Review the definition of "effective response"
above. Then consider these choices...
until they become a habit,
as dignified persons,
feel because of the person's
that someone is ruled by a false self;
what you need with this person
e.g. to vent, to inform, to cause
action, to confront, to set or enforce a
limit, to problem-solve, or something
Ask if the
person is open to some personal feedback. If
s/he says "No," you have a
to manage (distrust and defensiveness).
your feelings and needs, choose one or more
of these response-types:
Teach the other person about
Discuss what interpersonal
Ask the person if s/he knows any insensitive,
people, and how they affect her/him.
To Vent, Learn,
(Name), when you
only focus on yourself, I feel _______."
"How do you
think I feel when you ________ (describe
a specific behavior)?"
"Seems like you
have a hard time empathizing with me /
"What are you feeling / aware of /
now?" This is one way of testing for
significant psychological wounds.
"Do you see
yourself as a sensitive person?"
"You seem to
have trouble judging how I feel."
"I feel ignored
and misunderstood by you now."
__________, I feel ________ (e.g. hurt and
"I feel you're
monologing / talking at / lecturing / me
"You have a
now, and I feel __________."
"Are you willing
to learn what I need from you?"
"I need you to
want to know how your behavior
To Cause Change
or Set a Limit
I'm going to
tell you each
time I feel ignored / you interrupt me / you
don't look at me / you criticize me / you do
other things when we talk / (etc)."
Psychologically-wounded people are apt to "resist"
responses like those above - i.e. they'll deny,
explain, justify, whine, attack, excuse, say
nothing, blame you, and so on. Expect
this with compassion, and respond calmly with
respectful empathic listening - like
you feel you are aware of my feelings."
calmly restate your original response
with steady eye contact. Repeat this
sequence as often as needed until (a) you get
your original need met, (b) your needs change,
or (c) you run out of time or patience.
Responses to Avoid
The response-examples above are based on
and an attitude of mutual respect. Unaware,
wounded people are apt to respond to
insensitivity like this:
unbelievably rude / tactless / ignorant /
disrespectful / _______."
"You have the
sensitivity of a turnip."
"Does it ever
occur to you that I have feelings and needs
"Where were you
when they passed out empathy?"
wonder you have no real friends."
about healthy relationships."
Impulsive responses like these will probably degrade your
mutual respect and your relationship. They are
the opposite of constructive feedback and
Bottom line -
many ways to proactively respond to an
insensitive / rude / disrespectful person,
depending on what outcome you wish. You
don't need to endure them or play victim!
This is one of a series of brief articles suggesting
effective ways to respond to common aggravating
social behaviors. This article offers ways to
respond effectively to an insensitive (unempathic,
rude, disrespectful) person. The ways are
your true Self
clarity on your
feelings, needs, and mutual
fluency in the
relationship skills of awareness, assertion,
and empathic listening.