How to Deal With Mean People


This might sound too general or broad, but I think it’s the most important thing to remember: people who are mean to you aren’t doing it because you’re not good enough. They mean words like, “you suck” and “go away” because they need to put someone down in order to feel better about themselves. It’s hard not to take what they say personally, but I promise that if you tell yourself that their negative words aren’t motivated by who you are as a person, but rather their own insecurities and fears, then their words will start to lose power over you.


  • The importance of self-esteem:

There are many different ways to approach this, but the most important thing is that you develop a strong sense of self-worth. This means looking at your life and asking yourself what it is that you want to do with it, rather than allowing other people’s opinions or observations to dictate your actions. You have to be confident in who you are and what makes you happy before anything else can happen in your life. Take some time out from dealing with mean people to remind yourself of these things if they need reminding!

  • How to build your self-esteem:

The best way for me was through meditation (seriously). Meditation is where I learned how not just ignore but actually combat negative thoughts about myself… because there will always be those thoughts no matter how much confidence we build up over time. This involves learning how not only accept criticism but also reject criticism without feeling hurt by it (it’s still hard!). It’s important that as well as being able keep ourselves protected from external forces like this though – so try thinking positively about yourself whenever possible!

Pay Attention to Your Body Language

The first thing you should pay attention to is your body language. You don’t want to give them power over you. If a mean person is criticizing the way you look, for example, make sure that you don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing how much it affects you by looking at yourself in the mirror and starting to fix something about yourself right away.

Instead of getting angry or showing any kind of emotion toward their attack on your appearance, keep calm and collected while they are talking. It may seem like an easy task but it’s actually pretty hard sometimes because being criticized often makes us feel defensive and angry at the same time (even if we don’t show our emotions on our face).


When dealing with mean people, you must be quick to disengage. Don’t engage them in any way; don’t respond to their words or actions. Don’t let them get into your head, heart or thoughts. If someone is being mean to you, don’t let it bother you—disengage quickly and move on with your life!

Focus on what you can control

When you’re dealing with mean people, it’s easy to get caught up in what they think of you and your life. But if you focus on the present moment, your own feelings, thoughts and actions—instead of theirs—you’ll find that it’s much easier to put things into perspective.

If someone tells you something about yourself that’s not true or isn’t helpful for your growth (e.g., “You’re dumb” or “Your ideas are stupid”), don’t let their words affect how you feel about yourself or what goals are important to achieve. Instead, focus on being positive and achieving success through your own effort. The more positive energy we put out into the world, the more likely we are to attract positive people into our lives as well!


  • If a person is rude to you, make sure they know that their behavior was unacceptable. Don’t be afraid to make a scene and call them out on their behavior if needed.
  • Remind yourself that your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters. You are the most important person in your life, so don’t let another person’s opinion affect how you see yourself or how much confidence you have in yourself.
  • Realize that even though someone may be mean to you, this isn’t an excuse for them to treat others badly as well—you don’t need to take part in negativity by retaliating against other people who could potentially be affected by what happened between two people who were already arguing anyway! For example: A bully might call someone names but we should not do likewise because then everyone deserves respect regardless what happens between each other.”

Set your boundaries

Setting boundaries is a great way to show people that you’re not a doormat, while also helping you control your own happiness.

It’s important to remember that setting boundaries isn’t about making other people’s lives harder—it’s about protecting yourself from harm. If someone constantly makes fun of you and tells you what to do, for example, it does nothing productive except hurt your feelings and make life more difficult than it needs to be. That doesn’t mean that it won’t take some time before this is easy for you. It can be hard at first because we naturally want other people’s approval and validation, but if we don’t get those things from them then there’s no point in trying anymore!

Practice Listening

  • Listen to others. Listening is the most important and difficult skill for dealing with mean people, says Pincus. The first thing you need to do is literally listen: Don’t interrupt, don’t judge what you hear (as in “Why would anyone say that?” or “This person has no idea what they’re talking about!”), and don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking or feeling (“I bet they hate me.”). Instead, try simply accepting the information being given to you by the other person—no matter how brash or rude it may seem.
  • Be truthful but polite. It’s okay to speak up if someone crosses a line with their tone or language, but be sure not to argue back in kind (or lower yourself by sinking into their level). Remember that when faced with meanness we tend to get defensive ourselves; instead of lashing out at them, take a deep breath and remind yourself why this conversation matters so much: It’s about helping others feel heard without judgement—and isn’t that worth it?


