Dealing with an unkind person is never enjoyable, and the good news is that you don’t have to put up with it. Whether it’s a rude co-worker, boss, friend, family member, or stranger, you can stand up for yourself.

People are unkind for different reasons and in various situations. They don’t always know they’re being rude, but sometimes they’re inconsiderate and unkind purposefully.

Even your closest friends and family might be unkind to you sometimes. Close co-workers can also upset you, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a good relationship later. It happens, even when you go out of your way to be kind to them, but you don’t have to let it continue.

You can say things to people who are rude to you without fueling the situation. Being kind is essential because it always wins.

What Not to Do When Dealing with an Unkind Person

Responding with an equally unkind response won’t make you feel better. Instead, it often worsens the negativity and hinders your ability to end the behavior.

Being nasty in return creates a vicious cycle where the person is unkind, you return the treatment, and the pattern continues. This situation leaves emotional scars and can permanently affect both of you.

You might also consider avoiding the person who behaves this way toward you. However, avoidance isn’t effective or practical because it leads to anxiety for you and doesn’t remedy the situation. You can’t always avoid someone and shouldn’t have to dread each encounter.

Ignoring the behavior also won’t help, even if it does seem better than speaking up. When you let it slide, the unkind person thinks it’s okay to treat you that way, and they won’t stop. It’ll leave you experiencing the situation repeatedly when you could put an end to it.

Instead, experts indicate that you can control your response when someone is nasty to you. You can’t control how they behave, but you can always control how you react. You can use the following phrases when someone is unkind, helping you feel better and stand up for yourself without worsening the situation.

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How to React When Someone is Unkind

It’s essential to discuss how to behave before detailing the phrases you should remember. The words won’t be as effective if your body language or physical response doesn’t match.

Practice Compassion, Even When Others Are Unkind

Rather than letting the nasty behavior continue or returning the behavior, you can practice compassion. The situation hurts you, and being compassionate with yourself is essential. You can also show compassion for the person being mean because it’s an effective response and can stop the behavior.

Prioritize Your Emotions

It can hurt and make you feel bad when people mistreat you or say nasty things. Whether you want to or not, you might subconsciously care what that person thinks of you.

Consider your feelings before responding, accept your emotions, and be mindful of how you vocalize them. Doing this requires you to deal with the unpleasant feelings long enough to acknowledge, recognize, and grasp your emotions.

Recognize Mean or Unkind People for Who They Are

Unkind people are often insecure, hurt, or scared for some reason. They behave in nasty ways to hide their feelings and make them feel powerful. It doesn’t excuse their behavior but it helps you understand their mindset and behavior.

Don’t Take It Personally

This tip is sometimes difficult but can help you get through the situation. Usually, an unkind person isn’t strategizing to ruin your day.

They’re struggling internally and are likely treating others the same way. It’s not a reflection of you, even if it’s upsetting.

Stay Calm and Stay Kind

It’ll help if you remember to stay calm before responding when someone is mean to you. Staying calm can help you handle the situation without making yourself feel worse. You might want to react in anger, but taking a deep breath and remembering that you can control how your reaction can make a difference.

Take Back Your Power

You don’t have to understand why they treat you that way to express your concern. The situation could trigger negative feelings, but you don’t have to give in. You can stand up for yourself and regain power by staying positive.

Phrases to Remember When Someone Is Unkind

When someone is unkind to you, remember to use these phrases. They’ll help end the behavior and help you set boundaries that protect you.

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1 – Your mean behavior has gone too far, and I won’t tolerate it anymore.

This phrase allows you to set boundaries for how you expect to get treated. It helps you honor your self-worth and integrity while ensuring respectful treatment from others.

Once you use this phrase, follow through by removing yourself or asking the other person to leave when they mistreat you. If you don’t follow through, they won’t stop the behavior, and you will feel frustrated by a cycle of nasty treatment.

2 – That offended me, and I wonder if you meant it that way.

Maybe a rude remark wasn’t meant to sound that way. Asking for clarification can help the other person explain what they intended. Or, it could help them recognize that you aren’t okay with rude comments.

Either way, this question can help you address an unkindness. If the person didn’t mean to offend you, they’d apologize. Otherwise, you’ll know what they meant and have a chance to tell them that it’s inappropriate.

3 – You must be going through something, so I’m not going to take your words to heart.

This comment gets your point across while still allowing you to be nice. They’ll likely start being nicer if you express kindness and explain that you don’t take the behavior personally. It can help them recognize their inappropriate behavior while highlighting your kind behavior.

4 – I hear you, but I’m not okay with how unkind you’re being.

This phrase can help you when speaking with an upset friend, family member, or partner. They might sound rude or mean when upset and trying to explain their feelings. This phrase lets them know you’re listening but can’t get past their mistreatment.

It gives them a chance to take a deep breath, calm down, and continue the conversation. Or, it can help them see that they need to take some time alone before discussing the situation. Your phrase can help de-escalate the situation without sabotaging the relationship or causing irreparable damage.

5 – I’m sensitive to behavior like this.

Some people can’t seem to grasp that they’re being hurtful. Telling them that you’re sensitive to their behavior can help, especially if you have to see the person regularly. It’s best to be straightforward with them about how it makes you feel.

This phrase might make them recognize that they should refrain from making unwarranted comments to you. Even if it doesn’t fix the issue long-term, it can help you get through each situation with them.

6 – I’d like to continue this conversation when you’re calmer.

There’s nothing wrong with stopping a conversation when someone is being hurtful. When you tell the person you’ll continue when they’re calmer, they’ll recognize that their behavior is an issue. It also makes it clear that you won’t tolerate that treatment but have enough respect to offer another chance.

7 – Maybe you didn’t realize how hurtful your words were.

Sometimes people say or do things without realizing that it hurts them. This phrase can help them recognize that changing their behavior could help them in other relationships.

8 – I’m sorry for whatever has upset you so much.

Research shows that attempting empathy can help improve the moods of everyone around. It’ll help you feel better and can help the person being unkind, potentially shifting their behavior.

Even if it doesn’t help them, you’ll still benefit and can ward off negative feelings regarding the situation. This phrase is helpful when dealing with strangers because you don’t have to continue dealing with them afterward.

9 – I think we can discuss this more respectfully.

This phrase is helpful when you want to maintain a healthy relationship with the other person. Use it with friends, family members, or co-workers if things get heated. It prevents you from saying something hurtful in return and can help them recognize that they’re crossing a line into rude.

10 – You’re being unkind, and I need you to stop.

Shutting down someone’s behavior is sometimes your only option. If they’ve gone too far, don’t be afraid to say stop.

Be clear about the issue and stand up for yourself no matter who you’re talking to. You don’t have to let people mistreat you.

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Final Thoughts on Phrases to Remember When Someone Is Unkind to You

You can’t always avoid unkind people, and you might experience mean behavior from those closest to you. These phrases can help you end the mistreatment and clarify what you expect from the people in your life. They can also help you boost positivity in yourself and those around you.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, even if it’s uncomfortable. You don’t have to deal with unkind behavior, and you can experience results as soon as you speak up. If someone isn’t okay with you speaking up, you may want to reevaluate that relationship.

Set healthy boundaries, speak up for yourself, and stay kind. It’ll help you feel better and limit unkind or rude behavior from others.