Six Examples of Workplace Rudeness

Interrupting or talking during a presentation is a sure way to offend a boss or colleague.
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Most working women have encountered some form of rudeness at work. Rudeness in the workplace happens, whether intended or not. Sometimes business and focus can cause co-workers to overlook basic manners. But intentional rudeness can also pervade the work environment and ruffle feathers. Learning to identify rudeness and avoid it is crucial to fostering a healthy work environment. Rather than shrugging off rude behaviors such as interrupting and cussing, point them out to help colleagues build a respectful environment.


    Interrupting others is one way to quickly offend colleagues. It happens sometimes by accident, but colleagues should remain aware of their habits and not cut each other off. Francis Cole Jones at explains that women often interrupt without meaning to. Women commonly agree and encourage someone who is speaking, and in doing so can run the risk of interrupting. Jones suggests that finding ways to agree by using body language, such as nodding or leaning forward, might solve the problem of accidentally halting a speaker or ruining her train of thought.

Omitting Thanks

    Forgetting to say "thanks" is normal and is bound to happen sometimes. But the effect can be severely agitating to a colleague who has gone the extra mile. Not thanking a colleague for picking up the slack, cleaning up the break room, or offering help in a rush can come across as disregard or even entitlement. Set a good example by doubling back and issuing a thank you when you realize you've overlooked someone. It can never hurt, and sometimes it makes a huge difference in a workplace relationship.

Inappropriate Language

    Whether you work in a corporate office or on a pirate ship, swearing is never appropriate during the workday. Even colleagues who seem open minded and nonjudgmental might walk away offended or uncomfortable after hearing someone cuss like a sailor, even if it's jovial. It's best to leave profanity out of the workplace completely and to discourage your colleagues from cussing. Avoid responding when a colleague uses profanity, and she'll probably take the hint.


    Showing up late to work or meetings is a common form of rude behavior. It conveys to colleagues that the person doesn't care whether she inconveniences others. It also causes annoyance for those who care enough to arrive on time and get started promptly. If someone occasionally shows up late, she should apologize to those who are held up or inconvenienced, get right to work and avoid relying on others to catch her up on what she missed.


    Incivility is the act of unintentionally being rude by making insensitive remarks, showing disinterest in others' opinions and demonstrating poor manners. While these behaviors don't involve malice or direct bullying, they do cause distress among colleagues who have to build thick skins to avoid becoming offended. Co-workers should practice active listening and be mindful of comments and remarks about others and their work. Even though one person may have a shield of thick skin, others might be sensitive to criticism and jokes.

Phone Behavior

    Talking loudly on the phone is rude anywhere, but it's especially rude at work when colleagues are trying to focus. Loud phone discussions force co-workers to hear and witness personal matters and are distracting in the workplace. If a colleague needs to take a personal call at work, she should seek out a quiet place to talk rather than blasting her voice through hallways and over cubicles. If she excuses herself to take a call, she'll set a positive example for others.

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