15 signs of a rude person (and what to do about it)

There’s someone who’s been a pain in your behind.

They seem nice enough on the surface, but something about how they treat people makes you a little uneasy.

You want to say that they’re rude… but you’re not so sure.

That’s why in this article, I will give you 15 signs to identify a rude person and what you can do once you’re sure they’re one.

1) They give nompliments.

A good sign that someone is a rude person is that they like to dole out insults dressed up like compliments.

People call these “nonpliments” or “backhanded compliments”, and they’re especially insidious because of how people can and will take these as actual compliments unless they really think about it.

For example, they might say “Wow. You and your boyfriend seem great. I hope he can stand your annoying behavior.”

We can agree that insults in general are already quite rude. But nonpliments are especially bad because of how sneaky they are.

There’s no real reason to dress your insults up like compliments except to make someone feel like sh*t.

2) Judging is their favorite hobby.

Rudeness goes hand in hand with being judgemental, and there’s no way for someone who’s judgemental to not be rude.

See, if they ALWAYS have something bad to say about others—like, say, over their looks, sexuality, work, or the way they talk—then they’re rude, plain and simple.

You might say “but they’re not rude to me”, but see, they don’t need to be rude AT you to be actually rude.

And who knows… if they have something to say about random people they meet on the streets, they probably have something to say about YOU when you’re not around.

3) They make you feel bad about yourself.

It’s never pleasant being around rude people because they make it a point to make you feel small or irrelevant or stupid.

They might lord their skills and talents over you, or talk to you with words meant to put you “in your place.”

And when they pity you, you know it’s not because they’re concerned about you, but because they’re gloating over how you’re below them.

You will know they’re this kind of person if you always walk away from your interactions with them feeling low when you shouldn’t be.

4) They always try to one-up everyone else.

You would talk about how bad your day was, and they would try to one-up you by going “well, my day was worse!”

Or perhaps you might talk about how happy you are that you finally managed to cook the perfect pizza, and they’d tell you “eh, it’s not even that good. I cooked better yesterday.”

Rude people think they’re always great.

It’s like they can’t stand it when someone else is better than they are. And so their competitiveness makes them say and do rude things as a result.

5) They’re very self-absorbed.

They talk as if the world owes them for it.

If they ever give a beggar money, they would talk about how “good” they are for it and how the beggar should be “grateful” for their help.

Bring up the fact that, say, you forgot to buy your younger sister the paintbrush you promised her, and they’d shrug and tell you “Well, figure it out. It’s not my problem. I want to enjoy my night.”

They act as if the world itself revolves around them. You could barely ever talk about yourself around them because they would always find a way to make it about them.

NOTE: Being self-absorbed alone doesn’t automatically make one rude, but many self-absorbed people are. That’s because they really don’t give a damn about others.

6) They always feel attacked.

You talk about the importance of financial independence. They hurl a rude comment because they feel like you’re attacking them for being poor.

You talk about how much you love your daughter. They snap at you all of a sudden and you think you said that to make her jealous.

People like this feel like they’re always under attack for one reason or another, so they feel like they’re perpetually on edge.

And when you’re in that kind of tense mind-space, it becomes natural to “defend” yourself by attacking everyone else.

“How dare you hurt me! I’ll hurt you more!” is the usual justification of a rude person when they think someone’s attacking them.

7) They are disrespectful to service staff.

One of the biggest signs that someone is a straight up rude person is that they don’t show service staff any respect.

In fact, they would openly disrespect anyone that they see are below them, or are there to “serve” them.

They would snap at waiters, act demanding around their subordinates, and snap at “stupid” drivers.

Someone who is rude to those below their station is a rude person, even if they aren’t being rude to you.

And the moment they see you as being lesser than them in any way, they’ll turn on you and treat you like you’re garbage.

8) They have rude friends.

Rude people tend to have few friends for a good reason, and what friends they have tend to be equally rude.

