Standing Up For Yourself With Rude People

Confidence Coaching Success with Karen G.
May 10, 2011
Shopping and Self-Esteem
May 20, 2011

Yesterday I was in New Westminster for a meeting and decided to get some paperwork printed off at a small print shop out there. I had an experience that I just HAD to share because it is one of most common reasons that my clients come to me....they are unable to stand up for themselves. Whether it be when someone is rude to them, or they need to ask for something they want, speaking to authority figures or sharing their thoughts and opinions.
At this print shop I encountered a very rude (and clearly very unhappy) older man who, for no reason at all, spoke to me in a very condescending manner and went out of his way to try to make me feel stupid. And I was a paying customer! Unfortunately this is one of countless times this has happened to me in my life.

After he made a few unnecessary comments that were related to my paperwork not printing properly on his machine, I had had enough. I had to speak up and say something to him, which I always do in situations like these. Not only for myself, but for all the women out there that have not found their voice and do not stand up for themselves.
I looked him right in his eyes and said: "Are you having a bad day?"
He was taken aback for a second, and then brashly replied "No." .
"Really?" I said, "So are you always to this rude to all of your customers?"
He was stunned. It was apparent that he was not used to having someone stand up to him. The look on his face was priceless! And more importantly, he had nothing else to say. Not a peep. Success... the rude man was speechless. An apology would’ve been nice, but I knew that was not going to happen. Sometimes it does, but usually a couple of comments to make a rude person aware of how rude they are being AND confidently displaying self-respect will change the dynamic of the conversation.

I often hear women saying that they "wish I would’ve had the confidence to say something, instead of keeping quiet and bottling everything up." When people do that, it is really unhealthy. Bottling up emotions and denying or avoiding emotional pain, is a sure fire way to become physically ill. What we think about and feel has a direct impact on what goes on in our body. The mind and the body are not separate!

Next time someone is rude to you I encourage you to stand up for yourself, you will feel much better when you do. You do not need to be aggressive, but you need to be assertive.

We all deserve to be treated with respect, right?


  1. Harold says:

    Just read this after an encounter with a rude member of staff at a train station. I feel stupid that I didn’t say anything after he patronized the hell out of me, but I surely will next time. Thanks very much, great post

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for your post Harold! Don’t feel bad, you will be more prepared to handle the next situation when someone is rude to you 🙂

  3. Shell says:

    I have MANY MANY encounters with rude people mainly disrespectful because a lot of people see me as little and so easy to pick on, i have a very bad attitude and when i tend to speak up i’m ALWAYS wrong so i really don’t say much hardly ever and i can tell more and more i get pushed down but i really love how you said “you don’t have to be aggressive but assertive” know when to say something and how far to take it without taking it to far is an important aspect i will use.. probably tomorrow (that’s how many disrespectful people i encounter weekly)

  4. Suzanne says:

    Hey Shell –thanks for your post.
    I encourage you to be very aware that we are always teaching people how to treat us. Try approaching people with a different outlook (you are not ALWAYS wrong) and maybe a shift in, as you say, “a very bad attitude” will certainly create a difference in how people perceive you.

    If you need more help, I do have an assertiveness coaching program that would TOTALLY impact your life in a positive way and you will experience far less encounters with disrespectful people 🙂

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