When someone mutters under their breath you may be a little taken aback because it can be rude, passive-aggressive, and hostile behaviour. Maybe the person doesn’t like what you said, and instead of being an adult and confronting you about it, they walk away and then mutter complaints under their breath.

Often people think they get away with making snide comments under their breath without being called out for their shitty behaviour.

The person you are dealing with may not have the courage to talk to you openly about what is bothering them. When you ask them directly what they said, they reply, “nothing,” and won’t repeat what they muttered back to you.


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Some people aren’t even aware that they are muttering, their behaviour is aggravating and can be enough to make you want to end a relationship.

Jeannie’s husband was always muttering under his breath, and it became so extreme that it was a deal-breaker for her. She didn’t want to have him near her friends because of his uncouth behaviour. She spoke to him directly and told him that it was a deal-breaker for her and he needed to stop doing it immediately.

Her husband continued to complain under his breath but now she called him out every time. Jeannie would say, “What was that you just said to me? I didn’t catch it?  It would be helpful if you could speak clearly to me.”

Jeannie kept calling her husband out on his bad behaviour , every time he did it she would say it sounded like he had duct tape over his mouth. Because he knew that he was going to get called out every time he muttered under his breath, he eventually stopped doing it.

Here are a few things you can say to someone who mutters under their breath.

The top ten things to say to someone who mutters under their breath

  1. Excuse me, but are you still talking? I couldn’t make out what you said.
  2. What did you say? I missed it.
  3. Did you mean to say that out loud?
  4. Pardon me, I didn’t quite catch that all.
  5. What was that? It sounds like you have duct tape on your mouth.
  6. Please stop with the passive-aggressive behaviour.
  7. Hey, if you have something to comment on, say it to my face, don’t mutter under your breath.
  8. I don’t see why that’s necessary to say. It’s not kind or constructive. All it does is make us both unhappy. How can we reach a conclusion where you stop insulting me?
  9. I’m sorry, but if you keep insulting me under your breath, I’m going to have to make it a bit of a deal. I know you don’t want that, and neither do I. Do you think you could drop it?
  10. Hey, is there a reason why you keep insulting me?

Why do people mutter rude things under their breath?

People sometimes say mean things under their breath when they’re upset, angry, or frustrated to get their feelings out without talking to the person or situation that’s bugging them. This helps them feel better if they use it to let out their feelings. It’s a complicated mix of things, like how they think, what they see around them, and even their personality traits, that makes them say those not-so-nice things.

People may also say rude things because they think they must act in a sure way to fit in with society. For example, they might work well in public but tell what they believe when no one looks. People who don’t like themselves or think they aren’t good enough may say mean things to protect themselves. It can be a way to make other people feel bad or to take attention away from their problems.

Saying mean things to people behind their backs can hurt them and show disrespect. If you do it a lot, you should figure out why you do it and find better ways to talk about it. You could try to be more aware of how you feel, learn how to speak better, or talk to someone like a therapist for help.

How to deal with someone who mutters rude things under their breath

It can be hard to deal with someone who says rude comments under their breath, but here are some steps you can take:

  1. Deal with it Privately: If someone’s muttering bothers you or makes you feel uneasy, try talking to them privately. Share your emotions calmly and confidently, explaining how their actions impact you.
  1. Keep Your Cool: Instead of letting it get under your skin, take a deep breath and stay calm and composed. Resist the urge to get angry or frustrated right away. Reacting calmly can help prevent the situation from getting worse.
  1. Set Limits: If the behavior doesn’t stop and is annoying or hurtful, make it clear what the limits are. Tell the person that this is not okay and that there may be consequences if it keeps happening.
  1. Get some support: Dealing with someone who mutters rude things can be tricky. Contact friends, family, or a counselor for some much-needed help. They’ve got your back in developing coping strategies and communication skills.

Remember that no two situations are precisely the same, so adapting your approach based on the person and the specific circumstances is crucial. Ultimately, it’s essential to approach the issue with respect and a positive attitude.

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Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with people who mutter under their breath? Share them in the comments below.

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