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What to Say When Someone is Being a Jerk

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How do you reply when someone makes insensitive or obnoxious comments? Here’s one founder’s suggestion.

By Karen X. Cheng (Co-founder, Giveit100)

“If I had known you would become pregnant, I wouldn’t have invested in your company.”

This is what an investor said to Michelle Crosby, Founder/CEO of WeVorce.

Her response: “What do you mean?”

Immediately the investor realized what he said and apologized for being an asshole.

That was one of the interesting stories from the YC Female Founders conference I went to today.

An hour after leaving the conference, I hopped on a phone call for work. This guy was describing to me what a pain his new employees were, bickering with each other. He told them to “stop behaving like a bunch of women” and then kept rambling to me.

I stopped him and said: “So you said that your employees are behaving like a bunch of women. What do you mean?”

Immediately he apologized, said it was the wrong choice of words, and said he meant to say “stop behaving like a bunch of children.”

Haha. What a magic phrase: “What do you mean?”

Next time someone is being an asshole, try it out.

This post originally appeared on Karen’s personal blog

How do you respond to this sort of obnoxious comment?

About the blogger: Karen X. Cheng learned to dance in a year. Her dance video has been seen by over 3 million people and has inspired thousands to pursue their passions. She’s the co-founder of Giveit100, a video site where you choose something to get better at and take a video of your progress every day.