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If you are a woman and a leader, at some point in time, someone will have called you bossy. Bossy is almost a negative stereotype for a strong and successful woman. The funny thing is, if a man did the exact same thing, there wouldn’t be any criticism.

If you are confident and a direct communicator some people may perceive that you are bossy, you do not have to accept their framing of the situation. Some people want to lead and others want to follow.

If you want to make a clever retort the next time someone calls you bossy, use one of our clever comebacks.

11 Best comebacks for being called bossy

1. I’m not bossy, I just know what you should be doing.

2. Do it my way or I will push you off my broom.

3. I’m not bossy. I simply make suggestions without options.

4. I’m not bossy. I have leadership skills.

5. I’m not bossy, I am the boss!

6. We want things to run smoothly around here. Thank you for sharing your feedback.

7. I’m not bossy, I just have better ideas.

8. I’m not bossy, I have just been blessed with an administrative gift.

9. I’m not bossy, everything is just better my way.

10. If a man does something he is a leader. If a woman does the same thing she’s bossy.

11. Do you have a problem with woman taking initiative?

12. If you want to control everything, start with controlling your urge to speak.

13. I consider myself to be organized and assertive.

14. I hear you, but I am trying to take initiative to get things done.

15. The buck stops with me so I have to be decisive. If something goes wrong, I have to answer for it.

16. If you did things properly I wouldn’t have to be bossy.

17. I guess someone has to be.

18. I’m not bossy, I’m aggressively helpful.

19. I wouldn’t describe creating order out of chaos as bossy.

20. Let’s try to find a solution to this problem together.

21. Let’s go over the task again because there seems to be some confusion.

22. I get that it is a challenging day, but we are on the same team so let’s work together to get this done.

23. Can we talk about the obstacles that you are facing today and how we can make things better?

24. I want the best outcome for the team. I want you to know I appreciate your effort but do. not undermine my leadership in front of the team.

25. Do you think you can do a better job?

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What does it mean when people call you bossy?

Bossy can also be on the negative side of adjectives. When someone calls you bossy, it means that they find you controlling or overly dominant. This can be manifested in your behaviour or in the way you communicate.

The usual behaviour of someone bossy is that they tend to give orders or directions without considering the thoughts or situation of others. Their delivery is usually in a very demanding tone. These individuals are typically intimidating or aggressive.

The reaction to being called bossy can be divided. You might initially be in denial, but it can also hurt to hear it in person. Being bossy is not something to be proud of. So, if you hear this description about you, it can be your sign for a change.

If you are a natural leader, it’s important to remember that effective leadership does not require being demanding and bossy. Good leadership involves collaboration and consideration for others’ ideas and feelings.

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Growing up Shery Sanberg was called bossy

By cellanr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/rorycellan/8652222760/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31272917

When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead – Sheryl Sandberg

Famous women who have been called bossy

There are many famous women who have been called bossy because of their assertive nature, often it is as a way to discredit their leadership abilities.. Here are a few examples:

1. Hillary Clinton – The former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential candidate has faced criticism for being controlling and some have said she is even too assertive.

2. Beyoncé – The singer and businesswoman has been called bossy for her strong personality and involvement in every aspect of her career.

3. Marissa Mayer – The former Yahoo CEO has been called controlling and some people have questioned her leadership for micromanaging her employees.

4. Serena Williams – The tennis star has been called bossy for her competitive nature and because she doesn’t back down on the tennis court.

It’s important to note that being called bossy is often a gender based criticism, people believe assertive behaviour is acceptable for men but not women.

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Jana whose aunt always called her bossy

Jana’s aunt always called her bossy, no matter what she did or said. Jana found this behaviour hurtful and frustrating, as she believed that she was just being assertive and confident in her opinions. She couldn’t understand why her aunt always seemed to focus on her perceived flaws instead of celebrating her strengths.

One day, Jana decided to confront her aunt about her behaviour, and she explained that being assertive and confident was a positive trait and that she didn’t appreciate being called bossy. She also pointed out all of the ways in which she had been successful in her life and how her confidence had helped her achieve her goals.

Her aunt listened and gave some feeble excuse how woman of her era stayed at home and didn’t order people around and go to meetings all day.

At that moment, Jana realized what a limited person her aunt was. She was stuck in the past, she hadn’t grown as a person and she was negative and critical. Jana realized that she was giving her power away by taking feedback from a person she shouldn’t be listening to.

At that moment, she decided that she would be nice to her aunt, but never take any feedback from her on anything other than cooking or cleaning. Her aunt lived in a world that no longer existed, and she didn’t have to hide her leadership qualities from someone who wasn’t capable of looking at the modern world objectively.

Funny replies when people call you BOSSY

The Role of counselling and self care

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When you are dealing with being called bossy by others and you find it stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counselor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home. 

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with people who call you bossy? Share them in the comments below.

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9 Comments

  1. Well… this problem bothers me sooo much and I just tell them : “well, I’m more of a leader, not a follower”. Hope that helps 😉

  2. Be careful with #1 because someone can give 2 good counter comebacks: “Since you know what I should be doing, you should know when you need to shut up!” and “I didn’t realize you were an expert in my life and how I should live it! Continue while I take notes.”

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