How to React to an Insult?


All of us have to face with rudeness, insults, and impudence from time to time. Those who do not know how to react properly to insults suffer from resentment, feel angry, and accumulate depression. Many people, not knowing how to adequately react to insults, provoke serious conflicts with their rash words and hasty actions, ignoring any common sense and getting involved in squabbles.

Not knowing how to react to an insult, a person happens to set his fists in motion, sometimes even in cases when the situation does not require the slightest reaction. The inability to respond to the offender with a word and the inability to find the right words to teach the bully a lesson are causes of a bad mood, stress, health problems, suicides, fights, and even murders.

In order to learn how to respond to insults, it’s not enough to just learn beautiful phrases and expressions, you need to understand what an insult means, what the motives are, how to react to it (it’s not about responding, but about the psychological reaction to rudeness, humiliation, and criticism). It’s wise to adequately and beautifully respond to these attacks.

So, what is an insult? An insult is deliberate infliction of offense, the humiliation of a person’s honor and dignity, often expressed in a crude and indecent manner. In addition to verbal impact, an insult can be inflicted in writing or in the form of actions (an indecent gesture, a push, a spit, a slap, etc.), openly or in the person’s absence.

Today, there are many different psychological techniques that can help respond to an insult adequately. However, at the heart of each of them, there is the initial understanding of the offender’s intentions and the goals of making those “poison injections”. Therefore, in order to correctly react to an insult and resist the arrogant interlocutor, one must first realize the opponent’s hidden motives and find an antidote.

How to react to insults and accusations

You have been insulted accidentally or deliberately. Does it hurt? Remember that any feeling or emotion, including insult (an insult in a combination with the feeling of severe humiliation), arises inside a person. Therefore, we cannot be offended without feeling offended.

First of all, you should not treat the insult literally and take every word close to your heart. If your offender is in a mood or he is poorly educated, you cannot be blamed for this.

In order to learn how to react properly to insults, it is important to know that the one who flies into a temper, behaves inadequately, and sounds reproachful is a victim himself. A victim of his erratic nature. As a rule, people who attack and humiliate others are weak. They cannot cope with negative emotions and therefore share them with others. They are also offended by someone and unable to cope with the bitterness that overwhelms them. So they just want to get rid of it (people often insult others because of envy). So is there any reason to feel offended?

How to react to an insult, if the abuser is your loved one?

If you value the relationship, you should talk and make yourself clear. Quietly and openly tell the person that his words hurt you deeply (the words of close people wound us deeper even when we seem to have learned to calmly react to the insults from strangers, unfamiliar people or just acquaintances). Discuss the situation, and it will become easier for you.

If you are insulted by a stranger

The most preferable reaction to a stranger’s insult is ignoring. Just pay no attention to the rude person (of course, if the situation does not require the opposite behavior), imagine that he is not there and that the stranger’s opinion and words are all empty. If you do not belong to the type of people who want to please everyone, you will easily cope with this task.

Insults at work

If you are insulted by a colleague at work or your boss, remember that the best way would be to carefully avoid the conflict. If silence does not work, the words of a colleague who cannot calm down can be reacted to in a neutral way. However, you should not get into a quarrel with the boss. Therefore, it is better to listen to the psychologists’ opinion when they advise not to conflict and not to respond to insults in this situation. Instead, you can picture your boss as a capricious little child who keeps whimpering and fighting. You can mentally pat him on the head and calm him. Think of feeding him with some porridge, imagine him sitting on a potty. Those who have tried this method say that the effect is stunning. It makes you smile and easily bear the insulting remarks. It also gives you inner power, and your boss will notice that.

Learn to react correctly

Training a calm reaction to insults will bring you exclusive dividends, namely a positive mood, an increase in efficiency, robustness, and tranquility. Having learned to respond to aggressive attacks with serene calmness (it can be expressed both in words or deeds and in silence), you can always disarm the offender and make him think twice before behaving this way.

