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New Blog for Expectant Parents

I had a great time writing rudeness interrupted and responding to reader comments and questions. Thank you all for your amazing input! I will no longer be adding new posts to this blog, however...

I have a new blog for moms and dads-to-be to help them manage the turmoil, conflicts and embarrassing couple issues that arise during pregnancy.

ViaCord, a part of PerkinElmer, partnered with me on this advice blog located at www.expectingwords.com

Please visit and share your comments and advice. Thank you!



i on New York with host Laurie Puhn

Hello friends,

We're working hard on Season 2 of my television show - "i on New York" on WPXN-TV (the i channel). Please visit my website for details. www.lauriepuhn.com
We've got some fantastic guests this season including Carson Kressley (from Queer Eye), Cheryl Ladd, Richard Kind (from Spin City and Curb Your Enthusiasm), James Naughton (winner of 2 Tonies), Ethan Zohn (winner of Survivor Africa who did something out-of-this-world with his million dollar winnings), Ken Seeley from A& E's hit show "Intervention" and Mike Greenberg from "Mike & Mike in the Morning."

Each "i on New York" episode reveals how my guest is making a positive impact on his/her community. Believe it or not, while many celebrities out there set bad examples for us (see my blog entry below), there are also those select ones who educate, inform and empower us. Here's to them!




Open Letter to Celebrities

Dear Celebrities,

I have your best interests in mind when I tell you that it’s time to wake-up. Celebrity “foot in mouth disease” is epidemic and fans are upset that it’s getting worse. Anyone in the public eye is a celebrity today.

From Tim Hardaways’ outrageous “I hate gay people” tirade, to Michael Richard’s racist rant, Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-semitism, Senator Allen’s election-losing “macaca” comment, Isaiah Washington’s verbal blunder, Harvard President Larry Summer’s career-suicide gender-based comment, Paris Hilton’s snappy slurs and Senator Biden’s communication missteps, people are losing faith in our icons of success and hope. Maybe this is a good thing for us, maybe not, but either way celebrities are losing our respect.

Are you celebrities more racist today than you were 10 years ago or 1 year ago?
I don’t think so; I’ll give you that. But times have changed and you better get used to it. Nowadays, you are never off-camera, your comments are never off-the-record and if you don’t like these facts of celebrity life then change your life and get out of the spotlight. While non-celebrities have the privilege to rant and rave, make a funny joke and tell their friends what hey really think without ending up in the gossip columns or the evening news, you are in the spotlight and you need to be better than that.

My dear celebrities, I am being harsh on you, but I will also give you some practical advice that has worked for me. For those of you who intentionally make prejudiced comments, it is not 1950 anymore. You are a lost cause and your career will soon see the end of the line, so give up now.

For the majority of you who accidentally put your foot in your mouth,
there is hope.

For starters, let me suggest a 3-step approach to preventing celebrity foot-in-mouth disease:
STEP 1: Find the land mines before you step on them. You’d be surprised at how many explosive words there are out there. For example, “articulate” is not a word to use to describe African-Americans. “Faggot” is not funny. Judith Regan’s alleged comment about the “cabal” of Jews is antagonistic and anti-semitic. Words have multiple meanings so learn the meanings before you say the word. Anyone in the public eye should make it a point to meet with groups of people from different races, religions, associations, etc. to have an honest conversation about which words call up offensive meanings.

As a professional speaker on communication and persuasion, I gave a presentation to a group of Statewide Athletic Administrators and I learned (before my talk) that “gym teacher” is a hot-button offensive term. The correct respectful label is “physical education teacher.” Unfortunately, another speaker at this conference (a politician who shall remain nameless) hadn’t done her due diligence and ended up offending the audience. Before my Keynote Address to a tri-state Realtor® conference, I learned that it is an insult to call a Realtor® a “real estate agent” because Realtors® have additional training and a membership in a prestigious association. Whew. I was glad I had maneuvered around that land mine.

STEP 2: Do not give uncomplimentary compliments. You do this when you act surprised that a person is skilled at something. For example, do not say, “She is really intelligent. I never expected that.” Nor should you say, “You speak English so well, for a foreigner,” nor “He’s so athletic, for a gay person.” And of course, the kicker is when you act surprised that an African-American is excellent at something. All in all, it is always an insult when we make a comment that includes the idea (whether it’s just a thought or spoken) that someone is good at something, “for a (fill-in-the-blank) person.”

