How to Deal with Someone Rude
Have you ever dealt with someone rude?
All you try to do is have a simple conversation with them – but they get super in your face, respond in nasty ways, and have no self-awareness about how their response is making you feel.
Did you know there are some psychological ways to put a rude person in their place and make them wish they’d never spoken to you?
As a therapist with a doctoral degree in psychology, I’ve spent my life studying human behaviour. I’m here to help you understand the science behind your most uncomfortable interactions to take back control of any situation.
After reading this article, you’ll know three ways to have this rude person walking away with their tail between their legs - the most satisfying feeling in the world.
4 Steps to Deal with a Rude Person
Have you ever been in a situation where you're going about your day, everything's going amazing and all of a sudden, somebody is rude to you out of the blue? The worst part is they are rude to you for no reason at all.
And all of a sudden your body starts to react. Your palms get sweaty, your heart starts racing, and your pupils dilate.
When you’re in this situation, follow these four simple steps to put a rude person in their place.
1. Ignore Your Amygdala Response
When you feel a physical reaction to someone’s rude behaviour, it’s triggered by a stress response in your amygdala. Your brain begins to release hormones that prepare your body to fight the threat or flee from the danger.
This can make you feel like:
- Running away
- Responding with anger
- Matching their aggressive energy
Now is the perfect time to remember that you’re in control – so you're not going to listen to these feelings. You are going to take a deep breath, but you're not going to say anything.
This makes the other person feel deeply unsettled and puts them off their game right off the bat.
2. Question Their Behaviour
This step can feel a bit hard, but if you do it right, this person will be so embarrassed that they messed with you.
The best example of this is an iconic Tom Cruise interview moment:
He's on the red carpet completing an interview, when suddenly, this guy squirts water in his face.
Tom Cruise reacts in the most shocking way he starts asking the person questions to make them reflect on their behaviour.
He asks questions like:
- Why would you do that?
- Is everything okay with you?
- What’s so funny about that?
- That’s incredibly rude – why would you do something so nasty?
In doing this, Tom Cruise calls out the rude behaviour and brings attention to how ridiculous it is – making them look stupid.
If you can master this technique, then at this point of the interaction, the person being rude to you will feel shame.
3. Deny Them Their Dopamine Hit
Remember that when someone is consistently rude, they are almost always looking for a dopamine hit.
When they unload on you, it feels really good for them – especially if they see you physically begin to react.
Instead of getting ready for a fight, you’re going to turn your body away and keep your palms open.
This will assert your true dominance and deprive them of the dopamine hit they want, leaving them with zero satisfaction.
4. Call for Backup
If you successfully complete steps one to three, you’ll likely be able to walk away from the situation with your head held high.
Usually, you can shake off this interaction and realize it’s more about them than it is about you.
But sometimes, the other person’s rude words and actions just stick with you, no matter what you do.
If you find yourself feeling consistently triggered by rude people, it might be because they remind you of someone from your past or bring up feelings of insecurity from old situations.
Speaking to a therapist can be a great way to uncover why you react the way you do in certain situations, and help you to build more positive responses going forward – which feels great.
Next Steps for Feeling More Confident in Dealing with Rude People
After reading this article, you know the four steps to put someone rude in their place.
Here at KMA Therapy, we’re here to help you develop clear, confident communication skills to help you navigate your life and relationships.
If you’re not ready to book an appointment, check out these resources to keep learning: