What do you say to someone who asks you a rude or inappropriate question, or says something offensive? What do you say to questions like, “Have you lost weight?” “How much money do you make?” “Is that your real nose?” “When are you going to have children?” and “Did you mean to wear that today?”


Finding the right comeback can be a tricky thing. Assuming you’re unable to ignore the person or just walk away, how you handle inappropriate remarks says as much about your own character as the person ticking you off. And the comeback choices are limited if the insulting person is your boss—assuming you want to keep your job.

So let’s say you don’t want to handle rudeness with rudeness. For me, that means passing on the two-word expletive that’s top of mind when I’m confronted with the rude and offensive. It also means refraining from tossing out overtly snarky lines, such as, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” or, “I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being more intelligent,” or, “I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce,” or “I see you’ve set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public,” or “I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.” And you certainly can’t use the line that a wisecracking Ginger Rogers offered up in the 1937 film Stage Door: “It must have been hard on your mother, not having any children.”

No, we’re trying to be civil here. So instead, consider these comebacks when you’re flabbergasted at the cluelessness of the person standing before you. These replies might not be as satisfying as an expletive or that snarky rejoinder, but hopefully they get the job done.

  1. Excuse me, but did you actually just say… (Then summarize what they said, pouring every ounce of incredulity you can muster into the retelling in the hopes the other person will realize how inappropriate their comment was.)
  2. So sorry, I wasn’t listening. Can you repeat that?
  3. Right.
  4. Well, I think we’ve reached the end of this conversation.
  5. Whatever you say.
  6. You don’t really expect me to answer that, do you? (And if they say “Yes, I do expect an answer,” I refer you to a comeback line from The Princess Brid : “Get used to disappointment.”)
  7. That’s the most pretentious thing I’ve ever heard. (Then laugh.)
  8. You’re kidding, right? Hold on. You arekidding, right?
  9. Ouch. Did you mean to be that rude?
  10. Help me understand why you think that was an appropriate thing to say–and why you think I should answer you.
  11. Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view. (Courtesy of Yahoo answers).
  12. My apologies. I don’t speak English.

Source: One Thing New