STEP 3: When you use an adjective, be specific. If you say someone is “clean,” explain what you mean. If you say someone is “savvy,” don’t just leave it at that because savvy could be a good or bad word. If you call someone “evil,” a commonly used word in politics, give an example of a specific example of an evil decision or action, and if you aren’t willing to give an example, then don’t use the word. It’s offensive.

I’d like to think that this approach will help cure the epidemic. I have a lot more advice, but I’m not sure that everyone wants to hear it. In fact, I get the sense that we’re only on the cusp of offensive times.
I predict that 2007 will see more blunders in the news and posted on YouTube we’ve had in the last 3 years combined.
Now go ahead and talk at your own risk.

Your biggest fan,
Laurie Puhn, J.D.
Television host, “i on New York” on WPXN-TV
Author, “Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life” (Penguin)



Girls Gone Good

This week’s Newsweek cover story entitled "Girls Gone Bad" featured the Hollywood girls who are bringing down our family values, or so one might say. Enough already. These girls aren’t destroying the character of young women, we are.

We are the ones fascinated with “prosti-tots.”

We enhance the fascination by watching shows like Access Hollywood and ET that feature Britney’s newest antic. We read People magazine and leave it sitting on the coffee table for our kids to see. It’s time to treat US Weekly like Playboy, the kind of magazine that should be hidden in the back of the closet.

Most of all, parents’ attitudes toward what’s right and wrong for their daughters has been altered by the celebrity tidal wave of over-exposure (in more ways than one). Parents want their daughters to be cool and fit-in because the parents’ egos are rapped up in their kids’ popularity. Parents see what the celebrities and other girls are wearing so, they let their daughters wear crude t-shirts that read “bitch,” revealing mini-skirts and make-up at age 12. Why not? Everyone else is doing it.

Hey, what happened to the word “no?”

When I was 13 years old girls wore strapless dresses to confirmations and Bat Mitzvah’s. I didn’t because my mother said it was “inappropriate for a young girl to wear a strapless dress with cleavage exposed.” “But my friends get to wear them!” I yelled. And the consistent answer was, “I don’t care what anyone else is doing. You live in my house and I pay the bills.” Guess what? I got over it. Nowadays, a strong parent is one who is impervious to comments like “but all my friends are going” and “Lindsay Lohan wore a dress like this.”

Not only do parents need to say “no” more often, they need to present the idea behind the “no.” They need to give their daughters a moral counter-perspective. What is that counter-perspective? To start with, it’s the idea that these girls are riding high on two things, beauty and youth – traits that are both ephemeral and unoriginal. In other words, famous people known for their beauty and youth are a dime a dozen and totally replaceable (as we can tell from playboy Joe Francis’s revolving door of this type of fill-in-the-blank girlfriend). In 5 years time the headlines will declare that some other gang of seductresses are the new “hotties.” Beauty is a nice bonus in life, but what’s lasting is actual talent and upstanding character. If you want your daughter to make her mark on society then teach her the difference between temporary and lasting.

Now this is a hard concept for young kids to grasp, but it doesn’t matter, as long as parents understand the difference between temporary and lasting, right and wrong, and use that concept to help them call up their inner strength to say “no.”



China's answer to rudeness

When an anti-rudeness movement goes too far, it's just rude!

Read the article
Many in Beijing glance disdainfully at coming rudeness ban
Boston Globe - Boston,MA,USA



Mobile Communications are the New Trend at Holiday Gatherings

A new study by T-mobile and Ipsos shows that:
- 67% of people say it okay to use the phone at holiday gatherings
- 70% of people say they have made or taken a call at a holiday gathering

What do you think?

Check this out:



Where have I been?

Alright, so I admit I've been a bit delayed in writing a new entry. I have a good excuse... Most of my time has been occupied with the filming and production of my new weekly public affairs television show "I on NY" with Laurie Puhn, premiering on WPXN-TV in the NY Metro area, Long Island & Westchester. It debuts in the end of December (details to come). I on NY with host Laurie Puhn focuses on issues that matter most to all of us. Each show offers 30 minutes of info-packed conversations to inspire, empower and inform you and your family on issues relating to education, crime, teen guidance, health, fitness, lifestyle and community-related events.

