Hello Polite Readers!
Chances are at some point in your life, someone has said something jaw-droppingly rude to you. It might have been street harassment, or someone suggesting that bellydancing is the same as stripping, or an unprovoked insult about your appearance. And chances are that you were either left speechless, or you responded with something equally rude. Well, don't feel bad. For the most part we don't go through life expecting that random people (or sometimes, our own friends and family!) will say awful things to us.
In a perfect world, we'd all be ready with a clever quip for every occasion, but when wit fails you there are other options. When someone is rude to you, it actually is a pretty good idea to just ignore them, because you're denying them the satisfaction of the response and possibly saving yourself from being drawn into an argument or even a physical fight!
If you feel like you have to respond, there are a couple of options which work well in most situations. Often you can give them an either shocked, perplexed, or hurt look and (matching the tone to your expression) say "Why would you say that?" it gives them pause, and prompts them to apologize if they didn't mean it that, or to explain exactly why they think your art is the ugliest thing they've ever seen. For those of you who are more directly confrontational, you can say "That was very rude/hurtful and if you're going to continue to talk like that I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
The most important thing is to resist the urge to respond in kind. It's tempting to try to hurt someone who has hurt you, but returning insult for insult just drags you down to their level. By all means, think of a snide comeback if it makes you feel better, but don't say it. Rise above it all by remaining cool and collected, and you will earn the respect of onlookers.
Do you need help dealing with the rude people of the world? E-mail me at Politelyworded@gmail.com and I may feature you in my next column!