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How to respond when someone flips you off

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Understanding what someone is actually communicating can make you more powerful. Like hugely powerful!

Man flipping someone off out the window of his car

Remember the last time you were driving and another driver flipped you off ?? Our reaction happens in an instant! Bold and 100% justified. Right? But it? I mean how often do we calmly analyze what's happening in the situation? So how can we know it was the right thing to do?

Understanding what someone is actually communicating can make you more powerful. Like hugely powerful!

Most of us interpret the bird as being told we are an A-hole (insert any expletive you like). But break it down. Think about it objectively for just a minute (easier to do after the fact). Whatever they saw you do, they didn't like. Most simply, flipping you off is ONLY communicating that they didn't like what you did. That's all about them. Not you. They can think whatever they want, who cares, it doesn't mean you were wrong. Only you can decide whether you believe you were wrong.

But wait, if they are flipping you off, aren't they judging you too?

And "Hell No, we will not be judged". Here is where you gain your power back. Their judgments are their own opinion, and are all about them, and have nothing to do with you. (Whaaaat?) Their judgments satisfy their own opinion of themselves. They cannot MAKE you feel anything, it is just their opinion.

Now when YOU BELIEVE or accept their judgement is about YOU, then you are actually reacting to your OWN beliefs about yourself. "I will not get pushed around", "I'm tired of feeling less-than". The reasons we have these beliefs is a deeper subject, but the easier task here is to simply recognize that no one can actually judge you. They can have their own judgement/opinion--that is about them. And you retain your power to decide for yourself your own judgement/opinion about what you did. This allows you to retain your happiness and control, let them be unhappy and not get drawn in to their world.

So how should you respond when someone flips you off? Next time, try thinking this in the moment:

  1. I hear your opinion you didn't like what you did. That's about you.

  2. I'll think about it and decide for myself

If you tried this share your thoughts!

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