Mean Things To Say To People When Kindness Doesn’t Work

When What You're Saying is True, Maybe it's Not Mean. The Truth Can Hurt
An Online Therapist Can Help You Advocate For Yourself


Call it being blunt, or being direct, or being assertive. Sometimes, being overly nice doesn't work in particular situations. It's not that you should be mean as a default. It's just that sometimes, the person you are speaking to isn't getting the message. Try some of these mean things to say to people when kindness doesn't work.

When You Need Mean Things To Say To People

Yes, in general it's not good to be mean to people. And you certainly shouldn't say mean things to people who are close to you. But sometimes, a mean comment is the only tactic you have left to make your point completely clear. Here are some of those times.

Someone's safety is at risk

If you are with a group, and one person is putting someone else at risk, it's a good idea to speak up and put an end to the dangerous situation. Danger may not only refer to physical safety. For instance, if one colleague at work is coercing another to do something that could put the person's job in jeopardy, it's likely appropriate to be blunt about the behavior being wrong. These points also apply to when your own safety is at risk.


Someone just won't take a hint

All of us have different boundaries for personal space. If you have repeatedly tried to kindly brush someone off, and they continue to bother you or ignore your personal boundaries, a meaner approach may be warranted. Just don't get mean with someone you intend to continue a friendship or relationship with. The mean brush-off works best with strangers or people you don't want a lasting relationship with.

When not to say mean things

Of course, there are certain times when your safety may be at risk or a person is ignoring your boundaries, and it's not wise to say something mean to the other person. If you are being abused in any way, lashing out at the abuser will often result in further pain and suffering for you. Instead, it's best to stay calm and try to find a way out of the abusive situation as quickly as possible, without further aggravating the abuser.

Mean things to say

If you're new to being blunt, you can try these suggestions for getting your message across.

  • "Your idea is not going to work." It may be hard to confront a co-worker. But if the health of the business or your position is on the line, you may have to be direct with them. And yes, they may think the truth sounds mean.
  • "I don't want to hear your opinion." Normally, this is a pretty rude thing to say to someone. But if a person is imposing upon you and won't let up, the direct approach may be your best option to get out of the situation. For instance, you may want to use this phrase when someone who insists that they are right and continue to criticize your thoughts.

When What You're Saying is True, Maybe it's Not Mean. The Truth Can Hurt
An Online Therapist Can Help You Advocate For Yourself


Another option for a mean response? Simply say nothing at all. In some situations, ignoring the other person is a possible way to convey your distaste with the situation. Is it mean? Yes, but sometimes it's necessary when it comes to establishing your personal boundaries. Just keep in mind that the silent treatment is not effective for establishing boundaries with people you are close to and see on a regular basis. They deserve your response.

You can learn more about establishing personal boundaries and asserting yourself by seeking guidance from a certified counselor.

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