So that's where I've been. I hope you'll check back next month to find out the exact date and time for I on NY.

Oh, and let me add. Now that it's holiday time and many of us will be visiting friends and family, here's a helpful article about how be a respectful houseguest.
Click here

Warm regards,
Laurie Puhn



Smokers and Cell Phone Talkers - What a Mix!


Dear Laurie,

I read your book with intrigued fascination. It has helped things very much, but I had an experience today that I’d love to see you address: I was very tired, sitting in a lovely garden seat (no seats around for a couple of blocks away), quietly reading and finally comfortable, when a young woman came, sat down and began a loud cell phone conversation while facing me frontally. She was incensed when I asked for some quiet, and said she didn’t think she owed anyone any consideration.

It was heated, but I explained I came there first for quiet, and she later at least turned to the side to talk, which I endured. She then smoked a cigarette that was unpleasant. I had worked all day, too fatigued to move, and needed this break. It was nice when she left!

What say you on words for inconsiderate cellphone talkers and smokers?

You are very inspiring—part of the solution, not the problem! Thanks very much for all your helpful and meaningful work!
-Jill Z. Philadelphia


Dear Jill,

Thank you for contacting me. You handled the situation very well. The best idea is to explain the "why" behind what you are asking for (and you did just that). Koodos to you. Most people will reconsider their behavior when informed that they are making someone else uncomfortable. A rare few will argue, and others will exhibit the rude behavior with an even greater intensity.

Regarding smoking, when you are outside and there aren't any empty benches or tables, it is acceptable for a person to smoke near you. It is not enjoyable, but in the outdoors, smokers have the right to smoke. Now, they should be polite and look for the most secluded spot, but if they don't, then it is the non-smoker's responsibility to find a new spot. Of course, there are times when a polite smoker will ask, "Do you mind?" before lighting up. In that case, be honest and say, "Thank you for asking. Actually smoke does make me uncomfortable."

Warm wishes,
Laurie Puhn



Questions from a blog reader in Lebanon

A question from one of our blog readers:

Hello! Just to say a few things about me, I am 26 years old man from Lebanon, and I have graduated in Computer Science (The American University of Beirut), and work within the IT domain ever since. I am now obtaining a degree in psychology.

Concerning your Tech etiquette, I find it very interesting because we're getting into the digital age here in Lebanon and certain standards should be spread and advocated. Maybe this is one of the good ways a great expert (like yourself, and hopefully me later on........) can contribute into making it a healthier and maybe a better world.

I want to pose two points in this regard, and would very much be pleased to contribute in anything you like whenever possible. The two points are (and I know there might be slight cultural "nuances"):-

The first concerns the use of Miss or Misses (Ms. or Mrs.) in the heading of your e-mail when you don't know if the target lady is married or not. What heading is appropriate?

Second, I have a question about the use of "emoticons" at work and whether they are appropriate, especially since it's something that became widely used only with the e-interaction age (e-mails and online chat and blogs).

I look forward to a reply from Laurie or other blog readers.

I remain with my best regards and wishes to everyone!




Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Is honesty always the best policy when it comes to friends?

FACT: In a NEW poll, 52% of Americans say it’s never okay to lie.

FACT: In that same poll, 65% also said it’s okay to lie to protect someone’s feelings.

What’s going on? Are there times when an “honest lie” is appropriate and good?

Yes! There are definitely situations when an honest person should lie. It's not rude and it's not wrong. At times you should deliver an ‘honest lie’ to be kind and protect the interests of a friend or yourself. Of course, lying should not be a slippery slope. Stick to these lies (and these lies only) and you'll be in the right.

4 Honest Lies:

1. The Motivational Lie. Your friend puts in time and effort organizing a vacation for the two of you. While on vacation you think the hotel accommodations are terrible. This is the perfect time to bury the truth and offer a motivational lie so that you both enjoy the vacation. Relay the positive and ignore the negative. Say “Thanks for your effort in planning this vacation. The hotel location is great.”

2. The Keep a Secret Lie. When you are told something in confidence by a friend and then another friend asks you about it, such as “Do you know the cost of Susan’s wedding?” It’s an ‘honest lie’ to say, “I don’t know.”

