British Columbia, Canada
Wow this is a hard one for me to address because I try to never let other people's stuff become mine, and put it right back where it belongs. I like to mirror back what people say that hurt my feelings, by asking them if I heard them right, and repeating what they just said to them, and asking if I understood it correctly. Quite often these people reacted without thinking and were not sensitive to my feelings. When I explain they hurt my feelings, there again, they will usually back out of it by saying they didn't mean to. This is when I ask then what did you mean to do or say?
As for how do you tell someone you love them without saying, "I love you" - the romantic in me quite often wants to scream those WORDS out, but I catch myself and realize that love is a verb, and you show it as well as say it, so subtle things say it for you like gestures, touch, etc.
I agree with others above that the best way to deal with cruel people is to kill them with kindness, and if that doesn't work, I tell them I am sorry they are not the kind of people I wish in my life, so please ignore me and I will ignore you, and I do!
Too nice? How can anyone be too nice? Except this guy I knew in Grade 12 that followed me around like a puppy and offered to do all my biddings, who drove me insane. He eventually became the Premier of that province LOL.
Okay, the woman that hurt you at work will have forgetten all about it I suspect by now, did you? I have another theory too, I never worry about a thing that I won't be worrying about a year from now, and let it go. If it is not worth holding onto for a whole year it is not worth worrying about, see? It works too!
Oh, and I am sorry some jerk was hurtful to you today, this is a very lonely, person I suspect and that was nice of you to let her vent