Unfortunately, there will always be encounters with rude and mean people in the world.
Although you might not always know why someone is being mean to you, at least you will know how to react to these people after reading this article.
Step 1: Realize that being mean is nothing new
Ever since the beginning of time, humans have been mean to each other.
There seems to be something programmed into our brains that just makes some people rude and mean.
And frankly, some people just make a habit of it.
Unfortunately, the focus for lots of people lies in success in life, regardless of what it takes to achieve it.
Kindness, empathy, and love are usually at the bottom of most people’s to-do lists.
I’m putting this realization as step one because it will really help you with the following steps.
Step 2: Stop the spiral
When someone is mean, this behavior can spread like a wildfire, but only if you let it!
Sometimes, a person is mean and triggers an entire spiral of mean behavior by putting the other person in a bad mood, who then goes and is mean to someone else.
For example, have you ever had a really mean customer at the beginning of your day, who makes you so mad that you let out your frustration on your coworkers?
They don’t feel much better, so they go and act rude to their spouses, and the spiral keeps going.
Let me tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way!
You alone have the power to stop this vicious cycle. A little empathy and kindness go a long way here.
When you find yourself in a situation where someone is being rude to you, don’t internalize it.
Instead, meet them with kindness and don’t let their behavior influence yours in any way.
If that feels hard for you because you’re so angry, maybe let off steam by reveling in the fact that you are being the better person right now!
Step 3: Bring out your personal power
If someone’s being mean to you, there’s no justification for treating them just as badly. This won’t do you or them any favors.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself and hold your head high in the face of intimadation.
How can you do that?
The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
This affects our self-esteem, and when facing a rude person, you need plenty of it to put them in their place!
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and be the person you’d be proud of.
So if you’re tired of putting up with rudeness, his advice could be the turning point you need to put an end to it.
Click here to watch the free video.
Step 4: Don’t take it personally
I know, when someone is mean to your face for no reason, it’s hard to not take it personally.
Nevertheless, it’s the only way to break out of this cycle and have a good day after all.
The thing is, more often than not (actually, most of the time), people aren’t mean because of something YOU did, but because of their own problems.
Think about it: most kids that bully others in school are the ones with terrible home life.
They are trying to distract themselves, get some revenge, even though it’s directed at someone completely unrelated, or gain a sense of control by having the “power” to bully someone.
None of these reasons have anything to do with poor Billy who got his lunch money taken away.
While that obviously doesn’t excuse the behavior of mean people, it does make it a lot easier to meet their behavior in a more understanding way.
Being negative to them in return will only fuel this flame of hatred, whereas kindness can sometimes even make the mean person realize what they are doing!
When someone is mean to you, realize that this is not about you and that there is most certainly something going on in their life that makes them act that way.
On that note, try to be objective. Analyze the situation and think about what that person said or did. Did it make any sense?
In most cases, objectively viewing the situation will help you realize that there was really no sense in their behavior, which makes it easier to ignore.
On the rare occurrence that there was a point behind their behavior, analyzing the situation will help you get to the root of the issue and resolve it!
Step 5: Kill ‘em with kindness
Nothing startles a mean person more than when the other person reacts to their actions with kindness as opposed to more rude behavior.
Staying friendly and positive can calm the other person down and give them an incentive to match your behavior.
Simply put, kindness is the antidote to meanness.
In my own experience, being kind to someone who is obviously trying to be mean to you can be extremely hard, but it does get easier with practice.
Usually, they will want to follow your lead, and if not, at least you can be proud of yourself for not lowering your standards and letting a mean person trigger you!
Step 6: Use humor to defuse
You probably know how tense and uncomfortable a situation can get when someone is being purposely mean to you.
As I mentioned earlier, oftentimes a person is mean because of something going on in their own personal life.
In that case, meeting the situation with humor can do an amazing job at breaking the tension and allowing everyone to relax.
It’s not always easy to find a reason to joke around in circumstances like that, but you can try to think of a story of a shared experience you had.
In case you might be asking yourself why you would award their mean behavior with humor, think about it in the long term.
Do you want to spend possibly the next few minutes, hours, or depending on the situation, days, feeling tense and mad?
By diffusing the situation, you allow everyone to reset and hopefully start off on a better note again.
Step 7: Call them out
How you choose to react to a person being mean to you for no reason is a very individual choice.
In my own experience, I tend to be a kind person, trying to meet them with empathy, but if you are usually more of an outspoken person, calling them out on their behavior might work better for you!
Tell them what they are doing and ask them to stop.
This tactic works especially well if the person being mean to you is not somebody you can easily avoid.
Instead of dealing with this every time you see them for god knows how long, you should address the issue.
Remember, even here it is extremely useful to not get worked up, but to approach them in a calm, kind manner.
Ask them if they even realize what they are doing, and how that is affecting you.
Believe it or not, some people are so disconnected from emotions that they don’t even notice how mean they are being.
Best case, they apologize and things get better, worst case, at least you stood up for yourself!
Step 8: Take a deep breath
Do you find yourself getting flustered? Frustrated? Choked up and upset when confronted by a rude person?
