The great statesman Mahatma Gandhi once said, "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings." Unfortunately, people like Gandhi are few are far between. Meanwhile, if you are dealing with disparaging remarks from people who dislike your girlfriend, choose to stand up for her by taking the road of peace while affirming that your girlfriend is worth the world to you.
Correct people if you hear them making judgmental remarks about your girlfriend. For example, if you overhear a mutual friend say, "I think Jenna is stuck up," let him know that she although she may sometimes struggle with shyness, she is a genuinely nice person. Perhaps your friend is perceiving her personality in the wrong light. Don't become angry, though, as anger is a weak response that takes an insult too seriously, often implying that there might be truth to the incorrect words, explains psychiatrist Neel Burton, M.D., in a February 2013 article in "Psychology Today." Avoid using threatening words or posturing. Your job is to simply set the record straight, not to engage in a battle of words.
Leave situations when they are uncomfortable for your girlfriend. For example, if you're at a party and a group of girls who dislike your girlfriend enter the room and begin whispering about her from across the room, don't bother confronting them -- simply leave the situation. You might say, "This party is lame. How about we go check out what's going on at Josh's tonight?"
Take the high road if a man insults your girlfriend's honor. The whole idea behind such insults is not to disparage a woman, but to humiliate the man who's with her and to elicit a reaction. Remember that you are no longer in junior-high school but an adult world where your career will suffer if you choose to play the game of a socially immature jerk. Walk away. Dealing with these situations maturely is easier if you accurately rate the severity of the issue, says psychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., in an article on his website, rickhanson.net. For example, in the scheme of your life, and that of your girlfriend's, another man calling her ugly or dumb scores about a two on a scale of one to 10, with a 10 being the collapse of the economy. Let it go.
Avoid situations in which your girlfriend is having a conflict that in no way involves you. For example, if her boss at work is treating her unfairly by giving her the worst shifts, support her desire to switch jobs but refrain from confronting her boss when you pick her up from work. You'll be standing up for her simply by affirming that she is a smart and capable person who deserves better treatment.
Move on after you've dealt with an insult to your girlfriend. Dwelling on rude words that someone said or making plans to avenge her honor will result in you being in a poor mood -- and at worst, possibly a jail cell. Rest assured that what comes around usually goes around and continue on with your life.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.
Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images