How to Deal With Someone Who Makes Fun of You (+ Examples)

“My colleagues try to dominate me and make fun of me. And if I try to answer them they just laugh at me. I don’t know how to reply.”

“I got 3 roommates and I’m the butt of every damn joke. They’re all witty and I can’t seem to think of anything quickly and when I look at them I can’t think of a rebuttal. They make inside jokes, jokes that only work on me and they keep it on cycle every day and make new ones all the time.”

If you can relate to these quotes from our readers, this guide is for you.

There’s a difference between two friends joking and someone making fun of you or trying to dominate you. If you’re looking to get more respect in general, you should read my guide 18 tricks that make people respect you.

Here’s how to deal with someone who makes fun of you.

1. Don’t play it the way the bully wants to

  • Bully: “So what movies do you like, you know, except for dirty movies? Hahahaha”
  • You: “Haha, yeah right!” or “Shut up!” or “Haha, no I don’t!”
  • Bully: “I knew it! HAHAHA”

Do you see the problem with these kinds of replies? They all make it seem like the bully said something funny, even if it wasn’t. It’s also the exact type of reply they expect, which makes it more fun for them (but not for you).

So if you reply in this manner when you feel uncomfortable, you’re giving them exactly what they’re looking for.

Everyone around you will most likely chime in with the laughter. And it’s not because they don’t care about your feelings, they just don’t realize how bad you feel. And since the “funny one” got the response they were looking for, they’re more likely to do it again in the future.

But we don’t want to give them what they want.

2. Turn the joke on them

This is my favorite trick to deal with annoying people or people who feel like they need to be dominant. It’s effective and easy to use for beginners just starting to find their voice against the “funny guy/girl”.

Here’s the trick: Agree TOO MUCH with their stupid question or statement with a poker face.

Don’t laugh with them, don’t smile, just give them your answer with a straight face.

The reason this works is that your response will be the opposite of what they expect. They will either be at a loss for words or they will look like a complete idiot if they try to push the joke further.

When you respond this way, your irony will be obvious. Everyone will see your disapproval and will realize that what the “funny one” said wasn’t funny at all. And then it ends awkwardly for the bully because they will be the only one laughing.

Here’s an example of how you get the upper hand on the “funny guy/girl” by agreeing TOO MUCH:

  • Funny one: “So what movies do you like, you know, except for dirty movies? Hahahaha”
  • You: “Oh, you didn’t know? I only watch dirty movies.”
  • Funny one: “… well then.”

Again, avoid laughing or smiling while responding with something like that.

After that, you change the topic and continue talking as if nothing happened. If possible, ignore the “funny one” and any further attempts they make at the same kind of joke. Focus on someone else in the group and change the subject.

Being non-reactive while you “agree” makes your disapproval crystal clear to everyone.

You’re basically treating them like your irritating little brother. This shows that you do not tolerate bad behavior like that and gives you the upper hand.

3. Ignore the bully

The second technique is also very easy to use even if you’re not a witty quick thinker.

You can ignore the bully altogether. When you don’t give them any response, you take away their sense of gratification. That takes them out of the conversation and leaves them with no control over the situation.

Most who try to ignore someone fail because they still give away that they are annoyed.

So how do you actually ignore the bully?

  1. First off, don’t show any form of reaction. Act as if you never heard their comment at all.
  2. Then, continue the conversation from where it was before they made their rude comment. This is a cue to both the bully and the other people you’re talking to that you’re not tolerating that kind of behavior.
  3. It’s important to continue the conversation with someone else after you ignored the bully. Because otherwise, it’s not clear if you disapprove or just don’t know how to reply.
  4. If you blank out or don’t know how to reply, it’s better to use the previous technique of “agreeing TOO MUCH” with the bully.

To see how well this technique actually works, imagine this scenario, with Cary, a bully, and you:

– Cary: “Who’s joining me at the beach tomorrow? It’s supposed to be a gorgeous sunny day.”

– Bully: “Definitely not John – he’s too pale to be allowed to take his shirt off. He’ll blind you if you don’t have your sunglasses on!”

– And then you can respond like this: “Going to the beach sounds lovely. I’m free after 12 if that works for you?”

Do you see how your response makes the bully seem rude?

Ignoring someone like this makes it clear don’t tolerate their behavior. (And you don’t have to sink to their level or be rude or mean.)

Don’t make the mistake of looking angry at the bully or look annoyed. For this to work, you have to act like you truly didn’t hear what they said.

When you ignore the bully, they might even try harder to fit into the group.

So instead of making insulting jokes, they’re more likely to follow the vibe of the conversation.

If you ignore their comments long enough, there may be a chance that they’ll start playing nice to fit back in.

Another effect might be that the bully resigns from the group.

If you ignore someone long enough, it’s likely they will not even want to be a part of the group.

If we EFFECTIVELY ignore their comments for a long period of time, they’ll stop making comments.

4. Ask them what they mean

Sometimes you want a good comeback to make someone shut up when they make fun of you. This can be quite tricky when you blank out, or like me, come up with your reply first when it’s all over. (Read more about how to never be nervous around people over here.)

Here is a universal comeback phrase (that you can reply with in almost any situation):

– Interesting that you’d say that, how do you mean?

This one is good if you want to confront someone about what they said. It takes all the fun out of it for them when they have to explain themselves. And just like the method of “agreeing too much/ironically”, it doesn’t give them the response they expect.

If you want to be a bit wittier, here’s some inspiration on funny (and mean) comebacks.

