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What do you do when people make fun of you? Part 2


Part 2: What do you do when people make fun of you and there’s a temptation to say something?—Picked On, 15, MD

Shayna Answers:

Dear Picked On,

Last week we said that Proverbs 18:21 and Psalm 109:17 warn us against using  negative, hurtful words. We also said that if you have a bad temper, walking away or forcing yourself not to respond might be the right course of action. Because it’s important to find an outlet for your feelings, we said journaling, physical exercise, weight training, and listening to music were a few options for getting rid of your initial aggression.

This week we’ll talk about what to do if, instead of feeling angry, you’re afraid to stand up for yourself.

Remember that when someone is making fun of you, usually it’s not because there’s something wrong with you; it’s because there’s something right with you. We all have attractive qualities that other people notice, but because of their own issues or experiences, they may respond by rejecting us!

Because every meeting we have is an opportunity to lead someone to Christ, it’s important to remember this and to be confident that sometimes you should say something. Although it’s tempting to respond as arrogantly as your aggressor, doing so only reinforces their belief that taunting you will make you stoop to their level. Responding in a completely unexpected way, either by calling their bluff or refusing to get angry at them, will get to the real reason for their teasing.

You’ll probably be surprised  why you’re a target. You might hear something along these lines: “I don’t understand how you can always look so happy” or “How can you be so nice all the time?”

Once the person opens up to you, this gives you the opportunity to befriend them. Eventually you’ll be able to share how your faith influences who you are.

For overbearing, accusative, and abrupt people, strongly stating your position and standing up to them is the best tactic for breaking down their walls. It’s important that they know you’re listening, but you have to maintain eye contact and be confident. Maybe you’ll say something like this: “I completely disagree with what you said. Stop pushing your views on me.”

In contrast, if you’re dealing with a passive-aggressive person who uses negative comments in a sarcastic tone of voice, you may need to call their bluff with direct statements. But because they are also sensitive, you need to offer peaceful solutions. Maybe say: “Do you always have to be so negative? We can get along if you’re willing to overlook our flaws.”

You need to give people who explode into sudden tantrums time to regain their self-control before you try talking to them. When they’ve cooled off, talk to them one-on-one instead of in a crowd, because their personalities are driven by the attention they receive, and you don’t want to create a scene.*

Most important, you should pray for yourself and for the person teasing you before you say anything.

Isaiah 51:16 reminds us that God will put His words in our mouth. So, even though it’s important to know good tactics to use, it’s ultimately up to God to change the aggressor’s heart and to help you know what to say.

God never intended for His people to be doormats. So don’t ever be afraid to stand up for yourself. Just to do it in a way that honors the God you serve.

*Shelly Fickau, Department of Residential Life training session, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, 2004.

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