That’s natural. Many of us feel this way when confronted in a hostile manner.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I’ve felt overwhelmed by certain situations in life, I was introduced to an unusual free breathwork video created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê, which focuses on dissolving stress and boosting inner peace.
My relationship was failing, I felt tense all the time. My self-esteem and confidence hit rock bottom. I’m sure you can relate – a breakup is a prime time for heated arguments and uncomfortable confrontations.
I had nothing to lose, so I tried this free breathwork video, and the results were incredible.
But before we go any further, why am I telling you about this?
I’m a big believer in sharing – I want others to feel as empowered as I do. And, if it worked for me, it could help you too.
Secondly, Rudá hasn’t just created a bog-standard breathing exercise – he’s cleverly combined his many years of breathwork practice and shamanism to create this incredible flow – and it’s free to take part in.
Now, I don’t want to tell you too much because you need to experience this for yourself.
All I will say is that by the end of it, I much more in control of my emotions. I was able to hold my ground, stand up for myself and walk away feeling strong and proud by the end of confrontation.
So, if you’d like to feel the same way, I’d recommend checking out Rudá’s free breathwork video.
You might not be able to change the rude people around you, but you will change how you react to them.
Here’s a link to the free video again.
Step 9: Don’t let the situation escalate
As humans, our first impulse to hurtful behavior is immediate defense and counterattack.
In that situation, it’s useful to remember that you will never have control over anything else in this life other than your own reactions.
Choose to resist your impulses and take pride in the fact that you can control yourself more than the person who just lashed out on you for no reason.
You are in charge of your own behavior!
Something that really helps in that situation, is to take deep breaths. Calming your breath is the first step to calming your mind and body.
Another great thing to do is to get some physical space. Go for a walk, go to another room, just remove yourself from the situation.
This is a great tool for fights in relationships as well, by the way. Once things get too heated, simply take a break to cool off and return to the situation when you’ve calmed down.
Step 10: Show empathy
We kind of already talked about this a bit, but I want to emphasize this point because it’s just so important.
People aren’t mean for no reason. But that reason is rarely you.
In order to show someone empathy, you will have to understand the core issues of why they are so mean to you.
Common reasons people lash out at innocent people include:
- A fight with the husband or wife
- Extreme stress at work
- A difficult situation with a friend
- Some trouble with the children
- Getting fired
- Breaking up with someone
…and these are just a few!
You see, people go through hardships every day, and some choose to cope with that by lashing out to others.
If you’re on the receiving end of this, try to see if you can figure out a way to tell them that you care about what they are going through.
Feeling alone can trigger lots of emotions, which is why a simple act of empathy like that can turn a person’s mindset around completely.
Try not to judge them for having a terrible day and letting it out on you. Instead, let them know that you feel the same sometimes, and it’s okay to feel bad from time to time.
Perhaps they will become aware of their behavior. If not, try to let it go and move on with your day.
Step 11: Monkey see, monkey do
Being a good role model goes a long way with showing people how mean they are acting.
Rude behavior can have all kinds of different motives. It could be:
- They are having a hard day and letting it out on you
- They are trying to show dominance
- They are trying to display their power over you
- They are trying to provoke you, so you look bad
None of these are very good reasons to be mean to somebody (is there even a good reason?).
Don’t give them the satisfaction of getting you riled up! Instead, be a good role model to them.
You can show them how a good person acts by:
- Being kind
- Being fair to others
- Showing empathy to everyone
- Dealing with your bad days in a healthy manner
- Learning to cope with your emotions effectively
Step 12: Avoid them
I just showed you a lot of different ways to deal with a mean person, and if that’s not enough, there is always the ultimate way out: avoid them.
In the case that you’ve tried everything you can to make that person aware of what you are doing, showing them empathy and kindness, but nothing works, it might be time to just walk away.
You can’t force anybody to change, and some people are in a place where it is impossible for them to see their own mistakes.
Avoiding these kinds of people, you give them one target less to be mean to.
Sometimes, that’s all you really can do. If more and more people walk the other way when that person comes along, it might be a wake-up call to how messed up their behavior is.
Once you get to that point, however, don’t worry too much about whether that inspired change in them or not.
Just be glad that you can get out of their way and move on with your day without negativity.
Mean behavior hurts, but when you remove yourself from the situation, you can make sure to avoid more hits from them.
In case they are a stranger, you never have to deal with them again, and if they are a friend, they’ll notice that their behavior gets them nowhere.
Be the bigger person
You see, there is always an easy way out, getting on the same level as the mean person, hitting them back with equally questionable behavior.
But do you really want that? Will that make you feel better?
I can promise you it won’t.
Sure, in the heat of the moment, pumped up with adrenalin, you will feel like you’re doing the right thing.
10 minutes later, when you’ve calmed down, you will realize that there was no point to it.
All that will really do, is fuel the fire of mean behavior, helping it spread even more.
If you truly want this situation to improve, you need to be the bigger person.
Whether that means meeting them with kindness, calling them out, or walking away is up to you.
Remember, that this is most likely not about you at all, and you can show them your power by being in control of your reactions and not giving them the satisfaction of being provoked!