In the fast-paced world of today, encountering rudeness can often be an unwelcome yet unavoidable part of life.
Whether it’s an abrasive comment at work, an impolite encounter at the grocery store, or a harsh word from a stranger online, we’ve all been on the receiving end of rudeness at some point.
It can be challenging to keep your cool, let alone respond in a constructive manner.
But just because they’re rude, it doesn’t mean you have to be.
If you encounter a rude person in the wild, it’s always handy to have some retorts on hand in case they get a little too snappy on you.
Here’s a list of a few things you can say – either to them or to yourself.
1. “Your Feedback Has Been Noted.”
I love this comeback for two reasons. One, it’s acknowledging what they said without putting too much weight on it; and two, it’s as dismissive as you can get without being actually rude yourself.
It’s short, sweet, and straight to the point, something that makes it even better.
Feel free to use this if someone’s been mouthing off too much in your general direction – or just mouthing off in general.
2. “Can You Say That Again?”
This one is a little more confrontational and should be saved for when someone’s both rude and aggressive.
Sometimes a rude person’s attitude is all bark and no bite: and when confronted, they’ll quickly back down.
A comeback like this forces them to commit to what they said, and most rude people in my experience usually can’t take that kind of pressure.
It’s certainly a lot sharper than other phrases on this list, but sometimes people need a harsh talking-to to make them realize they’re acting out of line.
3. “That’s A Bit Uncalled For.”
Another way you can deal with rude people is by just pointing out that they’ve been rude.
Again, this all goes back to having someone realize their behavior and correcting it themselves.
It’s much more effective in changing how they act and requires less effort on your part.
However, you should be prepared if the person is far more confrontational: saying something like this may mean that you’ll only enrage them further.
4. “What Do You Want From Me Here?”
Rudeness can also occur as a side-effect of frustration: it can be that someone isn’t trying to be rude but is merely failing to communicate.
In this case, asking how they want the situation to resolve itself can help find common ground.
If nothing else, this forces them to really examine how they’re acting in that situation, and self-reflection may just be the thing they need to fix their behavior.
5. “Being Helpful Would Be Preferable To Being Critical.”
In my experience, some rude people need a little push in the right direction: and saying something like the above may be just the thing that they need.
Sometimes it’s not really the message but the delivery that gets mixed up, and rude people may not know this.
And if they’re being deliberately rude? The above can also work as a satisfying way to call them out on it.
A bit straight to the point, but sometimes that’s what you need to get the message across.
6. “If You’re Trying To Be Rude, It’s Working.”
This is something that I’ve only used when someone is being deliberately belligerent.
It’s confrontational in every sense of the word, and it’s meant to not only call out their behavior but also to warn them of the consequences if they don’t stop.
Don’t use this lightly: other people can see this statement as an escalation.
And if you aren’t careful, whoever you’re saying it to will see it as a challenge, rather than a warning. It’s important to be careful sometimes too.
7. “Everyone Gets At Least One.”
This phrase is a bit different: it’s something that you should say to yourself, rather than the rude person in question.
There will be times when someone will be rude to you and you can’t do anything about it, and in those cases, it’s much better to just toughen yourself up instead of seeking out unnecessary conflict.
If nothing else, this phrase can help you center your attention on yourself – the person that does matter the most in this situation – rather than dwelling on the rude person and whatever they did to you.
8. “Why Should I Care?”
Because that’s really the core of dealing with rudeness sometimes – why should you care?
Sometimes rude people are just rude for the stupidest reasons, and there’s no point in engaging with them any further than that.
Sometimes the best thing for your own peace of mind is to simply not care about what just happened.
You can say this to yourself or the rude person in question: both are equally effective at getting your point across.
Not only will you not care, but they’ll get the message that you don’t in the most direct way possible.
9. “I Don’t Remember Asking For Your Opinion.”
This is particularly satisfying to use on people who have opinions on everything – even if they’re wrong. I’ve used it a few times myself and it’s an excellent way to shut people up.
Rudeness doesn’t have to be confrontational: a snide remark or two is common for rude behavior.
By saying this, you not only call out what they’re doing but point out how unnecessary it is.
It’s a one-two punch that can get them to leave you alone, and will likely discourage any similar behavior in the future.
10. “They’re Probably Having A Bad Day.”
A bad day can happen to everyone. People’s reactions to it are different: some can handle it with dignity and grace, while others tend to lash out.
In these situations, there’s really no way to call someone out on their behavior without being confrontational.
But if you want to avoid a confrontation – and if the signs are apparent – you can simply brush off their rude behavior by telling yourself this phrase.
It’s straight to the point and will allow you to go about your day much quicker.
11. “You’re Being Very Rude Right Now.”
If you do think a confrontation is the best way to resolve someone being rude, there’s nothing better than just calling their behavior rude as is.
This will usually get you into a protracted fight (at least in my experience), but it gets the point across.
Alternatively, you can just say this and walk away – nothing is stopping you from staying there and taking more of their behavior. I’d say that this would be a fitting parting shot if that’s how you’d do it.
12. “I’m Waiting For Your Apology.”
While this may sound overly self-entitled, there will be occasions where someone’s rudeness will be so plain to everyone involved that it’s best to skip the pleasantries.
Asking for their apology outright conveys two things: you don’t have the patience for what they did and they should apologize before things escalate.
It’s an extremely confrontational phrase to say, but it’s also something that some rude people just need to hear.
13. “Why Are They Behaving This Way?”
More self-reflective than confrontational, this is something that you should ask yourself if the rudeness you’ve experienced isn’t typical of someone’s behavior.
Alternatively, you can also ask yourself this question if you think you haven’t done anything for that kind of response.
A little self-reflection can sometimes shed light on why people act the way that they act, but it doesn’t really guarantee that you’ll get an answer. Still, it’s not a bad idea to try.
14. “Was This A Failure To Communicate?”
Mixed signals are unfortunately something everyone will have to deal with – sometimes the message doesn’t really come across correctly and it’s easy to take it as something rude.
If you’re not quite sure why (or if) someone’s being rude, ask if there’s a communication issue.
Most of the time, this is enough to jolt the person back to more appropriate behavior.
And if they’re being inappropriate on purpose, this is a better way to shut them up.
There will be times when silence would be the best response to someone being rude.
Whether it’s not something worth reacting to, a statement of your indifference, or a backhanded slap to their behavior, silence can be used in a variety of ways to deal with rude people.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to ignore what they’ve said or done.
Silence does not always mean assent, and using it in specific ways can make any rude person extremely self-conscious indeed.
My particular favorite is just silence with raised eyebrows – works wonders in most social situations.
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