When I was traveling in India, I was approached at a cafe by a man who also happened to be American. He had clearly had a few drinks, but I was polite when he struck up a conversation. Noting my accent, he asked where I was from. When I said I lived in Atlanta, he then rolled his eyes, groaned, and began listing everything he thought was wrong with the place I call home.
Everyone is of course entitled to his or her opinion, and I doubt this man would have been so forthcoming if he hadn’t been drinking. Still, I found his behavior to be very boorish and rude. I felt like he was putting me on the spot while making gross generalizations. I was in India to soak up the culture and enjoy myself, not be bullied into defending myself or my choice of residence.
I remained civil throughout, ultimately telling him we would have to agree to disagree. Fortunately one of his friends caught my eye and steered him away from our group. I didn’t want to get into a confrontation with this man. Not only would it ruin my trip, but there’s no point in stooping to someone’s level. Just because he wasn’t being civil didn’t mean I couldn’t.
Sometimes you will come across offensive people. I think the best approach is to not engage with them. Otherwise, you run the risk of the situation escalating, especially if the person has been drinking. And if you are someone who is prone to mouthing off, you should seriously examine that behavior.