We live in a weird period where everywhere you turn, someone is being rude to another person, whether on social media or in real life. It’s therefore crucial that you know what to say when someone is being rude, to either de-escalate the situation or set that person straight.
It’s important to have a strong backbone when someone is being rude, or else you risk the person walking all over you. It’s not always easy to know what to say, but once you read this article, you’ll know exactly what to say when someone is being rude to you.
What to say when someone is being rude to you: The reason this happens will determine your response
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An important factor in figuring out what to say when someone is being rude to you is finding out why this is happening. Note that it is not always intentional and you should think before you react.
In some cases, it might be a result of something you did wrong. Try to think back to what took place before the person was rude to you. These things can happen accidentally, and you may not notice your wrongdoing in the moment. Where you realize that the fault was your own, take the opportunity to be the bigger person and apologize.
In other cases, people are rude simply because they are jealous. This can take the form of nitpicking the things you do or making demeaning comments. It can also take the form of being spiteful or overt bullying.
Other times, the person is simply unhappy with themselves or a situation and is taking out their grievances on you.
Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like “the way people treat you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves?” Some people try to mask their insecurities by egging on others and trying to make them feel just as bad.
It may also be a result of a personality or culture clash, as some people were brought up in an environment where being rude was the norm or a necessity. Sometimes people are rude because they believe they are better than the other and as a result, can be demeaning or condescending.
When a friend is being rude to you
Your friends can be rude to you when they think they are being playful, or perhaps because they are a frenemy. Once you determine the reason, you can figure out what to say when someone is being rude when that person is a friend:
Dos & Don’ts when dealing with the friend
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01Do ask for clarification
Often, misunderstandings occur that break up friendships. You will also look crazy going off on your friend for no reason.
02Do make it clear that you are offended
If you let your friend know that you are hurt by the comments, and he/she meant no harm, an apology will likely follow.
03Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself
Do not let anyone walk over you, despite the history you may have. Always be prepared to respond to a frenemy and set things straight.
You might be tempted to tell off the friend if you are offended but try to maintain the peace as best as possible.
Best responses/comebacks when a friend is being rude to you
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01“I hope you didn’t mean that in a bad way because that was hurtful.”
02“I’ll give you some time to calm down because I don’t know why you’re acting this way. Let’s give each other some space before we both say something we regret.”
03“Do not speak to me like that. If you’re not going to be respectful, we are not going to continue having this conversation.”
04“I get that you’re upset but please consider my feelings. I’d never treat you this way. “
When your partner is being rude to you
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Usually, a partner will come off rude because they feel offended or hurt by your actions. Ideally, your partner should be able to communicate what you have done wrong, but we are all human and sometimes emotions get the better of us.
Preserving peace is key here to avoid sabotaging the relationship, and is an important factor when considering what to say when someone is being rude. Here are some more dos and don’ts when dealing with a partner being rude:
Dos & Don’t when dealing with your partner
Your partner may be saying all sorts of hurtful things, but between the lines, there are usually clues as to what you did wrong. As hard as it may be, try to not focus on the disrespect, and instead try to interpret what your partner is trying to say.
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It isn’t you versus your partner in a relationship. It is always you and your partner versus the problem. While listening, do not try to fight your partner on how he/she feels. Instead, empathize and make it clear that you are actively listening and understanding how he/she feels. This will help to de-escalate the situation.
03Do appeal to your partner
If your partner respects you, making it clear that you are hurt by his/her words will likely de-escalate the situation.
Even if your partner is upset because of your actions, do not feel bad or guilty for being hurt. With all things considered, your partner should still be respectful of you. You are allowed to have a response to the things he/she says.
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05Don’t fight fire with fire
Fighting fire with fire only creates a larger flame. Do not use this opportunity to attack your partner about something he/she did. Instead, deal with the issues one at a time so your partner feels heard, and it doesn’t appear like you are trying to escape responsibility.
Best responses/comebacks when your partner is being rude to you
01“I hear you loud and clear. I will make sure I do better next time. I didn’t mean to get you so heated. Perhaps when you calm down we can talk things over properly.”
02“For now, let’s agree to disagree because I cannot tolerate this level of disrespect. I’m sorry I have made you this angry.”
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03“I don’t know if you realize it, but you’re cutting pretty deep right now. I’m sorry for whatever I did. I hope we can talk this through without being hurtful to each other.”
04“I know you are going through a pretty rough time at work right now, and I’m here when you need me. Please speak more respectfully because it’s hard for me to follow when I’m being berated with harsh words. “
When a classmate is being rude to you
Classmates are rude for different reasons. Perhaps your classmate is having a bad day or rough time and has taken out the frustration on you. Some classmates may be jealous of how well you are doing, or how well you get along with your teacher/professor and others. Classmates may also seem rude merely because they have a different personality or upbringing.
Here are the dos and don’ts you need to know about dealing with a situation where a classmate is rude to you, and what to say when someone is being rude:
Dos & Don’t when dealing with the classmate
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01Do ask what the issue is
In these situations, asking what the issue is directly is key. Where an issue is not provided, you can easily deduce that the rudeness is not a result of your actions.
02Do set your boundaries
Make it clear that you will not tolerate any form of verbal abuse from your classmate, and you do not wish to continue a disrespectful conversation if he/she does not appear to calm down.
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03Do seek mediation
Asking a classmate or teacher to mediate can be a helpful way to overcome this issue. A little perspective is always a good thing.
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04Don’t engage in back and forth
Going back and forth with your classmate will only create a beef. This can be an especially uncomfortable experience for your fellow classmates. Nip it in the bud as best as possible.
05Don’t let it affect your schoolwork
This last point may seem impossible at the moment since you will feel uncomfortable afterward. Try not to let it affect your performance in school as best as possible. If you can, change seats and sit away from the classmate during class time so you don’t feel distracted.
Best responses/comebacks when a classmate is being rude to you
01“I am not going to hang onto the words you said because I know exam time is stressful for everyone. Perhaps when the semester settles we can figure out what the real issue is.”
02“What you are doing is very rude and there’s no need for that. We will be in the same class for the rest of the year and it’s best we get along. “
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03“If you continue to speak to me like this, I’m afraid this discussion cannot continue. “
04“I’m disappointed that this is how you’ve chosen to handle the matter because I feel disrespected. “
When a colleague/boss is being rude to you
Dealing with disrespect in the workplace is tricky. Saying the wrong thing can put you at odds and can even put you in hot water with the boss. It’s advised to never burn any bridges in the work world, so you will have to approach this situation delicately. Pay extra attention to these dos and don’ts and you should be fine.
Here’s what to say when someone is being rude in this specific situation
Dos & Don’ts when dealing with the colleague/boss
01Do remain respectful
Avoid using any curse words or any forms of disrespectful language to your fellow colleagues. This will only reflect negatively on you to your boss and you may seem like the aggressor.
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02Do take note of instances of disrespect
The workplace is chess, not checkers, and you will have to play the long game with colleagues who are constantly disrespectful to you. Ensure you make incident reports of all these instances to cover yourself. If there is ever a situation where you are called into a meeting, you have proof that the colleague was in fact the aggressor.
03Don’t beat around the bush
If you need something to stick, you need to say it. You will need thick skin to last in some work arenas, and if they see that they can walk all over you, the problem will persist.
No matter how upset or hurt you feel, never let things escalate to a physical level. In many places, this will result in immediate termination of employment regardless of whether the colleague initiated the problem or not.
Similarly, do not try to approach the person outside of work or get someone to intimidate them. This will become more than a work issue and you could face legal problems.
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Best responses/comebacks when a colleague is being rude to you
01“Please think about what you say before you say it because you can rub people up the wrong way.”
02“I do not accept this type of abuse from anyone. If you continue to do this I will be forced to report the issue to HR.”
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03“Is there any way we can agree to keep out of each other’s way? It’s clear you don’t like me and I’m just trying to do my job.”
04“There is no need for that type of behavior. If you have an issue with me, we should speak about it. “
Sometimes, you might not get to the root of the problem and discover why the person is being rude. As long as you know what to say when someone is being rude, you should be fine.