We’ve all been in this situation.
The first impulse may be to return the insult.
But that escalates things. And you lose the moral high ground. Trading insult for insult is about winning, not resolving.
Calling the person out is a bit better. But that makes the other person defensive and more entrenched in their position.
One woman in a Facebook conversation I participated in offered a great solution:
Ask, “What did you mean by that?”
There’s no counter insult here. There’s no accusation. But it does require the person to explain and justify their insult.
Maybe you were at fault – though the person could have been nicer about it. But maybe you weren’t at fault. And further questioning along the lines of “Did you mean such-and-such or something different?” could result in the person’s justifications falling apart.
Of course, some people never admit when they’re wrong.