3. The After-the-fact Lie. When a friend asks, “Do you like the color of my new car?” as you’re riding in it, it is right to respond with an ‘honest lie’ if you don’t like the color. Say, “Yes, it’s nice.” Why? Because it’s an after-the fact situation. The purchase is final and nothing can be done to change it.

4. The Get-off-the-hook Lie. When a friend asks, “How much did you pay for your house?” or “What’s your salary?” you don’t have to reveal the truth because the answer has no impact on your friend. Instead respond with an honest lie and say, “I’m sorry, it’s personal. I don’t share that information.”



What should I do?

Dear Laurie,

I have a friend who is generally a good person, but does some of the rudest things. She'll call me up, ask me what I'm doing that weekend, and then invite herself along! I feel bad so I let her join me, but then whenever she joins in on a group activity she complains about what we're doing. It's a no-win situation. A few of our other friends feel frustrated with her too. What do you think we should do? I've started to lie to her about my weekend plans, but I hate doing that. How can I get her to realize that she's become a burden to us?

In need of help,



Just because they're "Upper Management" doesn't mean they're polite.

Dear Laurie,

I was listening to you today on the Allen Handelmen radio show on FM Talk 101.1 in North Carolina, prior to going to work. Great job! I plan on purchasing your book this weekend. I was unable to get through the clogged phone lines during the radio show, but I had two questions for you.

1. What is the best way to address Etiquette of Upper Management? Often times I am meetings with my Unit Manager (direct supervisor) and other Senior Management and their blackberries are left on the table, they are talking, or working on their laptops. It makes me feel as though the meeting we are in, is not important to them. It is really inconsiderate, but it's hard to try to tell your boss this.

2. How do you address one on one meetings with clients/accounts who take cell phone calls during your meeting time? Yesterday I was in a one on one meeting with an account, they received several cell phone calls during our meeting, however I was being rushed because he had somewhere else to go. What is the appropriate way to address having a mutual respect for one another?

I would appreciate your advice, or suggestions from your blog readers. Thank you!

Sales Manager



5 Biggest Mistakes Couples Make


It's a sad thing that nowadays, people are often nicer to strangers than they are to the people they love. I was recently interviewed on Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends morning show about the biggest mistakes couples make in their relationship. Here's an article summarizing the 5 Do's and Don'ts I mentioned during the TV interview.





Meredith Vieira is Not a BITCH!

And neither is Hillary Clinton or Barbara Walters. They are Savvy women.

The word “Bitch” was said 8 times in 1 hour on national television to describe Meredith Vieira and other women during Vieira’s final appearance as co-host of The View.

Some people say the 5-letter B-word is a term of endearment, but…
9 out of 10 Women Surveyed Say They Would Be Insulted If Called a Bitch.

I say it's time to stop the Rudeness Epidemic! Replace the negative term Bitch with the positive adjective "Savvy."

Our children are learning to say the B-word, our bosses are learning to say it, authors and intellectuals are writing it to describe powerful women. The B-word is becoming normalized, utilized and glamorized, but the meaning is as negative and derogatory as ever.

BITCH: noun
1. The female of the dog
2. a : A lewd or immoral woman
b: A malicious, spiteful, or domineering woman

Calling a man a bastard is an insult, calling a woman a bitch is no different.

Let’s drop the B-word and use the S-word– Savvy – to describe the Strong Modern Woman.

QUIZ: Are you a Savvy Woman?

1. You are a problem-solver. You take the lead in uncovering resources to solve problems at home and at work.

2. You are multi-talented. No situation is too much for you because you tackle whatever comes your way.

3. You don’t take no for an answer. You are willing to work harder, sweat more and outlast anyone to get what you want.

4. You are persuasive. You win people over by giving them the respect and appreciation they deserve.

To all the Savvy Women out there - You are fabulous and don't forget it!



How to Listen... so People Want to Talk to You

by Laurie Puhn, J.D.

"You never listen to me!" Do you recognize this phrase?

Perhaps someone has said it to you and you responded with, "What do you mean? You're talking to me and I'm looking right at you. Of course I hear you!"

"But I feel like I'm talking to the wall," the person responds.

Who's right? Who's wrong?

Hearing is not listening.

We hear birds chirping, we hear traffic in the street, but we don't listen to and respond to these sounds. Listening requires indications of interest with "key comments" to encourage the person to share more. While hearing is inactive and only requires your ears, listening is active and requires your ears, your mind and your mouth.

