If ignoring cruel comments or teasing doesn’t work, or you don’t feel like being silent, try a few snappy comebacks. Sometimes this can cause it to ‘escalate’ or get worse because they enjoy the reaction or want to crush your resistance to seem more powerful. But it shows that you’re not just going to take it, and can be really satisfying. Use your own judgement. Sometimes a secretive smile or rolling your eyes or laughing at them (not with them!) can be just as effective.

There’s heaps more suggested things to say in the section called ‘Responding to Horrible Comments’ in Chapter 8, Confidence. That chapter also has heaps of hints on feeling stronger and raising your self-esteem.

You can come up with your own snappy replies to mean comments, and practise so you can deliver them easily. If you can raise one eyebrow, or say ‘Wow’ with a level stare, practise that, too. Here’s some sample snappy comebacks:

They say: ‘Can’t you take a joke?’
You say: ‘Can’t you stop being mean?’

‘It was just a joke.’
‘If that’s a joke you’ll never get a comedy gig’ or ‘That wasn’t a joke, that was an insult in a bad disguise.’

‘You need to toughen up.’
‘I don’t think I should have to change just because you want to say more mean stuff to me.’

‘You’re too sensitive.’
‘I’m not oversensitive, I’m just over it.’

‘I’m just telling you the truth’
‘No, you’re just being mean.’

‘Friends tell each other the truth and I’m your friend’
‘Wow. It doesn’t sound like friendship to me.’

‘Well, it’s true.’
‘Saying it’s true doesn’t make it true.’

‘I’m just saying . . .’
‘Have you tried thinking before you do that?’


Copyright Kaz Cooke, from Girl Stuff.

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