16 No-BS Ways To Respond When Someone Belittles You

When someone throws shade your way, it’s not just about what they said; it’s about not letting that negativity rent space in your head. Here’s how to clap back with class and a bit of sass:

1. “Wow, did you mean for that to sound so rude?”

provided by iStock

Flip the script and put the onus back on them. It’s not confrontational, but it highlights their behavior and hopefully makes them reconsider their words. You’re not just taking it lying down — you’re calling them out so they know you’re aware of their behavior and you’re not feeling it.

2. “Thanks for your input, but I’m pretty happy with how things are.”

Close up of Upset Young Couple having Conversation

provided by iStock

This response is all about maintaining your ground. You acknowledge their comment without giving it any power. It’s your way of saying that their approval really isn’t needed here. They’re entitled to their own opinion, but they can’t expect it to influence what you do and how you live.

3. “Are you always this negative, or is today special?”

couple on a date but not going well

provided by iStock

A touch of humor can disarm the most potent negativity. This comeback questions their attitude without losing your cool. It’s a light-hearted jab that tells them to knock it off with the negativity, and it’s probably most effective when you’re talking to a friend or someone you’re close to and have a rapport with.

4. “I’m sorry you feel that way. Let’s move on.”

man looking at woman on the couch

provided by iStock

Sometimes, the high road is the best path. This halfheartedly acknowledges their feelings without engaging in a battle. It’s your exit strategy from unnecessary drama. At the end of the day, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or how they express them, but you can choose how you respond.

5. “That’s an interesting perspective. Here’s mine…”

Couple in love spending time in cage together ignoring real communication using gadgets , bored hipster girl chatting online while her boyfriend having mobile conversation addicted to devices

provided by iStock

Challenge their view with your own. You’re not trying to start an argument or dismiss them outright, but you are going to defend your own position and fight back on their attempt to belittle you. If said in the right tone, it can also show that you’re really not interested in what they have to say because their opinion isn’t warranted in this situation.

6. “I’m sure you didn’t mean to sound so judgmental.”

Conversation, argument and interracial couple in conflict in a park for communication about divorce. Angry, fight and black man and woman speaking about a relationship problem on a date in nature

provided by iStock

Give them the benefit of the doubt but highlight the issue. It’s a polite way of calling out their behavior without escalating the situation, and this is probably one of the best to use when you’re in a professional situation where you can’t (and don’t want to) get testy. Maybe they actually didn’t meant to belittle you? Either way, pointing this out should make them rethink their behavior in the future.

7. “Let’s stick to the facts.”

Young couple having conversation on couch

provided by iStock

If they’re spinning tales or exaggerating, bring the conversation back to reality. This response cuts through the BS and keeps the discussion grounded. Even if you made a mistake or are doing something they think is wrong, there’s no excuse for belittling you. They need to keep their personal opinions out of it.

8. “I appreciate constructive criticism, but that just felt mean.”

couple serious restaurant conversation

provided by iStock

Distinguish between helpful feedback and plain rudeness. It shows you’re open to growth but not to being put down. If they have something to say that’s actually useful and can legitimately help you, that’s great. However, if they’re using “constructive criticism” as a veil to insult you, that’s not cool.

9. “Is there a reason you’re targeting me like this?”

ugly guy

provided by iStock

Sometimes calling out the behavior directly can make the person reconsider their actions. It’s a straightforward approach that addresses the issue head-on. They probably won’t admit that they’re deliberately trying to belittle you, but you’re onto them and this makes it clear.

10. “Thanks, I’ll consider that next time.”

is he losing interest?

provided by iStock

Nonchalant and unbothered, this response shows you’re not ruffled by their words. It’s the verbal equivalent of water off a duck’s back. They can say whatever they want, but your sense of self-worth is pretty intact, so they’re not going to get to you.

11. “I prefer to uplift people, not tear them down.”

provided by iStock

Highlight your approach versus theirs without sinking to their level. It’s a classy way of saying you’re above petty remarks. It also shows that you’re not going to stoop to their level and engage in a tit for tat situation, so if that’s what they’re looking for, they’re wasting their breath.

12. “That’s one way to look at it. Here’s another…”

provided by iStock

Offer a different perspective without dismissing theirs outright. It shows you’re willing to engage but not willing to be walked over. You can point out here why what they’re saying is incorrect or inappropriate and steer the conversation in a different direction.

13. “Do you realize how that came across?”

provided by iStock

Prompting them to reflect on their words can sometimes lead to an apology or the person taking back what they said. It’s a gentle nudge towards self-awareness. Of course, people who belittle others aren’t big on self-reflection most of the time, so manage your expectations here.

14. “I’m not sure what you’re trying to achieve with that comment.”

provided by iStock

Question their motive without getting defensive. It puts the spotlight on their intentions, making them rethink their approach. If they were legitimately trying to help, they were going about it the wrong way and need to change their approach. If they were trying to belittle you, they’re just a bad person.

15. “I don’t appreciate that comment. Let’s keep things respectful.”

colleagues chatting in business meeting

provided by iStock

Set your boundaries clearly. It’s important to communicate when a line has been crossed, doing so firmly but respectfully. Let them know you won’t continue to engage with them if they can’t communicate with respect, end of story.

16. “Let’s focus on the issue, not personal attacks.”

older businessman talking down to female employee

provided by iStock

If they’re getting personal, steer the conversation back to the matter at hand. It’s about keeping things professional and productive, not petty.

Enjoyed this piece? Give us a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Josh grew up in Connecticut and thought he could never be happier away from big bodies of water until he moved to Minneapolis and fell in love with it. He writes full-time, with his lifestyle content being published in the likes of Men's Health, Business Insider, and many more. When he's not writing, he likes running (but not enough to train for a marathon even though his buddy won't stop asking him).