Use these 3 "key comments" to become a powerful active listener:

1) Reflect emotions: Your friend says, "I am so mad at Julie. She never follows through on her word!" Instead of saying nothing, you should respond with a non-judgmental comment like "I can understand how that would make you mad." The result: Your key comment lets your friend know that you are listening and you understand how she feels. In turn, she calms down and feels comfortable confiding in you, her friend.

2) Summarize: Your spouse tells you about the many things he or she did that day at the office or at home. Instead of remaining silent, you should summarize what he/she said. For example, "You sure did a lot today. From meeting with our son's teacher, to giving that presentation at work, it's amazing how much you accomplish." The result: Your spouse knows that you are listening to him/her and he/she is important to you.

3) Ask Open-ended Questions: Anytime you are in conversation with your spouse, child, friend or colleague, ask open-ended questions to motivate the person to open up and talk. Open-ended questions are: what? why? and how? For instance, you might say, "When you say [topic], what do you mean? The result: Open-ended questions show that you are interested and want to learn more.

"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something."
-Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)(US Screenwriter)



One woman's story of rudeness at home

Dear Laurie,

My husband is a workaholic and he used to keep his cell phone on during our family dinners at home. I had asked him to turn it off during meals, but he would always get mad and say that we can have these nice meals because he works hard all the time. Our kids were getting frustrated (and so was I), but eventually we all learned to deal with it.

When I heard your interview about the rudeness epidemic on Wisconsin Public Radio I was stunned because I felt like you were talking about my family! I think my husband is a nice guy so I never thought about his cell phone during dinner behavior as "rude." Once I thought about his actions in that context, I was able to talk up and persuade him to change his ways. I took your advice and told him that his actions made me feel like he didn't value me or respect my time. I said that he made me feel like he didn't care about having a conversation with me and the kids. We talked through it and he finally realized that his actions were rude and disrespectful.

Laurie, I hope you will highlight my story on your blog because people should have hope that rude people can change their ways if only we take the time explain their impact on others. Let's stop being oblivious and talk up!

Janet in Wisconsin

A blog reader's response to Janet's story...


It was on your blog that I read Janet (in Wisconsin)'s story of how she handled her husband's rudeness during family dinners. I think that listening to your radio broadcast gave Janet plenty of courage to speak to him about this issue, thus persuading him to change his behavior, even if it meant confronting him, or "fighting fire with fire." And I hope that readers of your blog who are facing similar issues will follow Janet's example.

Thank you for highlighting her story! And if Janet's husband relapses, or reverts to using his cellphone at dinner, it is likely that his children will follow suit, and resort to being rude at dinner. And one of their children could even say, "It's a drag having a donkey for a father!", or even end up holding a grudge for a while.




Rudeness, no matter the location...

Rudeness at Barnes and Noble:
Love your idea for dealing with cell phone users at Starbucks! I will definitely pass that on. My problem is with Barnes & Noble. Most of their stores provide tables and chairs so that patrons can take down books and read through them. Problem is, I've bought books at B&N and then found, once I've taken them home that these "browsers" have underlined passages or even torn out whole pages! It's a shame that creating welcoming environments will invite abuse both at Starbucks & Barnes & Noble

Rudeness at work:
I can't stand rude people. There is a woman at my office who always finishes off the coffee and doesn't make a new pot. She is so inconsiderate! The next time I see her doing this I am not going to keep quiet, but I am not going to yell. I am going to politely ask her "Are you in a rush? Is that why you can't take a minute to refill the coffee maker?" Perhaps this will make her aware of her rudeness!



Are you a good boss?

Are you rude to your assistants?

FACT: The #1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor.

FACT: At any given time, over 50% of the working population is thinking about leaving their job. Those who decide to stay cite an excellent relationship with their boss and the enjoyment of their work as their reasons to stay.

CONLUSION: Bosses who appreciate and value their Assistant’s efforts on a daily basis maintain a lower employee turnover rate and a higher productivity rate than the bosses who don’t. Why? Because employees who are appreciated and valued for their work respond by valuing and appreciating their bosses. The result is employees: 1) stay at their job longer, and 2) work harder because of the recognition they receive from their boss.

Take the Boss Evaluation Quiz. Are You a Good Boss?

1) Do you give positive feedback to your Assistant on a daily basis?