They often make it a point to complain about how “everyone” is mean to them, or how people are shallow, fickle, and can’t be trusted.

They might even praise each other for being “different” and “real” and “honest.”

Give them enough time and they’ll start hating and being rude to each other.

9) They talk like everyone else is stupid.

They like to talk about the things they know, or the things they do. And they always take center stage in conversations… but not because of their know-how.

They take center stage because they talk like they’re the only smart person in the room, overexplaining things that are already common knowledge or common sense.

And when someone can’t follow what they’re saying, or if someone says something they don’t understand, they roll their eyes and get impatient.

Chances are that people talk about them behind their back, talking about how rude and insufferable they are.

10) They rarely show gratitude.

Unless they absolutely, of course. And even then, their “thank you” is most likely insincere.

They might say “thank you” when they’re receiving a favor from a superior or someone they want to flatter. But they take for granted the things that those who they see as equal or lesser to them.

Granted, some people prefer to show rather than tell, and let you feel their gratitude by treating you or giving you something back in turn.

But they don’t even do that! They simply grunt and move on as if nothing significant happened.

11) They pick at your insecurities.

Let’s say that they somehow know that you’re insecure about your height or your relationship status.

Instead of ignoring this little bit of knowledge, they would make “harmless jokes” about how you’ll have a stiff neck for being short, or how you should sleep early so you’ll get taller and finally get dates.

Perhaps you tolerated it at first, but it had started to hurt now. But when you bring it up and ask them to tone it down, they would turn it around and tell you that you’re a “killjoy.”

They’re just joking after all! Can’t you take a joke?

12) They use demeaning nicknames.

Being called things like “dear”, “honey”, and “sweetie” is incredibly insulting when you simply aren’t close enough that they are justified in using these nicknames on you.

Sometimes it can even be worse than being thrown a straight insult. And there’s a good reason for this. It’s meant to make you feel like you’re “beneath” them, like an adult talking down to a kid.

It’s even worse when they actually are “above” you in some way, such as by being richer than you or being higher up the pecking order at work.

13) They talk over people.

You feel like you are never allowed to speak unless they explicitly let you. They would talk so much that it’s hard for you to even utter a single word.

And worst of all, they would interrupt you when you’re speaking, but get mad when you try to interrupt them.

Maybe they might pull rank or seniority to shut you up.

This is incredibly rude, even if they actually do have rank or seniority over you. After all, just because you are somehow “lesser” doesn’t mean that they should be rude to you.

14) They’re flat out inconsiderate.

They would make plans to go to the movies with you at six, so you go there and wait… only for them to not show up!

Call them about it, and they’d shower you with excuses and get upset at you as if it was YOU who did something wrong or are the one being inconsiderate.

pexels diva plavalaguna 5711600 1 15 signs of a rude person (and what to do about it)

Or you might be watching TV with your friends when they’d pick up a call and instead of walking away… they stay there, talking loudly into the phone. They might even ask you to lower the volume!

They simply don’t care for how their actions affect others, and it’s almost like they’re the main character of life itself.

15) They never apologize.

Rude people don’t like it when other people make them feel they’re rude. So they’d never say sorry and instead hate you for making them feel bad about themselves.

And if they ever do, you know that it isn’t genuine. There’s always a “but” somewhere, or perhaps a dismissiveness in the way they put their words together that lets you know they don’t have their heart in it.

It doesn’t matter how big their mistake was. It could be that they didn’t hold the door open for you or it could be that they ran over someone.

You know that they did something wrong, and so do they. But they simply shrug it off as if nothing happened.

What to do if you’re with a rude person

 1) Keep your cool.

The first item on this list, and arguably the most important, is that you don’t let it get to you. Stay as calm as you can.

The last thing you want is to be angry around a rude person, because THEY will take it personally and use it as an opportunity to “humble” you more.

It’s not worth it.

And anyway, there’s no way you can deal with a rude person properly if you’re angry.

2) Be empathetic.

