What You Should Say to People Who Crack Stupid Jokes about You and At Your Expense That Will Shut Them Up

November 27th, 2020

Have you ever had someone crack a lame or stupid joke about you, maybe even one that others joined in with their laughter?

If so, how did you react to it? Did you just remain silent and “take it,” meanwhile everyone else laughed along at your expense, if you were in a group? Or did you meekly laugh along with it, even though you resented it, all because you wanted to fit in and not rock the boat or upset anyone by protesting? Or did you even go to the extreme, show signs of irritation (which just made it more satisfying for the joke-teller) and lose your composure over it?

Let’s face it, don’t sometimes people tell dumb jokes at our expense, all because they think they’re being funny or clever, but meanwhile they’re either useless or even demeaning?

How do we communicate our disapproval, but do it in such a way that we have control of the situation? How do we do it in such a way that the joke-teller is put to shame and the gleeful, sadistic smile is wiped off their face?

Perhaps we should first talk a little about the motives of people who crack stupid jokes about us. Why do they do it? What do they hope to get out of or from the situation?

If you explore these questions, you’ll probably reach two conclusions...

One of the reasons people crack stupid jokes about others is because they want to get a rise out of them -- they want to get a reaction so they can gloat over the person for losing their cool and getting upset.

Aren’t these generally the bullies of the world? You know, the people who get a kick out of making fun of others because it makes them feel better about themselves and their own miseries and insecurities?

Certainly we’ve all met people like this, people who feel they have little control over themselves and their own lives that they want to see others lose control of themselves too by belittling them, so they don’t have to feel so alone in their undesirable circumstances, haven’t we?

And yet another reason people crack stupid jokes is because they want to win the approval of others and fit in. I mean, haven’t we all witnessed people tell lame jokes in a group setting where one person is the brunt of the joke, all in hopes of getting the laughter and approval of the others?

But both of these motives are unrespectable, and the people should be admonished for telling useless jokes because of them. In the bully’s case, isn’t making jokes at someone else’s expense to relieve their own unworthy feelings about themselves a selfish and despicable thing? And in the approval seeker’s case, isn’t acting in ways just to try to impress others, again, at someone else’s expense, also a selfish and unadmirable thing to do?

Shouldn’t people behaving in these ways be reprimanded and discouraged, and even disciplined in a manner of speaking, especially in a group setting where there are greater social dynamics at play?

So how do you do this? What do you say or do when people crack lame jokes about you -- or others, if you want to stand up for them? And how do you do it in a way where the joke teller no longer feels like they have the upper hand in the situation?

Would you believe it takes just one word?

That’s right -- just one word.

And that word is:


Said in a dry, toneless voice.

Whenever someone cracks a stupid joke about you, just say “Funny” in a humorless, unanimated voice that denotes you’re unimpressed and that you clearly disapprove of them. If you do it right, what you’re actually communicating, of course, is: “You’re not funny,” and they’ll pick up on the true message unconsciously if not consciously.

Remember, in both cases, what the joke teller hopes to get from their stupid jokes is approval and affirmation for their own worth, and at your expense. So don’t give it to them. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Instead, give them the exact opposite of what they want as a way of “punishing” them for their bad behavior.

This will send them a strong message that jokes at your expense (or anyone else in the group) is unacceptable behavior. Bullying and approval-seeking are off the table.

Of course, I’m not talking about good-humored, playful teasing here, which can be enjoyable and a lot of fun -- but jokes that are meant to demean and undermine others to clutch at a higher social rank in the interaction. Those need to be punished, especially if you want people to respect you -- and how do you get people to respect you?

You communicate your boundaries. You communicate when certain behaviors are unacceptable to you. And in the case of stupid jokes, an effective way of doing that is to, in a colorless voice, say:



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