9 Comebacks for Dealing with Rude People

9 Comebacks for Dealing with Rude People

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“When someone is rude, keep a smile on your face. When you stay on the high road and keep your joy, you take away their power.” – Joel Osteen

People can tend to have a love/hate relationship with their families, bosses, friends, and even spouses. They can be the sweetest people with loving intentions one second, and the next, say something so offensive that makes you want to call them every name under the sun and react negatively.

Questions like “When did you gain so much weight?” or “When will you ever get another boyfriend?” or “Why haven’t you found a job yet?” can really hit below the belt and really set off your temper, if you allow it. People don’t often think about what they say before they say it, which can lead to disaster if the person they are speaking to (you) becomes offended.

You have a right to defend yourself and speak your mind, but you can come up with a retort that allows you to express yourself while still being positive and polite.

Finding the right comeback to deal with rude people isn’t always easy, especially if that person signs your paychecks. If you have been wondering how to handle your mother-in-law who can’t seem to keep her mouth shut about your weight, or your boss who shows no remorse when he gives you extra work to do, consider these comebacks the next time you encounter rudeness.

9 Comebacks for Dealing with Rude People

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1. Thank you.

A simple “thank you” speaks volumes when you encounter rudeness. Not only does it show the other person that you didn’t let their words affect you, it reflects maturity on your part. You chose not to ignore the person or get angry, but met both of those tactics somewhere in the middle. A “thank you” usually implies that you acknowledge someone’s thoughtfulness and are responding to that. However, in this case, your “thank you” will mean that you acknowledge the person’s rudeness and you choose not to let it affect you. That will shut the other person down quickly when he or she realizes that the comments didn’t phase you.

You choose how to react in any given situation, so choose happiness. It will keep your thoughts and actions positive, and show others that their rude words simply cannot take your power from you.

2. I appreciate your perspective.

Not only does is this an intelligent approach, but it will also show the person that you only wish to communicate in an adult manner, and not stoop to their level. Any rude comments reflect the other person’s shaky perception of themselves, so remember that when someone blurts out something tactless. They may want to bring you down, but you don’t have to let them. Show them that you will only continue the conversation with dignity and respect. They may actually respect you more by reacting in such a considerate way. If this doesn’t happen, shift your focus with this next tip.

3. This conversation is now over.

If you find yourself too angry to respond to someone in a civil way, simply end the conversation. You don’t want to cause permanent damage to a relationship by losing your cool, but you also don’t want to disrespect yourself by pretending like the person’s comments or questions are acceptable.

Choose to take the high road and not allow the conversation to carry on, and you will be able to keep your dignity while skipping a potential all-out brawl or heated argument.

4. Why do you feel that was necessary, and do you really expect me to answer?

Especially in group settings, this will likely put the other person in check very quickly. Instead of getting the expected irate response out of you, they will meet a calm, cool and collected you, ready to talk things over sensibly and decently. Also, it will give them a chance to redeem themselves, and apologize to you in front of your friends, family or co-workers.

Other people do need to know that you do not tolerate rude or uncalled for questions and comments, and that you will call attention to their uncouth behavior. If they say “yes” to the second part of your question, you can simply reply with “Well, it looks like this isn’t your lucky day,” and be done with the conversation.

5. That almost hurt my feelings.

While a little on the sarcastic side, it tells the other person that you choose not to absorb their negativity. It also deals with rude people in a mature way, and will probably discourage the other person from making any other remarks once they realize you aren’t affected by them.

6. You’re right.

While most people have a hard time saying these two words, it will benefit you to make the other person believe they were in the right in what they said, and will likely cause the conversation to be cut short. What more can they say after this comeback? You admit their rightness and then disengage from the conversation. While you might not get as much satisfaction by using this tactic, it will put a damper on the other person’s enjoyment since they won’t get a rise out of you, which is what they were after in the first place.

 7. You always have something negative to say, don’t you?

This takes the attention off of you and back onto them, making them think twice about their choice of conversation topics. Not only will you, rightfully so, draw their focus onto their own words, but also force them to reconsider what they say in the future.

Speaking your mind when a person repeats behavior that offends you is never wrong or uncalled for; if you feel you need to draw attention to someone’s behavior, then listen to your gut. The person’s negativity likely affects other people besides you, so making them aware of their own toxic behavior will actually benefit you and others in future situations with this person.

