited Advice

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Although it may be a good idea to give constructive criticism when it’s needed, offering unsolicited advice can sometimes imply that you think the other person isn’t capable of making their own decisions. According to Forbes, when you give unasked-for advice, it sends an underlying and very judgmental message.

Overly Polite Email Signatures

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Every professional email should be polite and formal. However, if you go over the top with your email signature, you could come across as insincere or even passive-aggressive. This can also be frustrating for the person on the other end who is trying to understand what you are saying.

Interrupting to Agree

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In general, interrupting someone else is seen as rude. This is still the case even when you are agreeing with someone else. It sends a message that you aren’t fully tuning into what you are saying and can make them lose their train of thought.

Insisting on Splitting the Bill

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It’s unlikely a group of people eating out will have eaten the same thing, meaning that every meal would be a different price. Therefore, insisting on splitting the bill evenly can be considered rude and unfair by other people, making them uncomfortable.

Constantly Apologizing

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Apologizing is important, sure. But if you say sorry all the time, even for tiny things, it doesn’t come off as very sincere. It might also look like you need more confidence. The Guardian proposes that the only sorry that matters is the one aimed at healing hurt.

Inviting People to Events Out of Obligation

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Everyone wants to be personally invited to someone’s event as it makes us feel included. However, inviting someone to an event out of obligation rather than genuine interest can make them feel like an afterthought or burden, ultimately leading to a breakdown in relationships.

Giving Backhanded Compliments

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Compliments are usually dished out as an act of kindness. However, giving backhanded compliments that have a hidden message of criticism and judgment is not nice to receive. This can leave the other person feeling insulted or resentful about what you have said.

Using Pet Names in Professional Settings

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Pet names are sweet in some contexts such as with a partner or with your pet animal. However, there are times when these types of names are not suitable. For example, using them in professional environments may come across as odd and can make others feel uncomfortable.

Asking Intrusive Questions

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As humans, we are curious beings that want to know about others. While curiosity is a normal trait to have, asking extremely personal or intrusive questions can make the other person feel uncomfortable or even violated, as though you’re prying into aspects of their life they’d rather keep private.

Offering Unwanted Physical Contact

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Physical touch can be can be good in some situations, such as comforting someone when they are grieving. However, not everyone is comfortable with it. Better to keep to a handshake unless you know the person well.

Excessive Gift-Giving

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On birthdays or special occasions, gifts are seen as a normal thing to do. However, this thoughtful gesture can turn to rudeness if you go overboard, people may feel like you’re doing too much or trying to get something from them.

Giving Empty Promises

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While making promises can show your commitment or support,  saying you’ll do something and not doing it can damage trust and make you seem unreliable. Harvard Health Review highlights that sometimes, surface-level actions are purely performative and selfishly motivated.

Overstaying Your Welcome

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Spending time with your loved ones or friends can be a great way to bond with them. However, there comes a time when you need to say your goodbyes. If the host has already hinted the party’s over, you’re venturing into rude territory.

Offering Help When It’s Not Wanted

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Helping someone in need can be a positive thing, especially if they have expressed that they would like assistance. However, if you are going off your own instinct and offering help when it is not needed or wanted, you can make the other person feel inadequate as if you are patronizing them.

Constantly Texting or Calling

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Business Insider suggests that constant texts and phone calls can be seen as a way to monitor another person’s activities. While keeping regular contact with other people is important, constantly polluting someone with texts or calls can be overwhelming and intrusive, making them feel like they’re being suffocated or unable to have personal space.

Publicly Correcting Someone

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If someone has made a mistake, it can be productive to correct them to help them do better. However, confronting them in a public setting can embarrass or humiliate them. Instead, it is a better idea to correct someone in a private conversation so that you aren’t involving other people.