What to Say When Someone Is Rude to You at Work…

When someone is rude to you at work, whether it’s a customer, colleague, or even your boss, it can be hard to know if—and how—to respond. In some cases, it might feel too risky to speak up. Other times, it might feel too risky not to. Whether or not to respond is your decision. If you’ve decided that you should, here are three diplomatic ways to do it.

Use “I” statements. For example, I felt dismissed by your comment; while that may not have been your intention, that’s how it landed with me. I’m hurt by what you just said. I imagine it wasn’t your intent, but that made me uncomfortable. I understand why you’re frustrated.

Use “It/That” statements. For example:
It’s disrespectful to tell people their ideas don’t have merit. That comment isn’t helpful to either of us.It would be easier for me to help you if we took the heat down in this conversation.

Ask strategic questions. For example:
Did I hear you correctly? I think you said…Can we take a step back for a moment?I know we both care about getting this done. Can we do that together? I have some ideas

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