I feel the need to talk about this subject because…well, it just feels like I’ve been encountering very rude people lately. You see, the kind of energy I tend to give off is very positive, encouraging, and supportive, so when someone comes into my life spraying poison and negativity all over the place guns a blazing…I notice.
This was, and still is, a big issue for me, especially when it comes to responding back to rude people. I seem to have only two gears, both of which are the polar opposite of each other. I’m like Winston from New Girl when he pulls pranks — they’re either too little or too much (Watch video here). In other words, I either underreact and let the rude person get away with their bad behavior, or I overreact and cuss them out and then some.
After working for years at an entertainment company, learning valuable info about therapy and psychology in grad school, and going through general life bullshit, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to respond to rude people. My answer is to either ignore them, assert my opinion and rationally explain the facts, or kill them with kindness.
If you’re a crazy person like I can be sometimes though, ignoring them can be hard. At the same time, asserting yourself might be tricky as well. I remember sending a friendly message (or at least I thought it was friendly) to a fellow freelance writer before. A little background, we were responsible for double-checking whether or not someone else had already written about a particular topic, and I saw that she pitched an idea that I had already done. In my friendly message, I just told her that I had written it before–and her response was kind of aggressive.
Me: Hi *Chick, I saw that you posted this idea, I wanted to let you know that I already wrote that one! *insert article link here* You might have missed it, but I wanted to give you a heads up before the editor notices it.
Her: I don’t care if she rejects it or not. You wrote an article that was greenlit, and it was pretty much the same as mine and no one said anything. Why don’t you mind your own business?
This is when I was thinking to myself, “OK THIS BITCH.” If this were in person, I’d be ready to take off my earrings and throw down. Lol, jk I wouldn’t. I took a few minutes to cool down before responding.
Me: I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I sent you that message as a courtesy.
Her: No you didn’t.
Me: I did. I’ve read your articles, and I think you’re a great writer. There’s plenty of articles to go around for both of us, so there’s really no reason for me to be upset.
So you saw what I did in my response? Old me would have been like, “You’re fucking crazy, stupidass bitch.” and then try to make her feel dumb and then threaten her lol. New and improved me is still the same girl, but a different story. I’m an adult now and I need to learn how to get along with other people, even if I don’t like them. You ever hear the term “Kill them with kindness”?
What was bonkers is that after I responded that way, she became very friendly. It was weird. That bitch was legit insane. She Facebook friended me and she asked if I wanted to go out and get bubble tea with her. WHO DOES THAT? Anyways, things were dandy after that exchange. She eventually got fired because the editor deemed her “too defensive,” which was true. I occasionally look at her Facebook and read her rants. It seems like she regularly gets into fights with her friends as well.
Back to my topic. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH RUDE PEOPLE? Well, here are a few questions to consider before you impulsively respond.
Are you reading too much into it?
Sometimes, people just have bad messaging etiquette. It’s uncanny. I’ve emailed and texted with people who just seemed so short and rude, but then in person, they’re actually the sweetest. Maybe they’re just being normal, and YOU’RE actually the one who’s being too sensitive. This is my rule of thumb for gauging whether or not you’re reading too much into something. If it’s a *questionable* statement that can go either way, I ignore it. However, if it’s blatantly rude like the one you see above…they’re using “you” in an attacking manner or if they’re like *Chick above and they say, “why don’t you mind your own business?” Stand up for yourself, but remember to do it in a classy way. REMEMBER, KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS.
Are they projecting their insecurities onto you?
Maybe someone had a bad day. Maybe they just broke up or someone died. Maybe they’re busy and everyone’s bombarding them, and they just flipped. Recognize the situation. If you feel like someone is verbally attacking you, but the things that they’re saying are absolutely untrue, it might be that they’re just projecting their own feelings onto you. Whenever I recognize that this is the kind of person I’m dealing with, I avoid them. I understand though that when I’m a therapist one day, it’ll be different. In therapy, they teach you how to be like Teflon, letting this bullshit just slide off you. Stay true to yourself and YOU KNOW who you are, don’t listen to them. In fact, it makes me feel better simply reminding myself that this person might just be so deeply insecure that they feel the need to be rude to others. It actually ends up making me feel sad about their situation.
Are they socially awkward?
Believe it or not, there are people who are just emotional robots. They don’t know how to properly respond, react, or communicate with others. These people tend to be blunt in their exchanges, and though they don’t mean to come off this way, their lack of empathetic words, emojis, intonations, and overall blank expressions might translate to others as rudeness. If you’ve observed this person already, and you know they’re socially awkward like this, my advice is to get used to it. Unless they’re blatantly being super rude in a way that will impact, I dunno, a working relationship or something or they’re your underling at work and their behavior is getting in the way of communicating with others, there’s really no need to say anything. Think about it. If they’re socially awkward, they’re probably either really nice inside or a sociopath inside. You wouldn’t want to react badly in either situation.
Are they being defensive?
Maybe you were the one who said something wrong. Maybe what sounds like just your average everyday speech is actually you making someone feel bad. Maybe you’re the one who said something offensive. Did you talk about their parents, kids, friends, family? You might have thought you were being nice, but did you say something mean about fat people, gay people, minorities, or a certain group? Perhaps they identify with that group. Maybe you were just trying to be funny or amicable, but your joke just fell short. People say that in every joke, there’s a little bit of truth. I personally hate being trolled by people–I think that people who spend their time bringing others down for fun need to go see me in therapy because you need to address that shit. See, in that sentence alone, I probably offended some trolls. The world needs more people who want to build others up. I love those people.
Are they just plain mean and condescending?
If they are, don’t waste your energy on them. They might not be deeply insecure, they might just think they’re better than you. There are people like this in the world. I’ve grown to believe that I’m equal to everyone. NO ONE is above or below me no matter who they are. I don’t care if you’re famous or you make a lot more money than I do. I don’t care if you’re older than I am or if you’re more educated than I am. I am confident enough in myself as a person and the things that I do to recognize that I’m happy. If someone is being mean and condescending to you and they’re your boss, you can quit and find another job or secretly make their life miserable. Like put little pieces of shit in their office. If they’re mean and condescending and they’re not your boss? Ohh…*rubs hands together* get ready to throw down.
I’m just kidding, just walk away. When I’m in that situation, I look them straight in the eye and I tell them. I don’t care how wealthy you are, and I don’t care about your job, or how smart or popular you are. I judge people by their character, and right now, you’re acting like a condescending pretentious piece of shit…
And then I would go into full cuss mode.
Anyways, that’s how I deal with rude people. LOL. Honestly, killing assholes with kindness has been working for me the past few years. Nothing’s more annoying than someone who’s trying to insult you, but there you are, with a shitass eating grin on your face acting all classy and nice. It makes them look bad, and it gives you POWER.
I’m sure there are some bits of reasonable advice in there. Hope you guys have a lovely day! Feel free to drop a comment below.