Today as I was waiting at the traffic light a old lady came and yelled at me with very rude and loud voice "You have to press the button!!!".

I pass there every day and it makes no difference whether you press it or not + due to the virus I don't want to touch things like that + I'm not obliged to her in any way to press it, for all it matters she could have been there alone.

But I was so shocked from her incredibly rude tone that I simply said nothing.

How to respond so that I let this person know this is not an appropriate way to talk to strangers? I'm a shy person so these things unfortunately hurt me..

Not sure if location matters, but it is Czech Republic so I've noticed people may be a little bit colder than Americans.

  • Hey vojtak! Welcome to Interpersonal Skills. Please check out our help center and good question guidelines, especially the parts about questions needing a goal. You want to deal with this, but what do you want to do? Can you describe what would make this situation 'dealt with'? And if you can, can you also edit and include what you would think of as proper/improper?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:12
  • 2
    Was she rude by your standards or by Czech standards? Saying nothing actually is the solution! Apr 30, 2020 at 12:14
  • 2
    Wouldn't just ignore her work? Can you explain if that is not a possibility?
    – CaldeiraG
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


I think you did the right thing.

The scene you describe could have happened on a street corner in my neighbourhood; I live in a mid-sized city in Canada, a country that is supposedly even friendlier than the United States. Rude people exist in every country. That said, it is possible that she is hard of hearing and thinks she has to shout in order to be heard.

It is also possible that she is like me and sometimes offers help when it is neither needed nor wanted. If you didn't know her, she probably didn't know you or that you use that intersection every day. Long story short, most likely she just wanted to help you in the best way she knew how.

All the same, I understand why you felt hurt. Nobody likes being yelled at. Your silence most likely informed that woman loudly and clearly that you considered her speech inappropriate. If I were her, I would notice that you didn't like it and feel hurt that my efforts to help were once again misunderstood.

Experiences like this are teaching me that most people can figure things out for themselves. When I am at the receiving end of rude remarks it's a bit more difficult. However, not responding is perhaps the safest way of handling it with complete strangers whom you never expect to meet again.

I have experienced a few times when I tried being assertive with complete strangers and they then took an aggressive attitude. So far, nothing bad happened but it showed me that when there's nothing to lose, it may be best to be humble and submissive and quiet when alone on the street with strangers.

Even old ladies can be surprisingly dangerous if angered, especially when carrying a cane or purse.

  • 80 year old lady with a cane - there's no way you can get out of this looking good if she gets physical.
    – gnasher729
    May 16, 2020 at 21:31

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