8 Ways of Dealing With People Who Try to Put You Down
Some people, consciously or subconsciously, often have attitudes that can be hurtful to others. These can range from derogatory gestures and constant criticism to ironic comments, name-calling, and disapproval. These are all forms of behavior that don’t really have a positive impact on our well-being. However, while we can’t prevent others from acting this way, the way we react when these things happen can make a difference.
Bright Side would like to share some tips with you on how to get around this type of attitude without creating conflict.
1. Avoid turning to anger.
For some people, their first reaction after facing a belittling attitude may be to get angry, but that also says a lot about us. It could actually be the most common reaction because we perceive this as a threatening attitude. But as you might suspect, it’s also exactly what we shouldn’t do. For one, anger leaves us in a vulnerable state. That’s because we’re showing that the other person has succeeded at belittling us. And secondly, anger also leads to more conflict. When acting out of anger, we’re not really thinking clearly, and we could end up becoming the very thing that made us feel bad in the first place.
2. Keep your distance from the situation.
Sometimes, people aren’t really aware of their own behavior, so they might make negative comments that can change other people’s positive attitudes without even realizing they’re doing so. In fact, they might just be projecting their own fears and prejudices onto us. While it’s not recommended to simply allow that to happen, doing something about it might be easier said than done. That’s because maybe the way to go in such a situation is to simply accept that what that person says speaks about the situation he or she is facing, but not necessarily about yours. By doing so, you will be able to have greater empathy for the other person and won’t let their comments hurt you.
3. Take your time to respond.
When it comes to reacting, time is precious. When you feel that a comment or action made by another person has offended you, the best thing to do is take a deep breath and let some time pass before reacting. Doing that will give you more perspective on what just happened and could help you make better decisions. Instead of coming back viscerally, you might just take the high road and give a peaceful response to such a negative comment.
4. Accept or reject an insult, but always in a friendly way.
Some people tend to be very critical, use hurtful nicknames, or point out other people’s physical or personal traits in an attempt to provoke some kind of reaction or level of discomfort. However, it’s up to us to decide how we take those comments and react to them. To avoid any conflict and neutralize these types of aggression, you can use the following 2 options.
- Accept the comment: Let the person in question know, in a calm manner, that what he or she is saying is true and that you’re fine with that.
- Deny the comment: Still, with a positive, kind but assertive approach, let the other person know that what they’re saying is wrong, but it doesn’t bother you.
5. Ask for an explanation.
At times, insults are not so clear and recognizable, and they can even be disguised as compliments, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put a halt to these, even in such a situation. All you have to do is ask for an explanation as to why the person said what they said or what they meant by it. In the best case scenario, it wasn’t meant as an insult, and all of this was just a misunderstanding, But if it was an insult, you can at least open up and have a conversation in a friendly way instead of just generating resentment.
6. Ignore the person that’s bullying you.
Here’s another useful tip to keep in mind when someone has overstepped their boundaries and you feel disrespected: simply ignore them. That way, the other person will probably understand that you are not going to spend time on their offensive or negative comments. It’s also a way to let them know that they had no effect on you. You can even keep the conversation going by omitting the details you found inappropriate. In a way, by doing this, you’re actually setting boundaries without saying a single word.
7. Use your sense of humor.
Fighting anger with joy and humor can be a good alternative at the right time and place, so to speak. Turn microaggressions into comical situations by responding with a joke to the other person. This is a good way to make it clear that you’re not going to play their little game, and this, in turn, could help ease the tension. However, keep in mind that this could backfire if the other person takes it the wrong way.
8. Keep a safe distance from toxic people.
Sometimes, you’ll simply run into people who are just seeking conflict. Don’t judge them too harshly — after all, at times, it’s us who might not be able to control our emotions and end up making something big out of nothing. In either case, the best thing to do is to distance ourselves from these people in a healthy way. We can avoid having contact with them for a short period of time, or if we have to meet them, then do so only under certain circumstances so as not to cause a major confrontation. These precautions could help us to maintain our mental health and well-being.
What is your strategy when you encounter a person who engages in this behavior? How do you manage to keep the peace?