There are a few quality tones I run into after the FIRST SENTENCE spoken to someone that over time I've learned to group into one category of responses.
Here's a sample:
1. "You're 100% wrong and I can't even believe you just said that."
2. "You must have no idea what you're talking about, you FOOL."
3. "I don't give a damn about you, and I wish you weren't here." (Duane Reade employees)
With all of these, the easiest response is a defensive one - indignant at best, angry at worst.
What I've been trying to do lately to get past these auto-emotions is a two step deal.
First - forgive them. It's not worth it.
Then, (and this helps) I just pretend that what they said was really polite!
Once I've run that slight alteration in my mind, it's then easier to do a 180 and deal with them as they absolutely do not expect - with the same kindness that they SHOULD have employed.
By catching people off guard with kindness (or just calmness, if the case should call for it), we totally re-engineer our situation to our advantage. And I have to say - so far, the results have been pretty remarkable.