We've all encountered what we consider rude behavior in our day-to-day lives. But exactly what constitutes rudeness? Is it simply someone behaving in a way that we consider inappropriate for a situation? Is it interrupting someone, dismissing another's feelings, verbally insulting someone, or talking down to them?

Remember going to a movie theater and having the people behind you talk through the whole movie? How about that idiot who cut you off in traffic? Or the grape taster at Hy-Vee? Grrr!

Unfortunately, we've probably all been guilty of rudeness ourselves, at one-time-or-another. And hopefully, in many situations, unintentionally.

Psychology professor Michael Leiter, says “You can’t really assume that the people you’re encountering share your core values about how people should get along.” Also, he makes a strong argument that rudeness is the result of "cluelessness, being inconsiderate, not thinking it through, or simply not imagining that somebody could be offended by something.”

We've all been reminded at some point in our youth to remember the "Golden Rule" (Do unto others as you would have done unto you) and to "walk a mile in someone else's shoes". But how often do we practice these altruistic actions?

You Gov, a global public opinion and data company recently spent time polling more than 77,000 Americans, from all 50 states, to find out just how rude we think we are in our own states.

Rhode Island residents ratted themselves out, declaring that they are the rudest state in the country. Massachusetts didn't do much better, proudly proclaiming that their state is populated by a large number of "Ma _ _holes"!

Of our respondents here in South Dakota, 51% of them said we are more polite than many other states. That was good enough to earn a 5th place spot (overall) on the list of "Most Polite" states. So, good on us!

Here are the (self-proclaimed) Top 5 most polite states in the U.S. -

  1. Hawaii
  2. Vermont
  3. North Dakota
  4. Montana
  5. South Dakota

The Top 5 rudest states (again, according to people who live there) are -

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Jersey
  4. Nevada
  5. Connecticut

Rudeness is toxic. It hurts other people as well as us and is self-perpetuating. Unfortunately in our current cultural climate of "I'm right and you're wrong", with no room for compromise, in-person and virtually, determining the width and breadth of rude behavior is impossible.

Consideration for other people's feelings, thoughts, and needs, seems to me to be a lost art. But I truly hope I'm wrong.

To see the complete survey go to You Gov.

Sources: NBC News/Pop Culture and Today/You.Gov

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