How to Ignore Insults

Feel insulted? How do you deal when someone says something that hurts, makes you angry, or is intended to make you look foolish? Rather than shrink into the ground or say something that simply provokes things, try these steps.


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    Don't react. Act as if you never heard the insult in the first place. If the bully continuously provokes you saying things like "Hey can't you hear me?", just shake your head and keep walking. Without a reaction, they may not see a reason to continue insulting you.
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    Ask this person why he or she is attacking you alone. Wait for a time when none of their friends are around and ask them why they are being rude. If you ask while their friends are around, they may feel like they need to defend their honor, if you get them one on one, they might be more likely to share the truth.
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    Accept responsibility for your actions. If this person does manage to answer, and has valid reasons to be upset, address the problem right away. While this may be a little difficult, you have to be really honest with yourself. You will gain respect for your directness. For example:
    • You: "What did I do to deserve that?"
    • Him/her: "You snubbed me yesterday, walking by all high and mighty with your friends, pretending like I wasn't there."
    • You: "I did that?" (Look surprised). "Dude, I don't remember it. Are you sure I saw you?"
    • Him/her: "You looked right at me, jerk."
    • You: "Really? You know what, we were talking about (insert subject here) and I was really focused on that. I don't even think I realized you were there. Listen, I'm so sorry for that, I didn't mean to snub you. Let me go get those guys/girls, I know they're going to feel bad, too." Bring your friends over, explain how your actions hurt this person, and apologize. Try to get all of them to apologize too, if you can.
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    Be aware that anger, hurt and insecurity are the root of most insults. If you hurt someone, even unintentionally, they may respond with angry insults, especially if they are not very good at communicating their real wants and needs. Moreover, insecure people like to call attention to the shortcomings of others (even if untrue) in order to cover up for their own perceived inadequacies (it's just easier that way). Don't retaliate––by not taking it personally, you can just let it all slide off like water from the duck's back.
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    Respond with humor. If you aren't at fault, and it's a random insult attack, responding with humor can sometimes disarm the insulter. For example, if someone calls you a porker or something like that, you might say, "Really? I like to think of myself as a sublimely well-proportioned fatso." Or, "Why thank you, I love pigs!" cheerfully. That will often get the person insulting you to stop, out of sheer surprise at your audacity.
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    Walk away (and stay away). If you've tried to figure out why this person is targeting you, and can find no reason, and you've tried to joke with him or her to no avail, and he or she is still bent on humiliating and insulting you, just leave. And until he or she picks a new target (and this will happen), avoid the person.
    • Dignified ways to walk away include saying nothing or saying something like "Hey, deal breaker! (Smile) I've got to be off now!"; "Okay, my line in the sand has been crossed. See you later."; or simply, "You'll have to excuse me."
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    Let the bully end up looking bad for the insult. Many times, you really don't have to do much to make this happen. Just taking the insult, smiling and shrugging, or responding very mildly can do the trick, and it can turn the tide of public opinion in your favor. For example:
    • Bully: "Hey loser! Where did you get those clothes? The Wannabee shop?"
    • You: (In a quiet, humble voice) "Actually, I got these from my big sister/brother. Since my dad lost his job, our family hasn't had much money for clothes, so we have to make do with what we can get. I know they're sort of the height of fashion from several years ago, aren't they? Not really very hip. But whatever. We can't afford anything else."
    • Bully: (Sneering.) "Aw. Poor waddle baby can't get any better clothes. Wah. You're breaking my heart. Not."
    • You: (Staying humble.) "I wasn't looking for sympathy. You asked a question and I answered." (Hopefully others are overhearing this.)
    • Bully: "If I were you, I'd tell my folks to either get me some decent clothes or send me to another school."
    • You: (Sigh) "I really feel bad for my dad and don't want to make him feel worse. So I'm not going to ask for anything for myself right now. In fact, I'm looking for a job right now, to try to help with expenses for my family."
    • Others: "Yeah. Leave him/her alone, man. they're not doing anything to you."
    • Bully: "Oh, fine. You can all have a little pity party with that poor crybaby. I'm out of here. Later losers!"
      • And that will probably end that round of insulting, at least in that way. When others join in and defend you, the bully will seek an easier target, one where he feels more sure of finding allies. Bullies don't generally like to stand on their own two feet––they like feeling like a lot of people are behind them. They bully people because when others chime in, it makes them feel better about themselves somehow. When others don't want to join them, they back off, even if it means losing face.
      • Bullies are often insecure people and if they are tormenting you, do not respond with humor near his or her friends instead of retaliating with an insult.


  • Don't retaliate or scream or shout or insult them back because they want to see you upset.
  • Show them you're unaffected by their tactics. Act like they are invisible all the time and can't recognize them. Eventually, they'll stop bugging you and see themselves for the losers they are.
  • Accept them but never trust them. It might be their way to try to pull you down.
  • Smirking, acting superior or completely ignoring them is probably not a good idea. Again, react with humor, it usually works best. If the insulter is just being nasty, you can ignore them.


  • If you do respond, even to apologize, and the harassment continues, beware of bullies. Some people are not content to simply verbally harass you. If it escalates to a point where you fear they're going to get physical, tell someone. Tell a teacher, a friend, or your parents. They can help.

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