When dealing with mean people, it’s important to remember that you are the opposite of them. You might be calm and patient while they are frantic and impatient. You might be positive while they take everything personally. You might be understanding while they see only the worst in everyone around them.

It’s helpful to remind yourself of how you’re different from someone else when you’re trying to deal with them—and then follow your own advice!

Handle them with kindness

  • Be kind to yourself. Mean people have a way of making you feel like you’re not good enough, but the truth is that they are the ones who lack self-esteem. So don’t let them change who you are or make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Be kind to others and keep your chin up! Don’t let mean people get to you, even if it’s tempting at first (and it will be). If someone does treat you poorly, don’t take it personally—it’s just their insecurity speaking or trying to push your buttons so they can feel better about themselves for a few minutes at least.

Avoid Retaliation

It can be tempting to take a stand against mean people, but this is not the best approach. Mean people thrive on conflict and they do not respect those who give in to them. They win by making others feel bad; if you engage in a battle with them, you are playing into their game and giving them exactly what they want.

Instead of retaliating or trying to out-mean your opponent, keep the peace by avoiding confrontation while still letting yourself feel upset about it. If you’re feeling particularly strong emotions after dealing with a mean person, take some time alone or talk things through with someone supportive (but don’t vent about how awful this person is—they won’t see that as productive at all).


Protect your privacy. Don’t share your personal information, feelings or beliefs with anyone unless you’re 100% sure they won’t be mean to you. Don’t even talk about what happened at work—especially if it’s something negative! Be careful not to reveal too much personally, either in person or online.

Don’t get sucked into an argument with a mean person; just walk away from them as soon as possible and do not engage in any way. If things get out of hand and emotions start getting heated, remember that arguing doesn’t solve anything; it only makes things worse and gives the other person more ammunition for hurting you later on down the road when (not if) he/she has another chance to find fault with whatever action or decision it was that originally upset him/her so much (but really wasn’t worth getting upset over).

Speak Clearly and Carefully

The first step in dealing with a mean person is to speak clearly and carefully. Make sure that you are using proper grammar, avoiding slang or jargon, avoiding curse words, and so on. If the other person is being aggressive towards you, then speak slowly. Try not to use the word ‘like’ (it makes everything sound like an indirect question). Instead of saying “I feel like…” say “I feel that…” or if possible just say “I think….” Avoid using the word ‘you’ in general as it can come across as confrontational; instead refer to yourself by name (and don’t worry about sounding self-important).


It’s important to realize that when someone is behaving badly, it’s not because of you. It’s because of them. It might sound condescending, but it helps to remember this when dealing with difficult people: they aren’t mean just because they want to be; they’re mean because something about themselves makes them that way. So don’t take their behavior personally.


No matter what the person is saying, resist the urge to be defensive. The more you defend yourself, the more ammunition you give them to continue the attack. Instead, focus on putting a positive spin on their words and actions. If someone says “your shirt looks awful,” don’t respond with “It’s fancy designer couture!” Instead, try something like: “Thanks! I just bought this shirt at Forever 21 yesterday.” Even if they keep attacking your fashion sense (and they probably will), it doesn’t matter—you’ve successfully defused their criticism by taking away its power over you.


The first step to dealing with mean people is not letting them take your power. Don’t let them make you feel small or powerless, and don’t allow their words or actions to take away your confidence in yourself. You are a person of value and worth, so stay true to that belief instead of allowing it to be affected by the words or actions of others!

Another important thing to remember is that you should never let anyone take your joy away from living life in a positive way. Be sure to surround yourself with kind people who make you happy when they’re around because being around positive people will help keep things in perspective for you if someone does try something mean-spirited against you!

Keep this advice in mind as well: Never let someone else’s negativity steal away all of your happiness either; remember that even though some people may be rude or unkind at times (especially online), it doesn’t always have anything whatsoever related directly back onto OURSELVES alone!


There are many ways to deal with mean people. The first thing you need is to recognize that the problem isn’t with you. It’s with them. Once you can do that, then everything else will fall into place, whether it’s how you protect your self-esteem or avoid being defensive



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