When Someone Isn’t Nice, Should You Ignore It?

People can be rude or insensitive.

How to react when someone is mean

If you are on the receiving end of a hurtful remark, you may be tempted to ignore it or brush it aside rather than risk adding to your discomfort by giving it further attention. Snubs, slights and other verbal “sticks and stones” are part of life, but our words matter, and what we say affects other people and affects how they feel about us.

A caring and constructive response is to talk to a friend, confident, family member in a way that gives you a chance to share your feelings, and the two of you an opportunity to reflect together on how to handle moments like this.

Often, such comments are made in a context that you or may not have witnessed yourself. Even if you think you know the circumstances, there may be more to it than you are aware.

How to navigate socially when you hit a bump.

  1. Tell it Like it Is.  Acknowledge to yourself or your child that what was said was inappropriate—a poor way for anyone to speak to someone else, whatever their gripe may be.
  2. Acknowledge feelings. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about what was said?” This gives you a way to analyze why it hurts so much.
  3. “What was that about?” No need to interrogate the offender, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Could you have misunderstood? Was it intentional. Could they be having a bad day? Is there any evidence that I brought this on?
  4. Do a quick reality check. Are your feelings reasonable given the circumstances? Just for your own understanding, listen to your self-talk for any emotional extreme that suggests you are struggling with something bigger than you might have imagined.

No matter what, there is always a choice. We can either believe the things that makes us feel small, or we can fight hard for ourselves and our worth.

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