Does being around a certain person make you feel bad about yourself, but you can’t figure out why?
Well, there’s a fairly good chance that person is being rude, without you or them even realizing it.
The truth is that some people have a range of deep-seated personality issues and subconsciously project them onto others.
After all, misery loves company.
This can manifest as rude comments or phrases unfairly hurled in your direction.
You shouldn’t have to deal with that.
But the first step is to recognize the behaviors so you can call them out in real time.
In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the common phrases rude people use, without realizing they’re being rude.
Let’s get to it!
1) “I was just being honest.”
Although honesty is generally regarded as a good quality, when we’re too honest, we can end up hurting people, which sort of strips away any of the nobility associated with it.
Some people think that being honest gives them a license to say whatever they want, however painful.
They’ll use the protection of “being honest” to hurt others, convincing themselves and others they’re morally in the right.
We, unfortunately, live in a world of binary thinking, a world where there is minimal nuance.
This environment only encourages rude people, since they can gain immunity, even admiration, for hiding behind traditional values like honesty or bluntness.
But this can be dangerous.
Think about it: if you were truly honest all the time, you would probably be completely outlawed by society.
Maybe, for instance, your partner frequently asks you how they look.
Imagine if you consistently told them the truth; like the time you thought they looked overweight and were wearing an ugly, uncoordinated outfit.
If you pursued the former option instead of “you look great!” you’d probably end up single pretty fast.
The rude person, on the other hand, will not hesitate to make a hurtful or overly critical remark, dismissing its impact, since they were just “being honest.”
Remember, honesty doesn’t always mean decency.
2) “I told you so.”
This one is akin to rubbing salt in the proverbial wound.
I mean, it’s human to make mistakes or be wrong.
Instead of letting a person realize their shortcomings on their own accord, the rude person might mutter a snide “I told you so”, which only adds fuel to the fire.
“I told you so” isn’t constructive or helpful; when we use it, it’s typically because we want to assert superiority and emphasize failure.
If you want to leave a better impression, offer guidance or constructive feedback instead of patronizing one-liners.
3) “You’re too sensitive.”
When a person is being rude, they might wash their hands of culpability by busting out “you’re too sensitive” or “I was only joking.”
If someone says something hurtful to you, they don’t get to decide how their words made you feel–doing so is essentially a form of gaslighting.
The act of dismissing your feelings is also condescending; as if you’re some emotional loose cannon, while they sit back on their high horse acting like a picture of rationality and calm.
If someone hurts you, do not put up with it. It’s that simple.
4) “No offense, but…”
In case you haven’t noticed, rude people are experts at avoiding accountability.
They have an arsenal of phrases to achieve that goal, “no offense, but…” being one of them.
I’ve always found this one to be a bit perplexing since it is almost exclusively used to precede a, well, offensive comment.
If you want to say something hurtful, then own up to it, and take the ensuing repercussions gracefully.
Don’t try to absolve yourself by hiding behind empty words.
5) “Must be nice to have so much free time.”
I pretty much work on my own time, which is the beauty of my job.
On occasion, I finish my tasks over the weekend, so I’ll have plenty of free time to frolic during the week.
I can relax, binge HBO Max, or day-drink craft beers as I please.
I remember a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to watch the ballgame at my local sports bar and texted a friend to join. It was a Tuesday afternoon.
My friend, who works in a far more traditional, office-based setting replied: “I’m at work. Must be nice to have so much free time.”
Aware of his personality, I knew that the text wasn’t exactly meant to be innocuous.
He wanted to make a point: that I was the carefree, slacker wandering through the week aimlessly, while he was busy taking care of business at the office.
In essence, he was suggesting that my priorities were inferior to his.
The sentiment was minimizing, it was dismissive and, I won’t lie, it rubbed me the wrong way.
But he ended up joining me for the second half anyway. Go Jets!
6) “You look so tired today.”
We all know that ‘looking tired’ is code for looking like crap.
Outright criticizing someone’s appearance is frowned upon.
But telling them they look tired?
A similar level of rudeness is communicated but in a way that is far more subtle and socially accepted.
In short, it’s still pretty insulting.
Maybe you’ve gone through a long day of hustling and trying to make ends meet and didn’t get adequate sleep, or perhaps you’ve been bawling all night after breaking up with your partner of five years.
And you run into a friend who says with conviction that “You look tired”.
This isn’t something you want to hear, especially when you’re vulnerable.
You want your spirits lifted, you want empathy, you want your friend to be a safe space.
You don’t want to have to think about your appearance; that is just added stress.
7) “You should smile more.”
Contrary to popular belief, we shouldn’t have to be brimming with joy and positivity at all times.
Human emotions are complex, they’re complicated, they’re vast.
The truth is, we truly never know what other people are going through: maybe they have a biological mental condition, maybe they’ve had a rough upbringing, maybe they just got back from war and are experiencing PTSD, maybe they’re in the middle of an ugly divorce.
Not everyone has to be perpetually smiling–and if you think they do, that’s on you.
People shouldn’t have to conform and change their disposition and demeanor just to appease you and your level of discomfort.
As the old adage goes, “Live and let live.”
So if someone’s facial expression, or lack thereof, is bothering you, that’s not their problem, it’s yours.
If you have a rude person in your life, then consider it time to sit down and communicate your issues with them.
Chances are, they may not even be fully aware of how their disposition or language impacts those around them.
But if you’ve tried this, and genuine change remains elusive, then you might want to start distancing yourself from that person.
Life is short; we should be spending it with people more deserving of our time. You got this.