It can feel wrong to try to empathize with a rude person. You will feel like you’re just making and accepting excuses for people being horrible.

But that’s not the point of empathy. Them being rude is not a good thing, and no amount of understanding why will ever change that.

Empathy is more for your peace of mind, so that you can be a bit more patient when dealing with them and people in general.

3) Be careful what you say around them.

It pays to be careful what to say around people who are chronically rude. Say the wrong thing and they might just use it against you.

For example, I brought up the fact that they’ll happily pick at your insecurities and judge people for all sorts of random things they just so happen to have biases against.

So as much as possible, you will want to hide your insecurities, as well as anything about you they might judge you for.

4) Hit them back with kindness.

A common trick that service workers like to use on rude customers is to be especially kind towards them. Excessively so.

Telling a rude, entitled customer “thank you, may you have an amazing day” with a big smile will offend them more than any attempts at insulting them back.

It demonstrates that you are unfazed by their rudeness and that you’re actually a much better person than them. This makes them feel shame for their behavior.

5) Be direct.

When dealing with rude people and especially when you’re calling out their rudeness, you don’t want to get back at them by being passive aggressive or being rude back.

For example, say “I don’t want you to make fun of my height. Please stop.” or “Please don’t raise your voice.”

If you must talk to them, you must be direct and clear with your words. This way they simply can’t dismiss whatever you have to say behind excuses like “you’re being rude” or “what are you playing at? I don’t understand you.”

They can still elect to ignore you (and they probably will) but that’s on them.

6) Don’t escalate.

Needless to say, it’s a bad idea to lash back at someone who’s annoying you, even if it might be very tempting to do so.

This goes hand in hand with the first advice I gave on this list—that you should try to keep your cool as much as possible.

Hitting back at them, even if you try to be subtle about it, will only make them less willing to listen to you. And if they’ve been trying to piss you off… it’s their win.

7) Defuse them with humor.

Someone being rude and aggressive can really bring down the mood.

Thankfully, you can lift the mood and make them feel bad about being rude with properly placed humor.

Avoid making a joke that might seem like a direct attack at whatever they’ve been saying, and instead try to joke about something everyone can relate to. Maybe even poke fun at yourself.

It gets a bit awkward for them to keep being rude after you’ve stolen the spotlight from them and made people laugh instead.

8) Don’t engage with gossip.

It might be tempting to gossip about them when they aren’t around, or maybe share your mutual frustrations.

But don’t do that. You’ll only put yourself in a mindset where you’ll feel justified to hate them, and thus be rude to them in turn. I’ve already talked about why this is a bad idea.

And of course, there’s always the risk that they’ll catch wind of the gossip and turn at you because of it.

9) Make sure you aren’t being rude too.

Rudeness is contagious. It’s incredibly tempting to be rude towards someone because someone else was rude at you earlier in the day.

So that’s why you should make sure to check yourself every so often to make sure you aren’t taking out your frustrations on other people, or that you aren’t ruining the mood for everyone else.

It takes vigilance, but it’s well within your power to stop it from spreading.

10) Stay away from them.

In the end, when all else fails, don’t forget that you can always just stay away from them.

Cut them out of your life.

This can sometimes be easier said than done. If they’re your boss, for example, you just can’t ignore them like you could ignore a rude colleague.

In such cases, you can simply try to minimize any unnecessary interactions with them.

Treat them as people you’ll have to deal with for work and nothing more.

As for rude friends and lovers who are frequent offenders, ditch them. There’s no need to suffer.

Last words

Rude people—and that is to say, those who are consistently rude—are often more than just that. They’re often also incredibly combative and have a bone to pick with people.

They might have plenty of valid reasons for being that kind of person. They might be constantly stressed, for example, or they might be bitter about the hand they were dealt in life.

It helps to offer them a degree of sympathy.

But of course, remember to put yourself first and foremost. If they make you feel uncomfortable, then don’t be afraid to distance yourself from them. Why let one rude person ruin your day, your week, your year, your life?

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.