7 clever phrases to use when someone is being rude and judgmental to you

We can’t get on all of the time (we’re human, after all).

In fact, experts say that the average adult gets angry at least once per day.

Whether it’s with your partner, at the office, or after one too many drinks at a party, conflict is an inevitable part of life.

You’re going to have to get used to it!

Rude and impolite behavior is everywhere (unfortunately).

The burning question though, is how to deal with it.

I’ve got your back.

Check out these seven clever phrases that you can use when someone is being particularly rude and judgemental towards you.

1) “Can we talk about it?”

Right off the bat, communication is key.

Asking for clarification and opening a discussion is a great way to resolve issues.

We all say things we regret (I know I do). Especially in the moment. Taking a step back and calmly engaging in a respectful conversation usually irons things out.

At least it helps you understand each other.

Here’s an example.

I had a work colleague that wasn’t contributing to the team. We had a tight deadline and I was feeling under pressure.

It came to a head when he personally attacked me, saying I was a control freak and impossible to work with.

I organized a one-on-one meeting to talk it out.

You wouldn’t believe how much it helped!

I asked him how we could work more effectively together. We both actively listened to each other’s perspectives without interrupting.

He was frustrated because he had expertise that I wasn’t aware of.

We agreed on a path forward and absolutely smashed the task.

2) “I have my own ideas about this.”

Responding to judgment with “I…” does a couple of things.

First of all, it’s hard to disagree with.

But also, it makes the reply more personal and allows you to acknowledge your differences without a screaming argument.

If they want to understand more, you can explain your ideas. But if they’re not interested in your viewpoint, at least they know where you stand (and that you have some reasoning behind your actions).

At the end of the day, rude behavior usually comes from anger and frustration.

Think about it.

There might be absolutely nothing you can do about it.

They could just be having a bad day.

You’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So this kind of response can help keep them at arm’s length. It wraps up the discussion without getting too involved.

3) “I understand why you feel that way.”

This phrase uses compassion and empathy.

It’s a clever way to deal with negative judgment as you’re effectively looking at things from their point of view (which they’ll appreciate).

Once they know you’re on the same page, you can then start to express your side of the story.

Put it this way.

Your teenage daughter wants to stay out until 3 am. She says something like: “There’s a huge party tonight, everyone’s going to be there, can I stay out late?”

Simply replying: “No.” is going to create frustration and resentment (and plenty of judgment).

It would be better to start with: “I understand you want to party with your friends, it sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m concerned about your safety.”

Do you see the difference? 

Once you relate to them, they’ll hear your angle so much more.

You’re showing them respect by explaining why you feel the way you do.

4) “I don’t appreciate being spoken to that way.”

Sometimes, you’ll need to be more direct.

It’s your call.

This phrase is an example of setting boundaries.

You’re making it clear that they’ve just crossed the line and that it’s unacceptable.

By being assertive and standing your ground, you’re showing a position of strength and confidence (in a respectful and calm manner).

Of course, the conversation could go in either direction.

On the one hand, they may realize they’ve overstepped and back down. But on the other hand, things could escalate (especially if they’re emotional).

Just remember this.

If you never stand up for yourself, chances are you’ll continue to get walked over. People will see you as a pushover and potentially take advantage.

5) “It’s okay to disagree, but let’s do so respectfully.”

This phrase addresses the rude behavior and attempts to steer the conversation in a more constructive direction.

In other words, de-escalate.

You’re reminding them to maintain a level of respect (without being too confrontational about it).

And it’s true.

It’s perfectly okay to disagree.

Imagine a world where everyone had the same opinion. How boring life would be! Not to mention, the complete lack of progress and development.

Echo chambers are much worse than respectful debates and disagreements.

6) “Give me ten minutes.”

We all get emotional.

I know I’m extremely irritable if I don’t get my eight hours of beauty sleep!

If you feel yourself losing control, this phrase allows you to calm down and respond later, in a more rational way.

It’s easier said than done.

But practicing mindfulness and learning self-awareness can help.

The key is to identify that you’re becoming angry. Then try to separate yourself from those feelings. It’s a process and requires practice, but once you master it, it’ll pay dividends.

You can also excuse yourself to go use the bathroom.

Whatever gets you out and gives you time to calm down.

You don’t want to sink to their level, it’ll only escalate into a fight.

7) “Sorry to cut this short, but I have to be somewhere.”

Finally, sometimes there’s no other choice but to completely remove yourself from the situation (permanently).

This is a good strategy if you find yourself in a confrontation with a stranger.

Let’s be honest.

You don’t really care about arguing your case. You’ll probably never see them again. So drop your ego and let them have their opinion.

Always remember…

It’s okay to walk away. Especially if they’re extremely unpredictable, stubborn, or even dangerous.

Dealing with rude individuals isn’t easy. As you can see from this list, there are a bunch of different strategies you can use depending on the specific scenario.

But hopefully, you’re now better equipped to deal with anything that comes your way.

Leila El-Dean

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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