We’ve all experienced some rudeness at work—whether it’s serious and emotionally devastating or all in our heads. Especially if you’ve ever worked in customers service. That said, neurotic people have been found to respond to serious rudeness very differently than the rest of us.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology has found that, while the majority of us ignore minor acts of rudeness and respond when major rudeness occurs, neurotic people are more likely to never respond.
Researchers had ninety-two customer service employees at a security company keep journals of workplace rudeness and their responses on eight days spread over four weeks. They were also given personality tests that measured the Big Five personality traits (free example here), which are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Researchers found that people of all personality types ignored minor rudeness most of the time (eighty per cent). However, in cases of major rudeness, most people responded in some way, whether it was retaliating, escalating to management, or forgiving the jerk. Neurotic people, on the other hand, were more likely to ignore the incident.
Interestingly, this same reaction could be related to why highly neurotic people are easier to bully than others.
All this said, the study isn’t making a distinction between healthy responses and unhealthy ones—just responses versus no response. Some responses are clearly terrible ideas (see behaviour in The Wolf of Wall Street), and sometimes it’s best to not respond.
That said, it’s worth taking a personality test. You might learn a thing or two about yourself.
Photo courtesy of Found Animals.