How to Handle Rude Friends

5 Ways to Deal With a Friend Who Behaves Badly

A rude friend
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How rude! Isn’t that what you think with some friends? Sometimes rudeness is a sign that your friend doesn’t care about your feelings, but other times they’re just clueless. Go easy on rude friends until you determine their motives.

Here are five ways to deal with rude friends in a variety of situations.

Your Friend Offends You With the Things They Say and Do

You probably have more patience when acquaintances behave rudely than when your friends do.

That’s because we expect more from our friends. We think they should know us better and therefore when they offend us we’re shocked and disappointed.

First, make sure you aren’t the one offending others. Sometimes a friend will act rudely in response to something you did. For example, if you’re always late, your friend might begin showing up late because they feel that you’re not concerned about time as much as they are. Or, your friend might be trying to give you a taste of your own medicine by treating you like you treat them.

How you should react depends on what they did and if they’re trying to intentionally start an argument. If they’re just posting things on Facebook that irritate you, that’s different than if you feel they are intentionally trying to hit a hot button issue in your life.

When a friend intentionally tries to offend you, don’t pretend it’s nothing. Instead, you could say: “You know that is offensive to me. Why are you trying to start an argument?”

Or: “I wish I could just shake it off but your comment is really offensive to me. Can we talk about something else?”

Gracefully changing the subject to something you two can discuss civilly is a good way to let your friend know you didn’t care for what they did or said without causing a lot of drama.

Your Friend Is Rude In Every Conversation

Some folks lack conversation skills and manage to behave rudely with every word that comes out of their mouth. Maybe they love to talk but when you try to say a few words they talk over you. Or perhaps they blurt out rude questions, throwing you off-guard.

Social grace is a learned skill, so help your friend by showing them the verbal boundaries you find acceptable. When they cross the line, tell them:

Your question is so rude I’m actually at a loss for what to say.” Then change the subject to something else.

Or: “I wonder if you’d like it if someone said that same thing to you or your kids. Probably not. I expect more from someone like you that I consider a friend.”

Your Friend Embarrasses You With Their Rude Behavior

Maybe your friend’s biggest downfall is that they lack social etiquette. Behaving properly isn’t about stuffiness and formality, it’s about treating people well. The Golden Rule is always a good thing to refer to when it comes to improving your own behavior.

But when your friend acts rude (like at a wedding, your dinner party, when you introduce them to your coworkers), it’s time to act.

First, realize that you can’t change people. If your friend has a history of behaving rudely, it’s best not to invite them.

If you must submit an invitation, be aware of moments when they could act rudely (grabbing a microphone at a wedding, offering up cringe-worthy stories rather than small talk at a dinner party), and do your best to stop the behavior as soon as you see it. Ask your friend if you can speak with them privately in another room and then tell them their behavior needs to stop. Just be sure you’re being gently honest with your friend and not trying to embarrass them. (You don’t want to end up as the rude person just because you’re trying to protect everyone else from your friend’s behavior.)

Your Friend Treats You Rudely at Their House

When a friend invites you over and then treats you poorly, that borders on toxic behavior. The key question to ask yourself before you get upset is: Are they trying to be rude or just innocently behaving poorly?

You’ll need to do some soul searching on that one.

If they’re trying to be rude, you should leave the party at an acceptable time without issue. Don’t storm out or make a scene in the middle of dinner. Leave when dinner is complete and then schedule a time to talk to your friend one on one as soon as possible afterward. It’s best to see them in person to discuss things, but in a pinch, you could talk to them on the phone. Avoid email for this sort of thing, because it’s too easy for your words and intentions to get misconstrued.

Your Friend Is Rude to Your Other Friends or Family Members

In an ideal world, you’d hope all your friends would get along with each other. In reality, that usually doesn’t happen. This is especially true if you have a variety of friends, each with different experiences and opinions.

While your friends might not love (or even like) each other, they still need to be respectful. If you know that certain people will clash, do your best not to force them together. Why fan the flames when you don’t have to?

But if there is a certain event or circumstance where everyone is going to be there, you should be able to expect that your friends will be polite. If they aren’t, and you can discreetly chat with them about it without making a scene or embarrassing your friend, pull your friend aside and let them gently know they’re being rude.

If you can’t talk with them without causing a scene yourself, then wait until the next day or so and bring it up with them in person.

What About You?

Are you treating your friends the best way you can? Everyone is different on what they like and tolerate, so tune in closely to make sure you’re making your friend feel as comfortable as possible.