If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
Over and over, all my life, I've heard these adages. From my parents, my teachers, my mentors, my peers.
Those phrases are often well-intentioned. Some people live strictly within them, some ignore them completely. Both avenues are fraught with peril. Being overly concerned with the actions of others, particularly when those actions have no bearing on you personally or aren't flagrant violations of the rights of others is an easy way to have a miserable existence, constantly up in arms, consistently and loudly berating others. It is horribly unhealthy to be able to function when others don't follow the rules you've laid down for them to live by.
Every pendulum has a dewpoint on the opposite end of the swing, though. The opposite of being an overly controlling douchecanoe is not rolling over and limply allowing others to trample freely over you.
There are always going to be times in our lives when other people push our boundaries. As I grow and learn, I try to distance myself from my initial reactions. What was done or said? How does it impact me or those I love? Does it violate my moral code? What would I gain if I said something? What would I lose if I said nothing? Without being able to guess the intent of the person who violated my boundary, how can I establish that boundary and still have compassion for the person who hurt me?
Any person who has strong presence will inevitably rub some people the wrong way, and so I have done most of my life. Part of my maturing process has been to examine my reaction to being considered a downright bitch by an alarming number of folks. It hurts when people don't like me, but I have to consider that sometimes their reactions to me are a direct byproduct of my own actions. And there's nothing terribly mature or growth-producing about being proud of being monikered The Wicked Witch of the West by your coworkers. But there's also not a thing wrong with finding ways to be both strong and compassionate.
I can recognize that others may not be mindful of what they do or say, because they are human and like them, I am not always giving the right amount of attention to how my words or actions impact others. But when those thoughtless comments or actions directly violate my personal boundaries and beliefs, there's not a thing wrong with me pointing out that what was done or said wasn't OK with me. And I don't particularly care if you get your feelings hurt because I let you know you crossed a line. If I've been clear without being mean, then your reaction is your own problem.
That doesn't make me a bitch.
That doesn't mean I don't like you. It doesn't mean I don't think we can all exist together in a reasonable facsimile of pleasant harmony.
It just means I'd like you to be more considerate of how you interact with me and my family.