How does the etiquette concept that "The only thing ruder than rudeness is pointing out said rudeness" not imply letting oneself get walked all over? Help me understand this, if you would?
AskMe is turning into a Boundaries 201 resource for me, apparently...
So, there's this idea floating around that "The only thing ruder than breaching etiquette is for someone to point that breach out." I've seen variations on this theme stated time and again, by people from the level of Dear Abby & colleagues on down.
This troubles me, because while I’d like to be polite, it seems to imply that self-assertion and etiquette are in this case almost mutually exclusive. The notion that calling someone out on their transgressions or standing up for oneself automatically makes one the less-polite party seems like a free pass for any bad behaviour that people choose to indulge in.
I have run into this explicitly a few times, from the strangers who get horribly offended when I refuse to answer their overly personal questions about my heritage or my disability, to the former friends who have been terribly upset by my restating a boundary they'd violated and asking them to respect it. As the "former" part implies, I haven't put up with this treatment from supposed friends. However, it saddens me that I get tarred with labels like "hostile" "rude & nasty" or "drama queen" for daring to say that I don’t feel I should be treated poorly or would like to have my boundaries respected, especially by those who claim to care about me.
It's all starting to remind me of this Privilege Denying Dude
Though I do note the irony of people telling me I've broken the roles of etiquette by speaking to them about their poor behaviour - since of course by doing so, they've just violated the etiquette precept themselves. It's like an infinite recursion of rudeness! Whee!
I have read arguments that someone violating or ignoring boundaries has violated the social contract and therefore any obligation to be polite is nullified. Other people seem to feel that maintaining decorum matters all the more in the face of indecorousness from other people.
So is it the case that pointing out a boundary violation or standing up for oneself is inevitably a breach of etiquette - and if not, how do you do so in a socially acceptable manner? Or is this one of those strange semantic games where it's okay to call out inappropriate behaviour, but only if one is careful not to say that it's inappropriate or impolite?