5 Ways To Love & Support Someone Who (Frankly) Isn't Very Nice

It's not you, it's them. (But it's you, too.)

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I overheard a rude and disrespectful workplace exchange the other day that got my blood boiling.

After giving myself a few minutes to consider my response, I chose to (politely) confront the transgressor about their inappropriate, damaging behavior. This wasn't the first time I had heard them say something not-so-nice. 

Until now, I had given them the benefit of the doubt.

But when I mentioned their rude behavior, they instantly denied everything. They would not even admit that they had spoken with my co-worker, let alone treated them disrespectfully.


How do you even deal with someone like that? Let alone cultivate warm, friendly feelings toward them?

The next day I thought to myself that I needed to find a way to deal with people who simply aren’t nice people — not just deal with them, but love them, too.

I reminded myself that in many cases, rude people can be hurting on the inside. Their behavior might be a symptom of their pain and even a cry for help.

RELATED: 7 Signs He's Acting Like A Jerk To Hide Deep Emotions

Here are five ways to set loving, supportive boundaries for not-so-nice people 

1. Realize their issue (and rudeness) has nothing to do with us

People’s rudeness typically originates from someone’s inflated sense of importance and/or their insecurities about not being important enough.


Unfortunately, a lot of people want to feel heard, receive special treatment, or have the rules not apply to them. All of this deals with their own incongruent relationship with themselves. Sometimes they’ve not been groomed to read the room or have no clue how they’re impacting the people they interact with such unattractive behavior.

In other cases, they simply don’t care.

Either way, how they treat us says little about who we are, and everything about how they struggle within themselves.

Getting to this space makes it easier to take things less personally when we encounter people like this and enables us to totally sidestep whatever debris they may send our way. 


RELATED: Why People Treat You Badly (And How To Stop Them From Doing So)

2. Create distractions or redirect their attention

If you see some mean behavior going down, it can be helpful to distract the person to something else that might neutralize the situation.

Or you may need to distract yourself with work, phone, or other activities until you’re able to respond reasonably to the situation rather than react emotionally, especially if you’re in a fragile space yourself.

Calling or texting someone so they can help acknowledge where you are emotionally, yet help you find a rational path forward can be effective.

A valid distraction also includes walking away from the situation or reporting the situation to someone who can have more of an impact on the offending person.


If you work with a not-so-nice person, rather than have a conversation with them, correspond via email with other people copied, which can help keep them accountable for their treatment of others.

RELATED: Why Rudeness Is Just A Weak Person Pretending To Be Strong

3. Compassionately and constructively make them aware of their behavior

As mentioned earlier, some people are unable to note their own crappy behavior. Sometimes letting someone know you see they’re not being nice can open up a productive dialog — or it may not.

Like my experience above, some people are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions or may not see how they are can be interpreted as rude or hurtful. But it doesn’t mean we stop showing them areas of improvement, especially for relationship or environmental harmony.


Some people will take the time to then justify where they are mentally and emotionally, and perhaps even apologize; some may not.

But it lets them know it’s not OK to treat people in certain ways. Not without facing potential consequences.

RELATED: The Simple 'Brain Trick' For Dealing With Mean People

4. Love and support them from afar

We all meet people who aren’t nice. And our levels of tolerance are relative.

The day after my experience, I asked myself how can I love this person even though they aren’t nice.

After all, many people who aren’t nice are hurting inside, and may not be able to love themselves. So why not share a dose of love for the betterment of all?


Over time though, working with or dealing with not-so-nice people can wear on us.

But remember, love doesn’t tire. Love is always there.

Even if you cannot seem to bring yourself to love someone when they’re being nasty to you, send them love before or after the fact.

When they’re ready, that love will be there to help them heal.

RELATED: How To Put Disrespectful People In Their Place (Forever)

5. Be the kind of 'nice' person we hope others will be

We need to be sure to apply the above practices to ourselves, too, when we find ourselves being a bit cranky and not so nice.


Self-evaluation is a wonderful way to learn more about ourselves and how we want to interact with others. Check regularly to see what’s going on with yourself.

Why can’t we be cordial in a specific situation? Where are we needing more love in our lives to move to a better space?

Self-evaluation requires self-awareness.

Self-awareness means we must be willing to practice what we preach, owning up to the times we overreact, under-react, or simply fall short in a situation.

And then we need to be ready to extend that courtesy to those we interact with.

Loving not-so-nice people starts with us.

RELATED: 16 Warning Signs You're Dealing With An Evil Person


Pamela Aloia is a certified grief coach, reiki master/teacher, and author helping people become better versions of themselves through individual sessions, energy work, meditation, and more.