When our friends or family say something questionable or offensive, it can be annoying. But when the one we trust says or does something offensive, it can cut deeper. And if you are with a new partner or on a first/ early date, it can be downright shocking and angering. How to respond?
1. Never Tolerate Behavior from Someone Who Discredit You
First and foremost, never tolerate behavior or comments from someone who disparages you, puts you down, belittles you, makes fun of you or openly insults you – especially when they try to pass it off as a joke, so it looks like it’s your fault that you’re upset. If the comment 'You’re too serious’ comes up - be wary.. More often than not, you are not too serious they are actually abusive and manipulative. Feeling dissatisfied when someone tries to disrespect you is entirely acceptable.
2. Take a Deep Breath Before Responding
Someone early in a relationship should be trying to impress you, not walking on the edge! First things first – take a breather before responding. Smile, excuse yourself to the bathroom, and just take a breath. Look into your own eyes in the mirror and feel how you feel. Or look at your phone for a moment to just think. Are you angry, hurt, amused? And why? Will you let it go and see if it occurs again, or address it now? And if so, how?
There is a saying that an emotionally healthy person will be affected by neither compliments nor insults. We can only be affected by those whose opinions we actually first respect..! So in this capacity, if someone were to start disrespecting you, a healthy response would be to stop engaging with them and trying to connect with them, and instead start observing them. Find them amusing or interesting, but disengage your emotions. Never take it personally, because clearly they would be treating anyone that way.
Why are they behaving like this? Are they feeling threatened or awkward? Perhaps they have been overly criticized or abused by significant people in their life? It's no excuse, but it can help you understand that it's nothing to do with you personally. Do they have some emotional or ego issues? Obviously they have had a questionable upbringing or background. What would be likely to cause someone to behave in such a way? Is it possible for you to feel compassion for them, or should you just get this date over and none with?
3. Always Set Boundaries and Speak Up if Things Really Annoy You
You don’t need to be rude or make a scene, just keep it very unemotional: “I feel like I need to address that comment you made earlier..”, Keep the conversation light – you are just analyzing this comment, and why it was said, and why you felt the way you did. Try not to let it get to you any further. Disengage.
Some people will blurt out things when they are nervous, so give them the benefit of the doubt. But if you see a pattern of malicious or nasty undertones in someone’s behavior and communication, move on. Protect yourself from negative and toxic people, and remain available for someone positive and mature minded. Sometimes the best thing to do is just get up and walk away.