How to respond when being teased

SilentAndShy

Well-known member
#1
At work with one of my colleagues who is humorous and a tad popular with younger members of the team, I find myself getting upset (not externally) that when he makes jokes at my expense that I can't respond.

My strategy is to laugh it off, but I just am unable to say anything in response. If I turn the same joke/insult back at him then it comes off childish. I worry that the humorous insinuations of his comments may seep into the thinking of other members of the team and that, coupled with my professional and personal insecurities when it comes to relationships, affects my mood.

I kinda think I do well not to show how ostensibly upset I may be by laughing it off or not getting upset or angry but it affects my mood later.

Any tips?
 

Ransfordrowe

Well-known member
#2
Hi.I would speak to your colleague in private about not liking his jokes.If he does not stop then maybe you could speak to his supervisor or manager.You have the right to not feel abused in your work place.Its a place to work not mock around like a play ground.Hope things improve.
 

Sacrament

Well-known member
#3
I think it's a matter of working on your own confidence. It'll allow you to be more prepared to fire back (jokingly as well) whenever he says something.

More specific tips would depend on what he actually says to you.
 

SilentAndShy

Well-known member
#4
More specific tips would depend on what he actually says to you.
He makes references to me being a boss pet because I get work done and also he views me as being subservient to a boss who is collectively criticised by staff for his autocratic approach. The joke that upset me was him laughingly suggesting that I get hugs from the boss and I tried to respond by saying he got kisses and he dismissed it as me trying, but unsuccessfully, to turn it back on him
 
#5
Through experience with the same thing, I found that If I made a comment back that was something POSITIVE about whatever the NEGATIVE joke was, it shut the person down.

I would also say the positive thing in a light and humorous way, so it was non-threatening, but still erased the bad atmosphere that the teasing (bullying) person had created.

For example a work colleague loudly made a teasing joke about me about having to ride my bike home in the really hot midday sun.
So I said back in a happy, positive and friendly-tone-of-voice, "That's great! I could do with some more sun to build up my tan!"

Then they just stood there speechless, because if they then continued with saying something more negative in reply to my positive comment, they would have made a fool of themselves in front of everyone.

So in your case, when your colleague said to you that you were the bosses pet and subservient to him, you could have said back in a happy and friendly tone, "Hey, well at least I don't ever have to worry about him firing me!" while smiling and laughing with your comment, to make it light and non-threatening.

Use a positive point to cancel out their negative one.

If they continue with further negativity on the same subject, it makes them look petty to anyone else around who is witnessing the teasing. :)
 

Sacrament

Well-known member
#6
edit: just read the comment above me, great tips!

He makes references to me being a boss pet because I get work done and also he views me as being subservient to a boss who is collectively criticised by staff for his autocratic approach. The joke that upset me was him laughingly suggesting that I get hugs from the boss and I tried to respond by saying he got kisses and he dismissed it as me trying, but unsuccessfully, to turn it back on him
You missed a great chance to say 'you should try it, he's a great hugger', or 'you don't know what you're missing, I'm a great hugger; first time's free, after that you gotta pay'.

I think it works better if you're self-depricating. People don't expect it and won't know what to say because you've already made fun of yourself. Plus, they might get a good laugh and he'll be the one without a proper reaction.
 

SilentAndShy

Well-known member
#8
Through experience with the same thing, I found that If I made a comment back that was something POSITIVE about whatever the NEGATIVE joke was, it shut the person down.

I would also say the positive thing in a light and humorous way, so it was non-threatening, but still erased the bad atmosphere that the teasing (bullying) person had created.

For example a work colleague loudly made a teasing joke about me about having to ride my bike home in the really hot midday sun.
So I said back in a happy, positive and friendly-tone-of-voice, "That's great! I could do with some more sun to build up my tan!"

Then they just stood there speechless, because if they then continued with saying something more negative in reply to my positive comment, they would have made a fool of themselves in front of everyone.

So in your case, when your colleague said to you that you were the bosses pet and subservient to him, you could have said back in a happy and friendly tone, "Hey, well at least I don't ever have to worry about him firing me!" while smiling and laughing with your comment, to make it light and non-threatening.

Use a positive point to cancel out their negative one.

If they continue with further negativity on the same subject, it makes them look petty to anyone else around who is witnessing the teasing. :)
Thank you for your tips :)

I guess it's difficult to think on the spot so I just laugh it of but maybe I could use the time I use to take laugh to think of a positive response.

edit: just read the comment above me, great tips!

You missed a great chance to say 'you should try it, he's a great hugger', or 'you don't know what you're missing, I'm a great hugger; first time's free, after that you gotta pay'.

I think it works better if you're self-depricating. People don't expect it and won't know what to say because you've already made fun of yourself. Plus, they might get a good laugh and he'll be the one without a proper reaction.
Self-depracating is what I can do sometimes but as noted above it's tricky to think clear in those moments because you're thinking more about you and how your feeling to think of the response that will calm the threat down
 
#9
I guess it's difficult to think on the spot so I just laugh it of but maybe I could use the time I use to take laugh to think of a positive response......

.....Self-depracating is what I can do sometimes but as noted above it's tricky to think clear in those moments because you're thinking more about you and how your feeling to think of the response that will calm the threat down
Yes, I know it is not easy to think of a reply on the spot when you are under the stress of someone trying to humiliate you in front of others. I know you can feel like a mouse that has been backed into a corner by a cat. :sad:

Your idea of using the time you are laughing off what they said, to think of a reply, is a good one.
I know it might sound weird, but I would practice the exact laugh you do in those situations many times at home, so that it becomes so automatic for you, that you can do it on "auto-pilot". Therefore you have your mind free - while laughing it off - to put all it's energy into the process of thinking of a good reply.

You missed a great chance to say 'you should try it, he's a great hugger', or 'you don't know what you're missing, I'm a great hugger; first time's free, after that you gotta pay'.

I think it works better if you're self-depricating. People don't expect it and won't know what to say because you've already made fun of yourself. Plus, they might get a good laugh and he'll be the one without a proper reaction.
Your suggested replies are excellent!, :applause: because as you said, they will make other people laugh, that will further disarm the teaser. :thumbup:
 

Sacrament

Well-known member
#10
Correct! Although I do understand how difficult that must be when you're on the spot. Like I said, it's a matter of working on your confidence. The more confident you are, the less those situations will make you freeze.
 
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