I Was Accidentally Rude to Someone. What Now?

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I always want to be as kind as I possibly can, without being a pushover... or a doormat.

But sometimes I slip up. I accidentally said something rude to someone, and regretted it afterwards. Has this happened to you too?

Here are a few ways to deal with it.

I Was Accidentally Rude to Someone. What Now?

1. Thank the person you were being rude to (in your mind).

Picture the person you were rude to, and sincerely wish them well, with or without words.

Your instinct might be to apologize, but don't do that yet. It'll only intensify your feeling of guilt.

Instead, wish them well, and:

In your mind, thank them for showing you how mindless you were with your words,

and that because of them,

you will be more mindful going forward.

Repeat this a few times, and observe your feelings of guilt.

Is it still there?


If you still have some residual feelings of guilt at this point, try rationalizing a few things:

2. Was what you said really that rude?

It's no secret that we tend to be the harshest judge of ourselves. 

We overanalyze what we said, what we do, when the person you said things to is probably now having a sandwich and laughing on a funny video, going on about their day, whatever their jam is. 

Which brings us to...

3. When was the last time you remember someone being rude to you?

Granted, there may be a few interactions that you can recall, but so what? 

You've moved on.

And you're probably not holding anything against anyone who was being rude to you.

4. Two conditions where you should apologize:

  • You know you were being rude, and
  • You know the other person feels bad because of what you said

If both of these conditions are met, then you should apologize, if you can.

5. Saying "no" is not rude.

If you felt rude for saying "no" to someone, it's probably mostly in your mind.

People are used to getting "no" as an answer more than you think.

You might have felt bad for saying "no" in a curt way, and not something along the lines of:

  • "Thanks for your offer, but I don't think it's a fit for me."
  • "Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm not really looking to do that for now."¬†
  • "Thanks for your message, but I'm looking for something else."

But try reading the following curt "no"s.

  • "Hey. No, I don't want to do that now."
  • "Hey! No, I don't want that."
  • "No, I'm not interested."
  • "No, thank you."
  • "No."

Are these really that bad? Did you feel disrespected at all?

I would bet, most likely not.

Sure, there's context, tonality, and many other speech elements that go into how you respond to someone. And if you really feel bad for how you said no, then... 

5. Be mindful and do better next time.

Sometimes there's just no other way to resolve feeling bad for having said something you can't take back. 

Head back up to Step 1 in this article and try it again!


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