Because you’re coming from a place of concern, asking “Are you okay?” gives you back your control. You’ve been spoken rudely to and now you’re going to take the high road, unlike the person who made the comment. It’s also hard to bounce back after a question has been posed that levels the playing field, because it can make the commenter feel foolish. “You can respond with a question of your own that highlights the absurdity or tactlessness of their words,” licensed marriage and family therapist Saba Harouni Lurie told PsychCentral. “In doing so, you might also just prompt them to consider their intention and the harm caused, even if their intention wasn’t to cause harm.”
While many of us are well aware when we’re being rude, some people are completely clueless as to the impact of the words. Asking “Are you okay?” can shift the tone and give the commenter a chance to wise up and hopefully think before they speak going forward.