2) Do you ask your Assistant for his/her opinions and suggestions?

3) Do you clearly define job duties and deadlines so your Assistant knows how he/she fits into the scheme of things?

4) Do you find opportunities to praise your Assistant in public?

5) When something goes wrong, do you give your Assistant time to explain what happened before you rush to judgment?

If you answered “Yes” to all 5 questions – You are an “excellent boss” who is a wonderful role model for your company. You recognize the importance of positive interpersonal relationships in the workplace environment and how those relationships connect to the overall success of your company.

If you answered “Yes” to 3 or 4 questions - You are a “satisfactory boss” who should consider making some changes if you want to raise the motivational level of your employees, achieve professional success, and retain your current assistants.

If you answered “Yes” to 0 to 2 questions – You are a “bad boss” who is rude to your assistants, reducing productivity and promoting employee turnover. You should get help in the area of interpersonal communication skills…immediately!



Our Blog is in the News!

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for all of your questions and comments. The blog is sparking interest across the country. We're in the news today...

Rudeness awakening
New technologies require modern sense of etiquette
BILL HUTCHENS; The News Tribune, April 10th, 2006

Laurie Puhn is becoming the online Ann Landers of new-millennium manners. If you have a question about etiquette in the age of information, just ask the Harvard attorney and communications expert.

“The ruder the world gets, the better it is for people who are polite because it only gives us a competitive advantage,” Puhn said during a recent phone call.

Puhn, who writes the blog “Rudeness, Interrupted” and wrote the book “Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life,” has appeared on several TV news and talk shows to discuss tech etiquette – and the growing culture of rudeness in the world...

Click here to register for The News Tribune & read the full article.



Are Men or Women Ruder?

Andrew said...
Here's my problem with rude people - I live in a NYC and date a lot. My pet peeve is women who don't call me back. Even after we've been on a few dates, some women think it is okay to ignore my phone call if they don't want to go out with me again. I understand that this is their attempt to let me down easy, but I think it's just plain rude! I have to waste my time wondering whether she got my message. I wish someone would tell women that men prefer honesty to evasion.

Mariposa said...
To the gentlemen who wrote about women not returning his phone calls and men "preferring honesty to evasion," well, you all have certainly fooled us! You, sir, must be the only decent man in new York City. I cannot count how many times I have called a man after a date to thank him for a lovely time only to have that call ignored. It can be argued who started the rudeness, but it seems to me that men and women are just fighting dishonesty and evasion with dishonesty and evasion. This is not right, but it needed to be pointed out. As for me, I will continue to be who i am, and I hope you will too.

What's your opinion? Who's right and who's wrong? Click on comments to chime in.



Are your In-law's this bad?

Featured comments from our blog readers:

I have an in-law who constantly comes to the state I live in. Doesn't inform me she is coming. Then proceeds to call other inlaws to invite them to my home and another relatives home. By the time we find out this other inlaw is planning a family reunion at our homes. All the family members have planned to come and just call to TELL us they are coming!!!!! THIS IS RUDE!!!!!!
-name withheld for obvious reasons

Let's not forget the habit of tailgating. Nothing says, "I have no respect for other people" more than people who aggressively intrude on other people's space. It's being inconsiderate of their health and safety, as well.



Prepare Yourself.

According to the results of our recent survey on www.lauriepuhn.blogspot.com, someone will be rude to YOU this week.

- 70% of survey respondents said they experience rudeness 3 or more times a week,

- 20% of respondents said they experience rudeness 1 to 2 times a week, and

- 10% said they rarely experience rudeness (perhaps these 10% are the same people who are rude to the rest of us...).

So what can we do about this? How should we react to rudeness?
Consider this: the best way to knock the chip off someone's shoulder is to pat him on the back.



The Golden Rules of Tech-etiquette

Are you a Techno-pest or do you use...
The Golden Rules of Tech-etiquette
Author: Laurie Puhn, J.D., © 2006
Harvard attorney, communication expert, best-selling author of Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life,
and host of the popular blog Rudeness, Interrupted
Rule #1: Don’t be an “Exhibition talker,” who forces strangers to listen to your lengthy cell phone conversation when they have no way out because they’re standing in line at the post office, waiting in a doctor’s office or sitting on a bus, plane or train.

