Most of us regularly encounter rude people, and they’re not always strangers. While you might be on the receiving end of a mean comment or a snappy remark on your morning commute or when you’re in a store, a lot of the rudeness you’re subjected to probably comes from people you know more intimately.
Partners, bosses, coworkers, and friends can all be offensive or hurtful sometimes. And when they are you can feel a very strong urge to say something abusive in return. After all, remarks like “Oh, I don’t think that dress will fit you” or “I thought you’d have started a family by now” can trigger a flurry of anger and shame.
Although you have a right to defend yourself and give an honest reply, there are ways to respond to rude people without lowering yourself to their level.
Normally, saying “thank you” indicates you appreciate someone’s thoughtfulness or kindness. As a reply to a rude remark, however, “thank you” shows your maturity while also clearly implying that you are choosing not to let the other person’s impoliteness affect you.
This has the power to shut someone down pretty quickly and is an empowering way to take the path of calmness and positivity.
Saying this indicates that you are firmly deciding to stay in the adult position, even if the person you’re talking to is trying to goad you into acting childishly.
When someone is rude to you, it actually indicates that they have a shaky self-conception. They want to bring you down, but it’s up to you whether you let them. A remark like “I appreciate your opinion” shows dignity.
As a bonus, it can sometimes shift a rude person into a more respectful mode of discourse.
If you’re starting to feel furious and are on the verge of losing your temper, you can choose to exit the conversation before you lose the ability to be civil.
Letting the person know that you’re ending the conversation allows you to leave without irreparably damaging your relationship or being a doormat.
This is a particularly useful comeback to a rude person who is prying or making judgments on your personal life. It very clearly indicates that you are taken aback by what has been said, and yet it allows you to keep your cool instead of becoming irate.
Plus, if the person you’re talking to didn’t actually mean to overstep the line, they have an opening to apologize or rephrase.
While this is something of a sarcastic comeback, it’s just mature enough to indicate that you’re not going to be deeply affected by the other person’s attempt to needle you.
It shows that you refuse to absorb their poisonous negativity, and most people won’t see the point in offering rude follow-ups.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is let your conversation partner believe they were in the right, just so you can end the conversation and move on.
You can completely disengage after saying this. It also denies a rude person the pleasure of thinking they have managed to hurt or annoy you. It’s not the most satisfying response, but in some contexts (e.g. at work) it can be the smartest.
A response like this immediately takes the focus off you and puts it straight onto the rude person. This forces them to think a bit harder about the words they tend to use.
It’s likely that you’re not the only person on the receiving end of this person’s terrible attitude. Therefore, you’re also doing others a favor by highlighting the damage that perpetual negativity can cause.
Not all contexts are appropriate for this type of reply, but when dealing with loved ones it can be very effective at shutting down rudeness. Kindness and love can overcome negativity, sucking all the power out of rude remarks.
In some cases, you’ll also ground the conversation, not only rebuffing the other person’s negativity but reminding them that there is supposed to be a loving relationship underneath the current pettiness.
A rude person will likely feel ridiculous and embarrassed if you don’t even respond and simply choose to laugh instead!
Once again, you’re offering proof that your outlook and mood won’t be destroyed by this person’s cruelty or thoughtlessness. You can also diffuse some of the tension in the situation.
When dealing with rude people, the main thing to remember is this: you get to choose how you react in all situations, so choose positivity and happiness every time!
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