I don’t care for arrogant or rude people because their insults are scathing. That’s why clever comebacks by the intelligent are the only things that work effectively.

The world is filled with arrogant individuals because being humble is not all that popular, and because toxic behavior seems to run rampant from my experience. Unfortunately, consideration is not the go-to response when it comes to striving to get ahead or gaining a platform. Insults have become common and sometimes have a lasting effect on those who only wish to succeed.

The most effective clever comebacks

The only way to respond in a manner that catches the attention of rude people it seems is to be armed with clever comebacks. These responses really show results, and I don’t mean paying insult for insult either. Some clever comebacks can be educational and inspiring as well. Here are 6 clever comebacks that only the smartest people use.


I’m going to start with a little humor to lighten things up a bit. Sarcasm, in its highest form, is used by intelligent individuals for both entertainment and in the case of an insult. Many times the insults vaulted at intelligent people are the vilest attacks on character. In this case, sarcasm agrees, yet shows the attacker the futile attempt that was made by returning a higher level of knowledge in defense.

Understanding the depth of sarcasm is also relative to the intellect of the one who is insulted. If your sarcasm can match an educated response, then the arrogant individual will most times be surprised and left with no counter attack.


Returning an insult with humor is always a positive way to respond. Instead of getting angry, as weak-minded people do, try to make light of the situation or use a comedic insult to show your playfulness. This may lighten the whole situation while helping you stand your ground. For example:

“Remember when I asked for your opinion? Me either.”

Now, see how funny that is. It never hurts to add levity when the conversation has gotten much too heavy. If you don’t find a way to lighten the conversation, it could lead to unneeded stress for both parties.

Question motives

One way to counteract an insult from an arrogant person is by questioning their motives for their insult or question. Now, an insult is an insult, sometimes obvious in motive, but on certain occasions, an insult may come wrapped in a seemingly innocent inquiry. The best response to an attack of this nature is to question the meaning behind the statement. This is what you can do, for instance:

What makes you ask this question?” or “What does that mean?”

This leaves the ball in their corner so you can understand the exact direction of their statement. Once the insult is clear, then you may want to move to counter in another way. This could pave the way to delve deeper into the hidden motive behind the insult, and the deeper roots of their mindset.

Offer alternatives

Most of the time arrogant or rude people are negative as well. When they resort to insults, they usually have nothing else to use. They have left the realm of positivity in order to gain leverage over other people’s opinions. When they make the insult, a clever comeback may include offering alternatives to their opinions.

If you’ve been insulted by an arrogant person, tell them that there could be other ways of thinking besides their own. They may not want to hear this, but you can use it as a platform to share opposing views and lessen the power of the attack. For instance, you can try this statement:

There are other ways to look at this situation as well. Others may have different opinions on this idea.”

Support good intentions

Although the rude person probably meant to make the insult sting, you could choose to take the high road. Offer a way out for them as well, by asking if they know how arrogant the statement sounded.

Most of the time, they will be ashamed by their attack on your character and will respond with something much less arrogant or either not at all. Either way, the conversation can be steered back on course again.

Pause and find common ground

One of the most outstanding clever comebacks in history came from Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. During Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, while answering other developer’s questions, one man, from the audience, took a shot at him. This is what he said:

“It’s sad and clear that on several counts, you’ve discussed, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I would like, for example, for you to express, in clear terms, how, say, JAVA and any of its incarnations addresses the ideas embodied in OpenDoc. And when you’re finished with that, perhaps you can tell us what you, personally, have been doing for the last seven years.”

Although this insult was pretty rough, Steve Jobs never flinched. He paused for a moment to gather his thoughts, like a truly intelligent man. Then, after a bit of time, he said,

“You know, you can please some of the people some of the time…but…

Then Jobs pauses once more and replies again.

“One of the hardest things, when you are trying to effect change, is that – people like this gentleman – are right!”

Wow, I bet you weren’t expecting that one. But the truth is, this response was phenomenal. The reason: Replying with a pause, some thought and then striving to meet on a common ground with the retort, allows both the one making the insult and the one who receives it to find commonality between each other.

Sometimes, the one who is making the insult feels unheard and by agreeing with them, you open up the conversation for more civil forms of communication.

