Or something. One particular comment thread over at Captain Awkward’s has been especially helpful, so I’ll just link the comments here. The question was how you develop thicker skin.
From one diminutive and often-condescended-to person to another, my favourite jerk-deflection technique is to just raise my eyebrows and stare at the person for a moment. I’ve learned this is a particularly effective way to leverage your aura of quiet mystery into making the person extremely uncomfortable. And personally, I find it a lot easier than actually saying something cutting, but maybe that’s just me.
Number five, which offers these gems
6) I decided my self-esteem was not transitory and dependent upon the whims of others. This includes my subordinates and my supervisors. I do treat everyone with the same respect.
7) I have a strong system of beliefs that I do not compromise. Those beliefs are more important to me than being popular or well-liked. Peer pressure does not work on me. You want to call me a prude because I don’t want to talk about threesomes at work? I can live with that. Maybe the world needs more prudes. You want me to clock you in and out? Sorry, I don’t commit fraud for co-workers. Find another stooge. I have a quick temper and enough righteous indignation to inspire caution in others. [Note: this last bit may not actually be very good advice].
9) Even though I have a well-developed filter, I have a voice and I use it. I have some prepared comebacks that I deploy when needed. My responses if someone calls me a bitch: “You have no idea” or “So glad you noticed!” I engage the Death Stare and then follow it with a big friendly smile. [Note: this is usually with a random stranger and is usually in a public space, like the mall parking lot at Christmas].
and a classic that is not to be forgotten by number six
When someone says something hurtful and mean, I stop, blink, and say these wonderful words:
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”