When someone hits you with a “playful” insult or makes a joke at your expense, what’s the best way to respond? Acting like it didn’t offend you could encourage them to continue, while defending yourself can lead to conflict or awkwardness, so what should you say? According to one etiquette expert, it’s as simple as three little words.
Sara Jane Ho, Harvard grad, founder of the Sarita finishing school and star of Netflix’s “Mind Your Manners,” knows exactly how to handle uncomfortable situations like these. She recommends you respond to rudeness with kindness and class with just one question - “Are you okay?”
But the tone you use to say it is as important as the words themselves, the expert cautions, so use a friendly tone and don’t be short or sharp. Sara Jane says this question conveyed that you didn’t appreciate their rude comment, but it’s coming from a place of care that puts the other person in check. No matter what they say to you, she stresses that it’s important to not let it ruin your mood, explaining, “The greatest power is showing the other person doesn’t have power over you.”