Don’t let nasty comments get you down

Why do some people get a thrill from putting you down?

The answer is that they have low self-esteem. So don’t let their negativity get you down. These people only hold power over you because you’re uncomfortable about confronting them. Perhaps you’re not 100 per cent sure the remark was a dig. Or maybe you’re torn between wanting to burst into tears or telling them exactly what you think of them.

People who make biting remarks crave an audience. They rely on you listening passively. Don’t do it. Instead, respond assertively. When you challenge them, difficult people lose their hold over you immediately. Here’s how to do this calmly and resourcefully.

Let their spite disappear in a fog of calm

The Fogging Technique is an effective way of deflecting negative comments. It works by disrupting the game the difficult person is playing. Instead of getting a defensive reaction, they’re faced with a simple reflective statement. To use fogging, throw the difficult person’s criticism back to them, prefaced by the words “I can see you think/believe…”

Fogging in action

Them: Got dressed in the dark today, did you?

You:   I can see you don’t like what I’m wearing today

Dismiss their words

When someone makes a nasty remark, repeat what they said followed by a dismissive statement. Keep your tone calm and light-hearted. This tactic often works well when you overhear nasty comments. It shows you have heard and registered remarks, but you’re not putting much stock by them.

Dismissal in action

Them: Someone loves the sound of her own voice.

You: You’re saying Helen loves the sound of her own voice? That’s a rather unnecessary remark.

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