Anyone can be subject to hurtful or insensitive comments, whether it’s from strangers, family, or close friends, it can be hard to handle. In the heat of the moment, some people might struggle in knowing how to handle the situation, or how to respond to insensitive comments. So, they end up tiptoeing between standing up for themselves and get it more heated up, or just take it all in and do nothing about it.
So here’s a situation, you are hanging out with a group of friends, or sitting at the office with your coworkers, and suddenly someone throws such a rude comment, or an offensive joke. Now you are tensed, hurt, and not sure you can let it go without holding a grudge. And honestly, let’s face it, when someone is rude with us, we just want to get back at them. But to keep it smart, civilized, and at the same time, witty, here are a few tips that may help you handle the situation better, more confident, and without getting too anxious.
1. Take a few seconds to assess the situation. Some people are blunt, socially unintelligent, and have the tendency to say dumb things. When a comment comes out from this type of person, chances are they are not intentionally trying to be mean to you. Also, think if this is the first time they’ve thrown such a rude comment and if it is uncharacteristic of them. In that case, you can give them the benefit of the doubt and maybe drop it.
2. Respond to the situation, not the person. The last thing you want to do is calling someone out by shaming, scolding, or using their insecurities against them. For instance, someone tells you 'Wow, you’ve gained a lot of weight! You need to look after yourself.’ Replying out of anger and saying 'Look who’s talking! That one person who everyone finds ugly and unwelcomed!' has not only heated the situation with humiliation, but can portray you as someone who gets easily moved by negative comments. In such a situation, you can calmly and sarcastically - not in an irritated tone - say or 'Maybe I did. I hope those couple of kilos are not affecting your life in a way or another!' It is witty, it is subtle, and shuts them off with an indirect ‘this is none of your business.’
3. Laugh it off. So, someone tells you a bad comment or throws an inappropriate joke, keep it light, tension-free, and jokingly say 'I can tell you put some time and effort pulling that one, nice try!' Be careful though with nervous laughter, don’t overdo the pretending with a laugh that would sound creepily awkward.
4. Ignore it. Sometimes it is best – and if you have the amount of self-control of course – to just completely ignore this person and their comments. Simply, pretend you didn’t listen or give a confused look of disapproval and just look away.
But… bear in mind that when calling a rude person out, they might end up turning the table, or make you sound like you are exaggerating things. They might tell you:
‘Chill! I am only joking.’ And in that case, you can say ‘Me too!
‘Why are you taking it too personally’ so you can say, ‘Not really, I guess you don’t mean it anyways’
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple guide that tells you ‘when they say this, say that’ simply because, in reality, and non-theoretically, situations change and are never constant that no book would ever give you a list of guidelines you can apply to everything. But here’s my little advice, keep it witty, confident, practise self-composure, and learn how to conceal your emotions. I know it is never easy, but you also don’t want them to get under your skin or give them the satisfaction of knowing you took the bait when they provoked you to act out angrily.
Sad as it may sound, rude people are everywhere around, and surprisingly some may find pleasure in being rude; it gives them a fake sense of superiority. So, always remember, that rudeness is only a mirror of deep and unresolved insecurity issues, fragility, and intimidation where a person demonstrating such behavior thinks they’re giving themselves an upper hand in every situation by putting everyone else down. If anything, you should feel sorry for them. Shut the rudeness down yes, but do it with class.
Rise above. That would be my advice to you.