How to respond correctly to an insult, taking into account the type of criticism

Before reacting to the insult, quickly analyze what has been said, and if it sounds like constructive criticism (the insult, in fact, has nothing to do with what we are), immediately acknowledge your being wrong and start with saying “Yes, you are absolutely right.” If you doubt the reasons for such insulting behavior and do not know how to respond to causticism and remarks in your address, ask a clarifying question. For example, if the whole situation does not involve your real omissions or mistakes and your opponent’s angry behavior is intended to merely belittle you and insult you, the phrase “Are you going to suggest something?” will take him off guard. An adequate person will justify his opinion and propose other options, even after making harsh statements.

If you agree with an unpleasant but fair criticism, do not apologize without a special need. Just admit that the people who are constantly apologizing do not look confident.

In case the insult or accusation is partially just, admit a part of it. For example, you are told that you are always late (it hardly looks like an insult, but if it is said in public, in a rude and aggressive form – someone can count it as an insult). A decent answer would be something like, “Yes, today I’m late.” Alternatively, here’s another example: “You are a poor specialist and constantly make mistakes in spelling.” A worthy response to the insult will be the phrase: “Yes, there are two spelling mistakes in this report.”

A completely unjust insult can be reacted to with a counter-question targeted at the rudeness itself. They can be of several types:

Clarifying questions, such as “Why do you think so?”, “What exactly do you mean?”, “Why are you personally interested in this?”, “What did you want to say?” etc., sometimes give the needed result. If a person starts to respond to them, he will imperceptibly pull himself into a dead end. However, one should not count on this (although you can try). After insulting questions, the person most often does not calm down (he also uses an unfair type of criticism without substantiating his rudeness) and says something like: “Don’t you guess?” or “I mean that you are a loafer and you lack talent.” It is necessary to be patient and continue to ask questions, if you want to react to the insult in a decent way.

Factual questions are a call to voice facts and give examples: “Names, facts?”, “Will you name some facts?”, “Give an example,” etc. If the offender reacts to these questions with common phrases: “There are many examples and facts…”, “You know everything, don’t you…” etc, continue to “torture” him or stop the dialogue with a phrase that the interlocutor has nothing to say.

Alternative questions will help the offender formulate specific claims and say what he really is dissatisfied with: “Maybe you are not comfortable because of my non-punctuality or how I dress and look? Maybe you do not like how I communicate with customers or how I make reports?” Perhaps, you will hear a specific answer, if the opponent really has something to tell you. If he does, follow the above-mentioned pattern.

Devastating questions like “Don’t you like the way I make reports, the way I look or communicate? What else does not suit you?” are asked to ensure that your critic or offender says everything and will not trouble you as long as possible.

Suggestive questions that you ask in a calm voice will make the critic feel amazed and even indignant. This is normal and means that he realizes your advantage in this situation. He knows that people are obedient and silent before him, and you are benevolently trying to figure out everything and take into account specific and objective observations as soon as they are announced.

How to respond to insults: general rules

The first thing a person who does not know how to respond to an insult should learn is that one should never take part in mutual insulting accusations and thoughtless reactions. First, from the outside, it looks very stupid and funny. Secondly, you may yield to some manipulative influence. So why should you start playing according to other people’s rules and run the risk of being trapped by them?

In most cases, it is better to respond to insults calmly and with dignity rather than politely. In some situations (for example, in the case of trolling), the best answer is an absolute disregard for the offender.

If you are a calm and educated person by nature, it is rather difficult to respond in a civilized manner to a bully’s insult. It makes no sense. You are an obvious loser because you start playing right into someone else’s hands and according to someone else’s rules. You must stick to your battlefield. If you can respond calmly and reasonably, do it. Another problem is that the opponent will not perceive your arguments. Therefore, it is best to turn around and leave. This is the simplest way to react to an insult.

When reacting to criticism, people often make a mistake – they begin to justify themselves: I’m not that kind, you are unfair to me, I’m not guilty… Justifications put you in the position of the humiliated one. Moreover, they are not interesting and are not needed. As a rule, they are not even listened to. It’s silly to justify yourself to a person who thinks that causticism or insult are a way to demonstrate emotions, practice self-affirmation or just show off… In this situation, you can ask – “Well, do you feel better now?” Therefore, when listening to insults, always try to understand why the person wants to offend you.

