When someone treats you rudely, it can be jarring. In those moments directly after someone says something off-putting, it can be hard to know what to say.
Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. The first thing to remember is not to stoop to their level. Usually, when someone says something rude, they want to get a rise out of you, or they want to fight. Neither of these options is optimal. The best course of action is to shut them down, or at the very least make them reconsider their words. Here are my favorite responses when someone says something rude.
1. You must be having a really bad day.
Sometimes, a little kindness can go a long way. Not all people who say something rude intend to, and even if they do, it’s better to not drop down to their rude level. Instead, show some empathy.
2. What makes you say that?
Perhaps they don’t realize how rude they came off. Asking this question provides them with an opportunity to explain themselves, in hopes that they can correct themselves. If not, use another phrase such as the ones below.
3. What’s wrong with you?
Sometimes people need to know that there is something wrong with going around and being hateful all of the time. They may not want to hear it, and they may even get combative. If they get combative, get away from them. (I would honestly read the room before this one. Sometimes it’s perfect, others not so much.)
4. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
I have no problem shaming someone for talking to me sideways. Because it’s the truth. Why waste energy saying something hateful?
5. Don’t respond.
Perhaps the best response is no response. Just look at them and keep quiet.
6. Laugh hysterically and walk away.
While the last one is the best, this one is the funniest. And it will leave them speechless.
7. Uhm, okay.
It may sound simple, but yet again, some things don’t merit an in-depth response.
8. I don’t respond to people that talk to me in that manner.
Lay down your boundaries and let them know you will not tolerate disrespect. There is never a good excuse to disrespect anyone, and using this phrase will let them know real fast you don’t have time for that.
9. When you muster up some respect, then you can address me again. (Walk away.)
This is yet another boundary-enforcing statement. I highly suggest this to someone who continues to disrespect your time and time again. Examples are toxic family members, disrespectful friends, or rude coworkers.
10. Surely you were raised better than that.
I may sound like my mother for this one, but hear me out. There is NO need to ever, ever talk rudely to someone. Honestly, no matter who they were raised by, surely they were raised better than that!
11. That came off rude. Do you want to start over?
This one may sound odd, but when you call them out and give them a chance to start over, the chances are (in many cases) that they will. Most people don’t want to fight, and they don’t want to be rude. They are likely having a bad day and let it get the best of them.
12. Wow! Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
And when you just can’t win, add in a bit of humor. Not only does it call them out, but it also does it in a fun and witty way that no one can deny will shut down a rude person pretty quick.