Questions for the Resilient – Where might I be catching the incivility bug?

We live in a world that gives us the most incredible platform to communicate and share our views. We need to see this as a privilege, one that we handle carefully. Sadly we see all to often a norm to use such platforms along with general day today engagements for incivility. This question challenges us to not become part of the incivility brigade.

This question has been inspired by a Ted Talk done with Christine Porath.

Dictionary Definition: Incivility



  1. rude or unsociable speech or behaviour.


rudeness, discourtesy, discourteousness, impoliteness, lack of politeness; More


politeness, good manners

  • an impolite or offensive comment.

plural noun: incivilities

“he deserved to be put in his place after all the incivilities he’d been hurling at her”

It seems today that in spite of our huge advances in technology, endless forms of communication and organizations who strive to reach their optimal civil stance, the ability to publicly defame people is on the rise. A perfect example of this is from literally the other day: A French waiter was shot due to slow service of delivering a sandwich

Wow – so it would appear that intolerance is becoming trigger happy now days. We see it in the news, in politics, religion and in the work place. 

Some examples of incivility are:

– Degrading comments
– Passive aggression
– Blunt aggression
– Intentional negative body language

Incivility seems to increase within us when we are feeling overwhelmed or pressured. We are also told all too often that In order to win, we need to be tough, a hard ass, and a bit of a tool – as if putting others down will actually raise you up. I have seen this so often in the work place, and it is currently very alive and well in my husbands workspace too.


Where might I be catching the incivility bug?
This is a BIG problem. Incivility really is like a bug; it’s contagious. And when we are in it’s presence or feel pressured or overwhelmed, we can easily become trapped within its claws.

The best way to overcome incivility is to recognise the costs:


– When someone feels disrespected, it lowers engagement.
– It increases mistakes.
– Causes people to leave.
– Performance goes down.
– Defence goes up.
– Energy is sapped.
– It decreases psychological security so that people don’t feel safe to share information or ask for help from others; this is a big one.

For myself, one of my triggers of incivility is a busy mall. It makes me angry. No, crazy. I mostly only visit the mall when I have specific errands and usually, I want to get them done as quickly as possible. So when I’m surrounded by many slow paced people I automatically feel like everyone around me lacks the awareness of how they are zig-zagging across the mall, whilst others are trying to get past them. It boils over within me.
But in honesty, I am the one who is lacking awareness. And I have to tell myself: people don’t usually go to the mall to run a sprint, Gabriella. You’re the one out of place here and in a rush, so just take some deep breaths. 

So the question is...

How can I overcome this situation without becoming uncivil? And how can one learn to stand up for something rightfully without becoming uncivil? The key is to install strategies that are aimed at becoming your auto response towards that kind of behaviour.
Best strategy? Count to 5 before responding, and always make sure you have considered the other persons side and not just your own. 


It could do you well to build up on various tools that enable you to live within your values. Why don’t you visit some of our previous podcasts that could get you on the right track? Here’s some that may be useful for this journey: 


Where are my signs of self-deception? 


Who do I need to demote? 

How do I add smiles to my journey?  


To clarify – civility doesn’t mean ignoring the wrong doings of others; it means approaching it with respect and equality, adult to adult. The beautiful thing about civility is that is has a tendency to create a feeling of equality, of worth, and respect. It’s in the small acts that have a big impact, such as a smile, a hello, holding the door open for another, letting someone go ahead of you, apologizing instead of having to defend on a small issue.

Let’s become creators today instead of consumers, and discover where we can inject the beauty of civility into our lives.






– Gabriella Ivey 

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