How to Handle a Tactless Person

Note: This is a series of posts on How to Handle Difficult People. These articles will guide you on how to interact with a difficult person without severing your relationship with them.

It is awkward and uncomfortable being around a tactless person.

Even more so when people around you start to realize that you are friends.

Being with The Big Mouth should not be that uncomfortable if you know what to do and where he is coming from.

Below are some tips on how to handle a tactless person.

1. Don’t take it personally

Being tactless is his problem, not yours.

The important thing is you still treat others with the respect that everyone deserves.

Eventually, people will know that you are a different person from your friend.

Be careful about being influenced by the attitude of your friend and being around him too often.

As the saying goes, "tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are."

2. Understand their situation

A lot of tactless people are behaving the way they do because of how they were raised as a child.

Insensitive people are usually deficient of love, care, and attention from their parents or guardians when they were little, so they don’t know how to go along well with others.

Most of the time, they do not mean to be offensive, it is just that they honestly do not know how to say things appropriately.

They think they are being frank, but other people don't see it that way because they are offending.

If you realize this, then you can develop a better understanding of where they are coming from.

3. Don’t encourage their behavior

When you notice that someone is being tactless, stay quiet every time he makes an insensitive remark.

If you constantly affirm his opinions about other people or situations, his tactless behavior is fueled and he will think that it is okay.

Never ever encourage gossip.

What makes you think that he is not telling bad things behind your back, too?

When he is being rude to you, simply walk away.

It will tell him that you don’t want anything to do with that kind of behavior.

4. Don’t go into a dispute

Tactless people love confrontations.

They actually thrive in them and it stimulates their sarcastic and know-it-all nature.

Become aware when a conversation is heading to a state of disagreement and quickly change the topic or leave the room.

It is impossible to win against a tactless person because a.) he will just demean you, stating all your personal flaws and physical defects if there are any and b.) if you go down to his level and eventually manage to win the argument, you are still the loser because you just became a rude person yourself.

The best thing to do is just smile, step away, and let her humiliate herself.

5. Forgive quickly

Whenever he says anything critical of you, do not retaliate.

You are actually the one that is at a disadvantage by harboring feelings of resentment for this kind of person.

He may have long ago moved on from the incident, while you are still torturing yourself from his comments that are really not helpful anyway.

When you immediately release forgiveness, you essentially take away his power to hurt you or upset you.


  1. Perhaps you might consider that these people are very religious and to not be straightforward is to lie. It is difficult to learn how to sidestep and remain honest. For instance instead of saying that dress is absolutely hideous. I learnexmd to say "that color looks beautiful on you!"
    It is a very difficult thing trying to be tactful and stay out of hell at the same time.


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