What is a snide comment? It’s usually a remark that seems sarcastic, mocking, rude or condescending. For example, when you ask a question, and someone says, “Duh, everyone knows that!” – this is a snide comment. Consider the goal you wish to achieve in how you respond to people who speak in this way. You might consider what the payoff is for the other person. Is it an innocent attempt to start a conversation with unintended poor judgment or a way to show their dominance? If this is a routine occurrence, then you may want to have a plan for responding.
Here are some tips:
Stay calm – think before you react
Don’t show that the remark has upset you. Remaining calm will maintain your power. And don’t assume it was an insult. Ask yourself how you feel – are you resentful, anxious or angry? When you name an emotion, you tame it. Notice if you may have misread the situation or are being oversensitive or insecure. Check in with a trusted mentor as a sounding board.
Watch your tone of voice, so you are not reacting with defensiveness
Don’t laugh. Rather than smoothing it over, you can send a powerful message with silence or immediately move on to another topic. Another good choice is to remove yourself from the situation or respond with light humor. You might turn their nasty comment into a direct question, such as; “Is this something that bothers you since you mention it so often?” This approach will signal to the other person that you can hold your ground.
Determine the kind of relationship you have with this person
If this is an irritating colleague you work with routinely, you could consider this an opportunity to ask for a private conversation. You can let them know you don’t appreciate their comments. Be honest. Talk about how it feels and the impact these comments have on you. It shows consideration not to call them out in front of others. Let them know your expectations and request they stop the remarks. Explicitly mention that the next time it happens, you will take it to your boss.
Handle your response in person – face to face
Don’t use texts or emails to address the comments. Once you’ve spoken face to face, you might then follow up with an email for your reference. Something like, “I appreciated our conversation as a chance to discuss this situation openly. I hope that we can move forward with our relationship positively.”
Set boundaries to let them know that snide comments are not OK with you
If this person continues to taunt or upset you, take this on by saying something like, “I would like you to keep the focus on your remarks off of me.”
Remember that these insults are not really about you. It’s always about the other person as they try to make others feel smaller so they can feel better about themselves. Don’t allow others to influence how you feel about yourself or ruin your day. Take action to stand for your wellbeing.