The challenge is to respond to insults in a way that maintains the moral high ground; don’t allow yourself to be dragged down to the insulter’s level. Contain your anger and don’t snap back with an immediate, aggressive response – you may say things you don’t mean and you don’t want to have to waste your time and energy undoing damage that is not necessary.
One of my favourite quotes is by Oscar Wilde: A gentleman never unintentionally gives offence.
Contemplate the insult in tranquility: consider the possibility that you may have exaggerated or misinterpreted the insult. Was it said with harmful intentions, or was someone offering constructive feedback? Consult other friends or witnesses and see what they think; confront the (no doubt unpleasant) idea that there may be some truth in what has been said.
If you still feel the need to respond, do so in a calm and measured way – no emotion or intemperate language. Keep your response pithy and concise, and don’t return the insult or you will rapidly become embroiled in an ongoing conflict.
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