Some common examples of indirect verbal insults include mean jokes, ironic comments, mimicry, or backhanded compliments. Learning how to cope with insults, provocations, or humiliation attempts can be helpful to you in these common and really unfortunate social situations.
First, it’s really important to stay calm, even if your first instinct is to get angry and punch back. People who insult others are always looking for some kind of reaction, so take several deep breaths before responding to them.
“I think I might have Alzheimer’s because I can’t remember when was the last time I asked for your opinion.” “Wipe your mouth, there’s a little of bullshit around your lips.
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You think “I have finally stood up to the office bully”, and when you do, they have a harsh come-back. Also note, if they operated from a secure base of high self-worth, they would probably reach out to your statements with concern and compassion.
And you can use this short simple approach with all workplace bullies. Here are three “Less Is More” short simple come-backs to help you deal with situations with office bullies.
Office bullies who talk on and on, pressuring you to agree with them. You feel you have to say something, but you don’t want to give your power away by implying that you agree.
Office bullies who are rude with sarcasm, put downs or back-handed statements that are not necessarily direct, but harmfully subtle. The concept of using “That seems” highlights your perception only, and it is enough of a diffusing comment to confuse the power plan of most office bullies.
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No materials on this site may be reproduced, altered, or further distributed without Bully Free at Work’s prior permission. One must take extreme caring in knowing your audience and how aggressive you should be in delivery.
A good insult can stop people heckling you in their tracks. When your audience knows you’re delivering the insult only with fun intentions, they’re much more likely to laugh along with you.
“Friends” can be replaced with mother, brother, or daughter to deliver the same type of message. Why focus your insult on just one item if it’s easy enough to put someone down on two elements.
Here, the insult takes a shot at big egos and small IQ’s. Nevertheless, this is still effective because people readily understand the concept of winning a ribbon or trophy at the end of races.
The visual image of walking backwards away from the recipient of the insult is spot on. And, because we’ve all had that experience of drawing with our opposite hand, it’s very easy to relate to.
Who isn’t just a little frustrated when they realize it’s time to update a piece of software that you’re accustomed to using? Apparently this put down was created by a developer, but it works for all of us that interact with computers or smartphones.
When some folks are so locked into an opinion you can’t even reason with them, it’s time to pull out this oldie. The “$20 Uber” makes this a modern and savage insult to those men with receding hairlines.
A good put -down is a thing of rare beauty, something to be relished like a fine wine. You can't even pretend to be offended when somebody insults you with the right combination of artistry and wit.
AlamyBritish Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to Lady Astor, the first female Member of Parliament, when she called him “disgustingly drunk.” Shutterstock Wikimedia CommonsComposer Ludwig van Beethoven, slapping another composer to the curb.
Sir John Gielgud on Casablanca star Ingrid Bergman. Shutterstock Wikimedia CommonsActress Mae West on a man she didn't like in Belle of the Nineties (1934).
ShutterstockComedienne and television producer Roseanne Barr, on her ex-husband Tom Arnold. ShutterstockWriter and filmmaker Billy Wilder, while listening to an actor sing in the movie Kiss Me, Stupid.
How thick is your skin when it comes to dealing with verbal abuse from others, be honest now? A client recently asked for advice on helping his son develop a thicker skin in response to verbal bullying from classmates.
We are socialized to toughen up in response to the perceived threats of the world. I took a criminal justice class with a marvelous teacher who had an amazing story of his own.
He held several positions in the criminal justice system including police officer and prison guard. In order to enter the building they needed to walk past a large fenced in yard where the inmates spent their outdoor activity time.
My instructor recalled asking the students to pause for a moment before passing through the prison entrance. He gestured toward the inmates who had concluded their Neanderthal tirade and said, “Make note, each of you.
These men had but one opportunity to make an impression upon you and this is what they chose.” Let that sink in for a minute. Let’s relate this back to my client’s request to help his son develop a thicker skin.
Growing up we learn the standard come backs to deflect verbal attacks, “I know you are but what am I” and “I am rubber you are glue what bounces off me sticks to you.” We learn to say these things, but they truly serve more to save face at the moment. I’ll offer a classroom scenario but this can apply to the work environment as well.
Observing the world around you, you see examples of kindness, generosity and people helping one another. You take a moment to smile and express gratitude for the people choosing to put such beautiful energy into the world.
In your mind you remind yourself, “I’ve seen a lot of beauty today, and I am thankful. A thicker skin suggests their attacks are about you which is why you personalize them in the first place.
Instead, you make a mental and emotional shift where the idea of it being about you never enters your mind. The strategy I just shared with you asks that you acknowledge the choice the other person made.