How To Deal with Rude People

Check This article was edited and approved for accuracy By Adam Szmerling on September 5, 2014

We’ve all done it. You are minding your own business when a co-worker snaps at you for no reason or a customer raises their voice. At some point you will meet one, a rude person, and all too often we walk away from these encounters feeling frustrated, angry or upset. This is when a few well-placed techniques might help leave your encounters with rude people with your head held high and a spring still in your step.

Approach Them Calmly

It can be really difficult to remain calm when someone is really rude to you but this is often the best tactic. Rude people are often angry people and if you respond to that in a similar way the situation can escalate. Instead, take a deep breath and try using the best techniques for your situation from below. If you want extra assistance in calming yourself in these instances, consider hypnotherapy which works on a deeper level of the mind.

Confront the Person

If this is someone you will encounter again in the future you might want to consider what kind of relationship you have with them, and what kind of relationship you want with them. If you know them well and this rudeness is out of character, they might just be feeling very stressed or not realise that they have been offensive. This does not excuse the behaviour but in this situation it might be worth calmly telling them how you feel. They may just be lashing out and, if this is the case, they will probably stop their behaviour.  When they are rude try to politely but firmly tell them that what they are doing in not acceptable to you. Assertive comments like ‘I don’t appreciate your behaviour, please stop speaking to me that way’ are a good start.

Limit Contact

If you are dealing with a rude stranger you can just walk away and this is a good idea. Confrontation with a total stranger that you are never going to see again could end badly and you should stay safe. If it is someone you have to see on a regular basis, such as a work colleague or family member, try to limit your contact with them. If they are not near you they can’t be rude to you.

It’s Not Personal

Remember that when people are rude to you their behaviour probably has nothing to do with you! This is easier said than done because when someone is rude to you it can feel very personal and often like you are under attack, in fact this is why the bad feelings you get after encountering a rude person can stay with you after the event. But truthfully, when someone is rude, it can frequently be because they are having some problems of their own. Try not to take it personally and don’t dwell on what was said as this is not constructive.


Some people just don’t know that they are being rude. Some people just aren’t good with others and may operate with different ideas of what is acceptable behaviour, again try not to take this personally and understand that it could just be a quirk of that individual. However, if it is really a problem you can try staying away or pointing out politely to the person that they are offending you. Hypnotherapy can be an effective medium with which to change unwanted habits.

Change How You Respond

Lastly, don’t take the behaviour to heart and try not to dwell on what happened. The best thing you can do is to let the incident go, try not to be pulled into thoughts about how things could have played out differently and brush their comments off. Your time is more important that their rudeness.

Politeness Bayside Psychotherapy

This post is part of our Anxiety Awareness Campaign at Bayside Psychotherapy;aiming to provide advice on coping with some of the symptoms of anxiety. We want to help spread an understanding of anxiety and those who experience it in their everyday lives. Whilst each case of anxiety is unique, through sharing knowledge sharing and talking about it the issue we hope to develop a community of people who can help each other.

Adam Szmerling

Bayside Psychotherapy was founded by Adam Szmerling in Melbourne, offering counselling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples. Adam's experience with psychotherapy inspired him to help others improve their self-understanding, mental health and wellbeing.

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