Everyone has difficult days. There can be a rude remark that is accidentally voiced by your interlocutor. In this case, it would be enough to ask the question “Having a bad day?” A normal person will agree and apologize for the harshness. However, addressing this question to a “troll” is not the best way to respond to an insult. It can cause a flow of unpleasant remarks aimed at humiliating you.

Sometimes it is not necessary to react to an insult. You just need to be non-aggressive or even friendly and ask a person about what he said. Pretend that you haven’t heard or just did not pay attention to the statement because you were thinking about something else. Only bullies will repeat the insult again.

If you still decide to respond to the abuser without any reference to the situation – maybe you just want to do so – do not attack the rival with direct objections. Be cool-hearted, suppress accusations and insults with accurate and witty answers, but only after you fully listen to all the attacks in your address. Firstly, you will have time to think and find a sharp word, and secondly, you can temper the ardor and keep the sobriety of thought. If this is a situation where your offender acts on emotions (i.e., this is not a planned and deliberate attack), you will give him the opportunity to discredit himself.

Some attacks can be reacted to with humor. When an insult is an innocuous mockery, or when it is necessary to respond and appease the offender without spoiling the relationship, a joke would be quite appropriate. This technique has one more advantage. It will save you from further insults and attacks, especially if this person enjoys seeing you experience anger or some other negative emotions. After all, if you react to his attacks with a smile, you do not care and do not intend to be angry, offended or swearing. Humor will kill a rude man, taking him off guard. If he is an energy vampire, he will try to find a new victim.

Do not joke if the insults are serious and offend your honor and dignity. Otherwise, both the offender and those around will decide that you can be treated like dirt.

Arrange fun duels

An ability to quickly formulate thoughts will help you get out of any verbal duel as a winner and defeat an arrogant interlocutor. In order to learn to respond to insults in a witty manner and in time, do not hesitate to arrange comic dueling with friends or co-workers. Remember that every duel gives you the necessary experience and skills.

Why do people talk to me like this?

There are people who are rude to others. There is such a thing as a victim mentality. Sacrificial people, who are easy to offend (they look, behave and show that they cannot respond to an insult or criticism), will always attract bullies. You have to ask yourself: “Why do people talk to me like this? Maybe, there is something wrong with me, if it is constantly repeated?”

Many people are unable to react to an insult because of their own insecurity, low self-esteem or natural shyness. Hearing unpleasant words addressed to them, they get overwhelmed with fear and cannot say a word. They need a wholistic approach – starting the fight against these qualities, you need to constantly practice the ability to correctly respond to insults. Remember that the reaction to rudeness and boorish behavior must come from the depth of your inner firmness.

In addition, the fear that is transmitted through some absolutely inconceivable channels can motivate the boor to continue being rude. In any conflict situation, including reacting to insults, we must, first of all, manage our fear. It is our nature to involuntarily begin to breathe deeper, strain our eyes, clench our fists or cross our legs and hands, not knowing how to protect ourselves from an insult. Try to handle your emotions in such situations and consciously control their external manifestations.

How to intelligently respond to an insult: examples, situations, phrases

When insulting, people often use patterned expressions. Therefore, in order to know how to correctly respond to an insult, you can make a list of rude things and come up with adequate answers.

Below you will find a few possible options for a worthy reaction.

You can send the reproach back and ask the aggressor how he managed to achieve such outstanding results, master the skills that you do not possess, acquire such remarkable traits (you can do it in a caustic or serious way).

It is not necessary to try to intelligently respond to an insult that is sounded to you in a bar, a restaurant or a shop (except that you want to develop your skill of quick attacks). The correct reaction is the requirement to call an administrator. A few complaints would be enough for the rude employee to be fired.

If you have to listen to the insults from an official person, you just need to politely ask for his full name and position. If you use this method to cool the ardor of a negligent employee, you will see that it works perfectly well. You will have a feeling that you have poured a bucket of cold water over his head.

You can react to an insult just like luminous Buddha did – with a radiant smile and a wish of benevolence to the offender. Of course, such a reaction is not always appropriate and not for everyone. Every case of insult is individual and people are different, so there cannot be universal answers. Choose the tactics of behavior that suits you best. Try and run experiments, but do it wisely.