Rule #2: Don’t be a “Techno-pest” who types e-mails while talking on the phone. The tapping sound of the keyboard indicates your lack of interest in the conversation.

Rule #3: Don’t say “excuse me” in the middle of a conversation so you can rudely answer your cell phone and casually talk to someone else for a few minutes or more.

Rule #4: Don’t cause “Cell bump” by making someone bump into you when you stop short to grab your ringing cell phone from your purse or jacket.

Rule #5: Do begin your e-mails with a greeting like, “Hello” or “Good Morning.”

Rule #6: Don’t be a “Crackberry” addict and tap away on your blackberry or text messaging device while in the middle of a face-to-face conversation with someone.

Rule #7: Do reply to e-mails with “Got it” or “Thanks” whenever someone e-mails you information you requested, even when that person doesn’t ask you to confirm receipt.

Rule #8: Don’t use e-mail as a tool to say something you would not have the courage to say in person. Expect that one day you will face that person and he/she will remember every word you wrote.

Rule #9: Do remember that an e-mail reflects your personal image. If you misspell words, it could indicate to some people that you are lazy or lack education.

Rule #10: Don’t discuss personal or revealing information on your cell phone when in public. Assume that whatever you say about yourself or others will appear on the front page of The New York Times.

Read Instant Persuasion for the “must-know” communication do’s and don’ts.
Reprints of The Golden Rules of Tech-etiquette must credit the author along with credentials and website.

Click here to download and print out your copy of "The Golden Rules of Tech-etiquette" by Laurie Puhn, J.D. (c) 2006. You may want to post this in your workplace for others to see!



How Rude is This?

Dear Laurie,

I have a friend that I have sung in a choir with for 10 years. She has always been overweight until she recently found out she has adult onset diabetes. She has been following the diet and taking the medication and is dropping weight. I, on the other hand, was thin when I met her 10 years ago, and with menopause and age have put on 20 pounds. I have been on diets during those 10 years and lost the weight, but right now it is not coming off like it has in the past. All of a sudden, she is the expert on losing weight and has all kinds of unsolicited advice and criticism for me. She has quite a forceful personality, but I am no pushover either. I'm finding it difficult to spend time with her lately. I do not know what to say to her to tell her to mind her own business. Is there a way to say it diplomatically so that we can remain friends? What is appropriate?


Dear Theresa,

Your friend is being rude when she gives you unsolicited advice and criticism. What can you do about it? Use the 3-step "Rudeness Cure" to determine what to say:
Step 1: Ask yourself, "What do I want?" From your letter it appears that you do want to remain friends with her, but that you'd like her to stop giving you advice when you haven't asked her for it.
Step 2: Stand in her shoes. She is proud of her weight-loss and is probably looking for affirmation and approval from others.
Step 3: Let her save face. You don't want to accuse her of being a know-it-all because that would start an argument and worsen your relationship.

Bring it all together and say something like this: "I'm really happy for you and your weight-loss success. You look great! I can see that you know a lot about how to lose weight, but right now, I'm not interested in talking about how I can lose weight. In the future, if you could hold off on giving me dieting suggestions unless I ask for them, I would really appreciate it. Can you do that?"

Now that's persuasive!



Are You Rude? Take the Quiz.

As a consultant for the recent ABC News 20/20 program on rudeness, I designed the Quiz: Are you Rude? Visit http://abcnews.go.com/2020/US/story?id=1577055 to take the quiz and see the results from thousands of other people who took it. Enjoy!



Top 5 Rudeness Pet Peeves

Juan read the blog post from Jan. 23 and responded by sending in his Top 5 Rudeness Pet Peeves. Do you have some of your own? Send in a comment below and we'll post them on this blog!

Juan's Top 5 Rudeness Pet Peeves:

1. Talking very loudly on the phone in public with absolutely no concern for people around them.... These people even ignore other people's negative body language to carry on their conversation.

2. Laughing/Yelling/Talking VERY loudly among friends while ignoring every other person around them.

3. Bluetooth!!!! I love the technology, but I HATE, let me repeat, i H-A-T-E all the idiots who use bluetooth headsets and talk like they are alone in their house....this happens alot in: busses, busstops, classrooms, cafes, etc.