Smart people control the conversation, let’s face it.

If you are prone to receiving quite a few insults, it could mean a variety of things. Your points may be hitting vulnerable areas, your arguments may be strong, or you could just be minding your own business and find yourself being attacked. Whatever the situation may be, a clever comeback usually changes the game.

Don’t worry about arrogant or rude people and their antics. Just keep learning. Remember, the smarter you are, the more adept at clever comebacks you will be. Well, at least, that’s my opinion. The great thing about life is….there are so many perspectives and we should all be prepared to stand our ground.


  1. https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso
  2. https://thoughtcatalog.com
  3. https://www.yourtango.com

Image: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates by Joi Ito

Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner mobile

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. hgf

    “One of the hardest things, when you are trying to effect change, is that – people like this gentleman – are right!”
    **“One of the hardest things, when you are trying to effect change, is that people – like this gentleman – are right!”**

    1. Sherrie

      Well, thank you for reading and your editing suggestion. There is always room for improvements. 🙂

  2. Mimi R

    It’s a bit befuddling that the one comment listed here focuses on correcting a grammatical error and not the content – is that honestly what you took away from this article? 😂

  3. Please

    How about helping someone to react positively when they feel insulted instead of lashing out with nasty comments like a child. Playing tit for tat. All of this is how NOT to act. If you start to get more insults… It’s because this is jerk behavior.

  4. ShabChic

    I never miss the opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

  5. Sean

    The best method is for their parents to teach them how to behave properly when they’re young, however I think their genetic and neurological makeup plays a large role. Some on the other hand only learn the hard way, such as in the case of bullies who seek to cause physical harm to others. The environment and climate an individual’s ancient and prehistoric ancestors originate from also plays some role in their evolutionary behaviour in ways that are similar to their physical, genetic and aesthetic differences, etc.

  6. Davidjohn King

    Merry Xmas “EVERYONE”…
    Love, peace and happiness to all…

    DD x

  7. Valerie Ponton

    I wish I was completely wrong in my concern for how the administration and Republicans actions are. I would be glad to be wrong. But instinct which is a little more than social influence tells me this is SO wrong. How great it would be that our elected officials wereserving all Americans not just the Right Wing elite trying to control us.

  8. Ydnic

    Bless your heart, a Southeners come back.

  9. Nicole

    WELL DONE, IS BETTER THAN WELL SAID. -Benjamin Franklin-
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results _Albert Einstein-
    Good shit, Bad shit in the end its always SHIT.

  10. CJ

    “Sarcasm, in its highest form, is used by intelligent individuals for both entertainment and in the case of an insult.” I think the author has confused intelligence with immaturity. Truly intelligent people don’t gain pleasure in shaming others, and have no need for mental defense mechanisms.

    Sarcasm is a sign of insecurity or open hostility with a thin veil of wit. When the mental burden of given situation is too great, people often resort to sarcasm to lighten the load. It’s no different than a nervous giggle in that regard. Sarcasm is also used to bully people considered to be inferior. But arrogance too is a sign of internal weakness. Sarcasm is just a legal way of punching someone in the nose. I think focusing on polishing one’s intellect is preferable to spending time memorizing one-liners.

  11. Ellisa Forest

    What about if there is a bully that keeps finding rude mean and terribly down-putting comments? What should I do then? (I already talked to everyone…. It doesn’t work! Plus, this person doesn’t even know me!!!)

  12. jo

    My mom said to say “I beg your pardon” or “sorry, I must not have heard you correctly”
    and see if they are dumb enough to say the same rude thing twice!
    (Her daddy was a preacher, so you can’t be exactly forth coming with your responses! And we are in the south, where good manners are aligned with personal respect.)

  13. Ursula Bird

    When someone insult you, let the individual know that he/she is STUPID: for example, you can answer with” Can’t you figure it out? If the in individual say No, then you start explaining as you were talking to a retard. Make it work for you.

  14. Donna

    Tell that person you are aware of what they are doing. If they continue to put you down – due to jealousy – get alot of friends to approach that person and threaten with court actions- Known as Slander! People that try to bully other people–were bullied themselves…and now want try it on someone else.

Leave a Reply