The Rudeness Epidemic: Robert

Straightforward or Boorish?
Robert and Melinda join Dr. Phil onstage.
 
Dr. Phil runs down a list of Robert's bad behavior: He refers to his stepdaughter, Melinda's, uncle as "Guido from Puerto Rico." He says short men have  "little man syndrome." He told Melinda that she and her boyfriend were "nerds who need a sex book," and he made a waitress cry.
"You pick on wait staff?" Dr. Phil asks.
 
"More than anybody else, probably," Robert replies.
 
"She brought the entrée before you were finished with your appetizer," Dr. Phil reminds him.
 
[AD]"If you're in the service business, learn it, live it, know it," Robert answers.

"So you were just doing kind of a training program," Dr. Phil quips.
 
"Absolutely, if you want to look at it that way."
 
Dr. Phil says that Robert's mistreatment of wait staff might lead to a rude awakening. "When you bitch about course one in a rude way, you're eating something you didn't order in course two," he says.
 

Dr. Phil continues his indictment of Robert.  "You told a friend's date she won't be around long," he notes.

 

"That was one of my ex-friends," Robert responds.
 
"Do you have sensitivities, and if so, what are they?" Dr. Phil inquires.
 
"Rudeness," Robert replies.
 
"Is this a macho thing for you?"
 
"No. I passed the macho stage. I have no hair. I'm overweight," Robert mentions. "If you screw up in public, I'm going to be on top of you."
 
"Why? Are you the public police?" Dr. Phil asks.[AD]
 
"Somebody has to be," Robert replies. He tells Dr. Phil that his mission is to "fix stupid."
 
"Your theory is you're going to cure stupid in America, in your little pocket in the world?" Dr. Phil inquires.
 
Robert answers in the affirmative, saying that most people are too mealy-mouthed to confront bad behavior.
"You called your ex-wife fat and lazy," Dr. Phil notes.
 
"Fat, lazy, and I also didn't love her," Robert reveals.
 
"I always treat everybody I can with dignity and respect. I might tell them the truth they don't want to hear, but I'm not going to treat them in a way that's not with dignity and respect, because I just feel like we're all in this together, this human experience called life," Dr. Phil says. "You seem to not have that boundary."
 
Dr. Phil performs an experiment to show Robert how offensive his behavior can be. He instructs him to stand up and then invites Kate onstage.
 
Turning to Robert, Dr. Phil says, "When you're dealing with somebody like this, then you've got an imposing sort of presence, right?"
 
"Right," Kate replies with a grin, backing away from Robert.
 
[AD]"You said you exploit weakness," Dr. Phil reminds Robert.
 
"If they're being in a rude manner," he replies.
 
"Do you pick on people who are smaller, like wait staff, people who you think are beneath you?"
 
"I don't consider them beneath me," Robert begins.
 
"Apparently, you do. You put yourself in a teacher role," Dr. Phil says. "Are you as apt to jump on somebody my size as you are somebody Kate's size?"
 
"Sure," Robert responds. "If they're doing something wrong, yeah."
Dr. Phil turns to Amy. "What's your take on this?"
 
"Somebody who behaves this way is a big guy who feels very small. He makes himself feel bigger by acting out on people this way," she responds.
 
"One thing I know about people who do what you're doing is, as a rule, they lack empathy," Dr. Phil tells Robert. "Before you act, you have to ask yourself, what's the impact going to be on the other person. You don't think about that much, do you?"
 
"A little," Robert answers.
 
[AD]"He tends to make comments that he thinks are funny, and no one else will interpret them as funny," Melinda explains. "He's not usually trying to be mean, but it just comes out that way."
 
"If you're making a joke and you're the only one laughing, that's a clue," Dr. Phil tells Robert. "A lot of humor has a sharp edge to it. If it's always somebody else bleeding, it may be that you're hurting other people's feelings."
 
"I can take it as well as the next guy," Robert says.