8. I love myself, and I love you, too.

This may only apply in certain situations with friends, family, and your spouse. If you say it to your boss, you might either get a strange look or get your named removed from the payroll, so use it at your discretion. However, this comeback had to make an appearance on the list because of its effectiveness at shutting down rude people. Kindness always prevails over negativity; darkness cannot thrive where light is present. When you express to the other person just how much you love life and others, their comments become irrelevant and lose power quickly. Their sour mood and bleak outlook on themselves, you, and life will not be a match for your extreme happiness and zest for life. People also aren’t used to such raw emotion from others, and will probably be too surprised to formulate a proper response.

deal with rude people

Your words have the ability to boost the entire energy of a room and promote more positive conversation. You can’t go wrong with that!

9. Laugh

This reaction will definitely catch the offender off-guard and make a rude person feel embarrassed for even making the comment in the first place. For instance, if your aunt brings up your recent job loss at dinner again, just laugh. It will make the present moment seem a little less serious, and will send a message that you don’t let other people’s rude comments affect your mood or outlook on life.

Bottom line: You choose how to react in any given situation, so choose happiness!

Add to the discussion below: How do you positively react to negative, rude people?

32 thoughts on “9 Comebacks for Dealing with Rude People

  1. I think some of these responses are brilliant. However, 2 seem to be argumentative. Like number 4 and number 7. I feel these responses would put the asker on the defense and exacerbate the situation. For instance, take number 7, “You always have something negative to say, don’t you?” Just begs for an argument. It might be better to say, ” I’m not interested in hearing anything negative right now.”

  2. When someone is rude to me I sometimes say,”I’m not really sure what you were hoping to accomplish with that comment.” “Was there a purpose in saying that?” I play dumb while speaking my comment. Another would be: “I’m confused by that comment, would you repeat it please?”

  3. I have an additional suggestion based on getting positive change in behavior. It is: Identify & Applaud their power, reverse their negative energy, identify for them and others their ego-boosting, bullying, jealous, rude behavior within a group situation. “Yeah for you, you’re SO funny, good at pointing out problems, know what you’re talking about!” Perhaps a combination of some of the above. It has led to more empathic and kind remarks from them since.

  4. I use this tactic when facing anyone rude, complaining and annoying. I work as customer facing at a bank. When someone is trying offending me, I ignore them by letting them talk while I keep doing the transaction and out of nowhere I say something about the transaction with a smile. This shows them that what they say doesn’t matter to me and it’s not offensive as what I don’t say can’t be used against me, right? ????

  5. I can’t even say Numbers 3, 4 and 7 to my landlord/roommate because he’ll flip and accuse me of being negative, saying that I need to forget the past. He even says I talk too much and that I’ll never be able to live alone. This is coming from a man who hadn’t seen me in several years and wasn’t around when the abuse was going on. Even being civil is construed as being arrogant. I give up on him and will be moving out as soon as i can afford it.

  6. I find #4 and #6 to be most effective, although admittedly I sometimes change it to “You ‘may’ be right.” that way I am acknowledging their perspective without completely nullifying mine.

  7. When someone comes up to me in public to complain about something I am doing, saying, eating, thinking, etc., I look directly at them as they are talking. Then I simply look away and go about my business. I leave no doubt that I saw and heard them, but I do not say a single word or acknowledge them in any way. They are not worth my time, and I refuse to have an argument with someone whose opinion means nothing to me. Problem solved.

  8. I found this helpful, i also use "What are you looking to gain" quite often. I can't understand peoples constant need to spread gossip Because of this i have become quite isolated at school because all people do is converse about other's who they have no understanding or perspective about their situation, makes me upset. Any thoughts or similar experiences?

  9. All very positive advice but in my experience not all people are reasonable unfortunately. Sadly some are so eaten up with envy & jelousey they will say anything to try & drag you down, these types need to be taught a very sharp lesson in manners & conduct mercilessly. I know I've spelt jealousy wrong I couldn't go back & change it. Best wishes to you all x

  10. There are a lot of rude people in my family because they like to be nosy and see the worst in your life. I also ask myself, "Why do you want to be around people like that?" I prefer to be around people with positive energy who are uplifters and want to see me succeed. You become the people you surround yourself with so if you want to be around people with positive energy, then always choose the positive outcome and make that your focus, then you will attract positive people in your life while the negative ones will cease to be on your radar.

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