4. Sitting down by yourself with a group of people blocking the stairs.

5. My fellow student's cell phone rings once during class and she/he goes "..oh sorry.." Then , 30 minutess later: riiiiiing... again she/he goes "...sorry.." How about turn the f*****g cell phone?? or at the least put on vibrate

Seriously... if you want rudeness, come spend a day with me, seriously....I HATE RUDE PEOPLE, and it will sadly get only worse :(p.s: thanks for the blog!



Watch ABC News 20/20 Tonight, Feb. 3, 2006

As a consultant for tonight's ABC 20/20 program on rudeness, I am delighted that the TV show will discuss one of the biggest cultural problems our nation faces. As you watch 20/20 tonight listen for the Rudeness Quiz (designed by me, Laurie Puhn, for 20/20). If you miss the episode, you can take the quiz on-line at http://abcnews.go.com/2020/US/story?id=1577055 After the show, please come back to this blog to share your thoughts with the rest of us.


Rudeness at Starbucks?

A blog reader's experiences: Twice a week I go to the local Starbucks in NYC. to read the papers and have a drink of green tea. It happens to be a small one and as a result people are always asking if they can share my table for two. Because of the constant cell phoners, I've come to the point of answering "Not if you have a cell phone". Most of the time it brings a smile, but those that intend to receive or make phone calls get angry and walk away or sit down any way. I have a watch that talks so when the cell phone gets a call I switch my talking watch on the the sounds of roosters crowing and a variety of other "alarm" voices. That usually sends them away. Starbucks has become a giant phone booth and most cell phone users sit there without buying ANYTHING. There ought to be a separate room for these inconsiderate people. Maybe if they were all in one room and talked over each other they'd know how annoying they are. I could tell you stories about the jerks that get on the elevator in my 40 story hi rise, sometimes 3 at a time and nothing inhibits them from talking. I never say anything because I know I'll be off the elevator sooner or later.



Is it rude for my boss to call me by my last name only?

Dear Ms. Puhn:

Is it rude for a supervisor to address an individual in a professional setting by their surname? I contend that it is. Using my surname as an example, "Abernathy, there's an assignment for you." I would think that proper etiquette requires the statement to be, "Mr. Abernathy, I have an assignment for you," or "Dan, I have an assignment for you." I found the use of my surname objectionable and contend that I am correct. Could you give your opinion, please?
-Daniel Abernathy

Dear Mr. Daniel Abernathy,

Your boss is making a communication blunder when he calls you by your last name only, without your permission to do so. Your boss does this without thinking and, in fact, may view it as a sign of friendship. Since this communication blunder is a problem for you, here's the solution:

Use the rule "Complain with Impact" from my book Instant Persuasion. Let your boss save face and present him with your complaint and a solution at the same time. Ask your boss for a few minutes of uninterrupted time. Tell him "I value working at the company and enjoy working you, but I'm uncomfortable when addressed by my last name only. I would appreciate it if from now on, instead of calling me "Abernathy" you call me Mr. Abernathy or Dan. Can you please do that?"

Remember that you don't have to accept anything the way it is. Your words are your power. So if you think someone is being rude to you, speak up persuasively, diffuse the situation, and ask for what you want.

Best wishes!
Laurie Puhn, J.D.

Jen, one of our blog readers had this to say:

I work at a retail store where the norm is to call everyone from the lowliest door greeter to the manager himself by his or her first name only. I don't like this. It's always been my understanding that we use each other's last names in our speech as a form of respect. And we should always preface it with the correct form of address: Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Miss. I think it erases the boundaries between employer and employee a little when that reminder to be respectful is left out.
Rant over.



What to do about a LOUD talker?

There's this person that rides on our local transit bus every morning. She talks and talks and talks. When she stops, it's not for very long. When she speaks to someone that person has to "Jump in and fast" to get a word in edgewise. She is hard of hearing in one ear, so she talks REALLY LOUD and the drivers have tried to get her to quiet down, but they fail every time. I tried non-verbal hand messages and facial expressions to let her know that she should stop talking, but it doesn't work. What should I do? How could this woman be so unaware of how rude she is?
-Mallory from Washington

A blog reader's response...
There are times when honesty is the best policy. Why don't you sit next to her and when she starts a conversation with you, tell her, "I am tired and I do not want to have a conversation. I want to sit here in silence." If she starts talking to you, say it again. Other people on the bus who overhear you saying this to her will probably copy your words the next time she starts to talk to them.
-David Harris

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