New Yorkers don’t mean to be rude; they’re just impatient. Time is highly valued here, so we show others respect by making an effort not to waste theirs
New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude. Pushy. Selfish.
A recent article describes the reason why: New Yorkers value time. Associate Director for International Student Services at New York University, Tom Sirinides, explains that the pushiness is a response to a need to get places on time, that New Yorkers don’t have patience for people who delay them.
This is meant to provide a reason, a context for why New Yorkers aren’t nice to one another. Does that then make it OK? The next time you get body-checked on the sidewalk by someone not looking where they’re going, do you just think to yourself, “Oh, that’s fine—he’s in a hurry.”
When you visit or live in New York, there’s a perception that you have to be pushy and rude to survive, just to get by. But all things get taken too far, and when that happens there’s a need to consider balance. In New York, and everywhere where people live around other people, folks should consider the balance of assertiveness and restraint:
- If you’re too restrained, it’s true you may never get on that crowded subway. so
metimes you just have to push a bit.
- But be too assertive and you run the risk of being unnecessarily violent and hurting others, just because you don’t want to wait three minutes for the next subway.
Many New Yorkers—myself included!—could benefit from leaning a little more toward the restraint side.
And perhaps more important than the explanation of New York rudeness are Sirinides’s thoughts on understanding other cultures’ customs:
Never confuse differences in etiquette with moral failings—or, in other words, don’t assume someone is wrong or backward just because his or her customs differ from what you’re used to
Good advice for anyone—whether visitors surviving in New York, or neurotypicals responding to social differences of folks with ASD.