Consider the following 2 scenarios:

  1. After entering either a big shopping complex or high rated restaurant, there will be a queue and have to wait till our turn and buy/order items and then exit after completion.

  2. After entering a local market or small shops, there will be no queue (randomness) and buying things or getting orders depends on the penetration capability of the individual such as giving order with high pitch/loud voice, asking repeatedly or getting work done without caring who are waiting before him/her etc.,

How do I handle situations like the second one which need some sort of indecent or rude behavior? In such scenarios it will take either lot of time for our turn or may never get it.

I face this problem lot of times. If I go to local shops or hotels or juice points with friends, one of my friend gives order and get things done. If I go alone, I may wait for long time or leave from such place without completion of work. The annoying part is that my girlfriend takes initiation in such scenarios because I can't.

How do I handle such situations effectively being not rude, not loud, formal, polite and descent?


3 Answers 3


Your two statements:

How do I handle situations like the second one which need some sort of indecent or rude behavior?


How to handle such situations effectively being not rude, not loud, formal, polite and descent?

are contradictory. You say it requires being rude and yet you want to handle this situation without being rude. However, I've faced the second situation before at a farmers market once, and I am very used to the first situation being from a suburban town in Canada.

I had to realize that while it would be rude to shout loud and over other people in other places, here it was common and perfectly acceptable. Basically, what is rude somewhere else may not be rude here. For example, in Canada it is generally looked down upon to slurp your noodles/soup while you eat, but in Japan it is considered rude to not slurp.

In conclusion, it may be intimidating to speak up like this (it was for me when i had to) but my suggestion would be to just go for it. Things are considered rude only because society as a whole says so. If everyone is shouting over each other, you will have to do that to.


You may be familiar with the proverb:

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

If the expected behavior is to shout loudly and force your way to the front of the queue then either adapt to the local custom or find yourself eternally at the back -- or go somewhere else. Sure, you might retain your dignity, but how much is your time worth to you?

But I suspect there's an underlying question, something like:

If I'm not a naturally assertive person, how can I learn to be assertive in situations that require it?

There's another trite aphorism to cover this situation:

Fake it 'til you make it.

Imagine you're an actor onstage, and your character is an assertive narcissist who feels they should be first in everything, and who cares nothing for social niceties. How would that character act? What would that character say?

Would they be worried about stepping on other people's toes (metaphorically speaking)? No. Would they care about making all the other people wait for them? Not in the slightest.

Be that person -- wear that jacket -- but only until you accomplish what you need to. Then take it off and be "yourself" again. Eventually you may find you don't need to pretend, that you can be assertive when you need to be, and polite the rest of the time.

If you're worried that other people will think you are a "bad person", well ... the fact that you even ask that question probably guarantees that won't happen. Plus, unless you're especially aggressive or annoying, you'll just be another forgettable face in the crowd.

On the other hand, if you feel that manners and dignity are more important, than you have a decision to make, whether you choose to regularly attend venues you consider undignified. This might mean giving up some of your social connections, but that's why we each have to make our own choices about what we value.

On a side note: The situation you describe is much like what I experienced when I went to mainland China. There, people most often swarms rather than queue, and the only way to get to the front is through steady physical force -- even in places like airports and train stations, where (if for no reason other than safety) you'd expect more organization.

I would have missed my flight if I had held my usual reserve, but again, as the Romans do, I let go of my preconceptions about what is "polite" behavior and shoved my way through.


You seem to be drawing lines between being loud and straightforward and being "indecent" and "rude." Note that google tells me that "indecent" can be defined as:

Not conforming with generally accepted standards of behavior or propriety; obscene.

However, if shouting to get attention is the accepted norm where you are, then there's nothing rude or indecent about it!

In general, if I'm in a situation where what I'm doing isn't working or I'm not sure what to do, I usually try to look around and see what other people are doing. Whether this is in an airport, the DMV or a social event, it's usually helpful to take cues from other people and see what's working for them.

If you're in a situation like you say where everyone is repeatedly asking in a loud voice, then that's probably the way you're going to get what you need. That being said, you're probably not the only one who feels bad doing this. Pay close attention to the people at the register next time and see if you can find someone who manages to checkout without the raised voices.

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