Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
January 27, 2024 ·  2 min read

8 ‘Rude’ Things People Do That Are Actually Caused By Anxiety

When we first meet someone, we can be quick to judge them. First impressions can have a lasting impact, but even if it’s someone we’ve known for a while, when we make a judgment we usually stick to it. Doing rude things is a social faux pas.

Often, if we find that a person is impolite, we write them off as “not raised right,” “weird,” or just plain “rude.”

Many people who suffer from anxiety have coping mechanisms and side effects that may come off as rude, but in reality, are caused by their anxiety disorders.

Rude Things People Do That Are Actually Caused By Anxiety

We wanted to share what some of these ‘rude’ and ‘impolite’ gestures those with anxiety often do but are misinterpreted completely. Maybe this will remind us to be less judgy and more understanding.


We happily agree to meet, go out, make plans and have fun. But at the very last minute we will find an excuse not to go, or 100 reasons why we shouldn’t. When we finally cancel, we feel both relieved and terrible at the same time.

Harsh tones

Sometimes, we get snappy with people, have an abrupt or harsh tone, or blow up over something that seems small. We understand it makes us seem rude, and we really don’t mean to do it. Our anxiety just makes us feel always on edge that, sometimes, the slightest thing can push us over.


We interrupt people during conversations. Sometimes it’s simply because we know we won’t remember what we wanted to say two seconds later. We see how much it irritates other people but we can’t help it, and always feel bad afterwards.

Not making eye contact

We sometimes don’t make eye contact with people when they talk to us, or we look down at our hands, phone, or anything other than the person talking. It’s not that we’re rude, it’s that we can’t always handle looking someone in the eye when we’re anxious.

Looking at phones

We might be seen on our phones a lot in group settings. We know it’s not polite. We dislike when other people do this. But if we’re having a bad anxiety day, it’s an easy way to keep our mind busy and keep it from escalating into an attack.


We tend to distance ourselves from people because we want to “focus on us.” We don’t want to waste someone’s time and energy if we’re not in our ideal state, because then it just won’t be fun for them to be around us.


We might intentionally avoid someone we know out in public. It sounds rude and it’s never because we don’t want to see them or hear how they’re doing. It’s insecurity on our own part – the fear of saying something stupid, or being weird, or them not wanting to talk to us.


We can get very sarcastic and defensive when anxious… Sometimes we really just want to be left alone and it’s our feeble attempt of pushing people away to create some space.

Keep Reading: 5 Polite Phrases That Will Instantly Disarm Rude People