5. Memorize comeback phrases and quotes

  1. Remember when I said you’re smart? I lied.
  2. If I wanted to kill myself, I’d climb your ego and jump to your IQ.
  3. You should eat some makeup. That way you’ll at least be pretty on the inside.
  4. Acting like a dick won’t make yours any bigger.
  5. It’s amazing how stupid people can be. Thank you for showing that to me.
  6. You’re about as useful as a raincoat in a desert.
  7. Your ass must be jealous of the shit coming from your mouth.
  8. Do you ever think about how your life would be if you grew up in a better family?
  9. You got all your life left to be a douchebag. Why not take the day off?
  10. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings when I called you dumb. I thought you knew.
  11. You’re cute when you open your mouth. You make funny noises when you try to sound cool.
  12. You know what? You always make me so happy……when you leave the group.
  13. Too bad you can’t use makeup on your personality.
  14. You know, I was pro-life before. Then I met you.

Use these phrases with caution, because in certain situations, they might backfire. When you use them, it’s important that you do it in a joking manner. Doing it jokingly will be just as effective as if you were to do it seriously, but you don’t risk starting a conflict or even a fight.

6. Identify if they are a toxic person

It’s important to know the difference between a real friend who makes a mistake and a fake friend or a bad/toxic person. A real friend is always worth a second shot, but you need to cut the bad ones out of your life.

Here are 6 common signs to help you see your “friend” in a better light. Can you relate to any of those behaviors?

  1. They do things without your permission and even if you don’t want to
  2. They try to make you feel guilty
  3. They lie and say untrue things to get the upper hand
  4. They are nice one-on-one, but they try to dominate you in groups with other people
  5. They ignore you and don’t listen to you
  6. They don’t apologize

I’ve written about 20 ways to tell fake friends from real friends over here.

7. Be frank and specific about what you don’t like

Here’s a more diplomatic route you can take if you value a relationship.

Keep in mind that this sentence works in any type of relationship where you are both motivated to get along.

It’s your responsibility to tell the bully how you feel if you want them to stop. They are at fault, but since they’re usually not aware of how their behavior affects you, you need to make them aware of it.

So when you’re alone with the person that’s causing you trouble, say something along these lines:

“Sometimes you say things that I don’t like.

One example is when you joked about my new sweater. I feel belittled when you make comments like that. It’s probably not what you had in mind, but I want you to know how that made me feel.”

There are a few tips I have that will help you get through to the person:

    • Don’t generalize. Don’t say something like “You always try to dominate me”. It would only make the person defensive and they would not understand what they’re doing wrong.
    • So instead, give a specific example. Since the person may not realize they’re doing it, it’s best to give them an exact instance of this happening.
    • Tell the person how YOU feel opposed to what THEY should do and not do, because no one can argue against the feelings you have, but they can argue what they should do and not do.
    • Saying something like “It’s probably not what you had in mind” shows you are trying to fix the situation.

I know that it takes courage to kind of open up to someone who’s causing you harm, but standing up for yourself will be worth it in the long run.

I’ve also written more here about how to get more respect from people around you.

8. Share your experience about being bullied

The trick is to share your experiences with others.

Doing this helps you feel better which will give you a mental edge the next time someone tries something on you.

Telling your friends, family, your therapist, or even sharing it here will show you’re not going through this alone. A trusted therapist can help you come up with good strategies on how to deal with bullies both practically and emotionally.

We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy, since they offer unlimited messaging and a weekly session, and is much cheaper than going to an actual therapist's office. They are also cheaper than Talkspace for what you get. You can learn more about BetterHelp here.

So the first step for you is this:

Comment below and share your experiences about dominating people or bullies. When you do, you’ll notice how the problem isn’t yours, but the bully’s.

Show references +

Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages Socialpro’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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  1. thank yall so much this gives me the inspiration i need to get those’s guys off my back. I really hope this works!

  2. There’s this one girl, i give her name A, this girl A said that I’m a bit skinny and pretty, she always praised me a lot, then there’s one more girl named B, whenever girl A said something to praised me girl B will always trying to deny?? ( I don’t know if this is the correct word)
    For example:
    A: you look a bit skinny these days, are you dieting
    B: she’s not actually skinny tho, I’ve seen her with skinny clothes and her fat is just…

    I’m actually an underweight at that time, it’s just my body that doesn’t really look like my weight
    (Sorry for bad grammar:’)

  3. These are good tips. However, I have tried the “ignore” option before and the person just piped up louder. What then? I probably did it wrong, though because my facial expressions are always so transparent.

  4. This guy who I teased and he teased me back went a little too far this one time. He said I had a mustache and it hurt my feelings. I kinda bullied him back because I didn’t know what to do but I almost cried.

  5. What do you do when my husband in gatherings, makes me the brunt of jokes/put downs which hurts my feelings. Years of telling him how this affects my feelings is to no avail, because she he just does not get it. 67 years married, the last 22 dealing with his stroke challenges. Why does a person who,does this and thinks it is funny at another’s expense not respect to stop this type of behavior.

  6. What usually happens to me is I hear my *friend* saying things to another person. And when I walk up and ask her about it, she always says, “Omg no! This was something that happened the other day!”(or something like that). I hope you didn’t think we were talking about you?! I would never!”
    And, Like u said, they were so sweet and fun to be around ~when it’s just the 2 of u. We shared things in our lives and some of the bad times. I told her about insecurities and things that happened and how awful and humiliating it made me feel. She was so sympathetic and couldn’t understand hire ppl can be like that.

    But then a couple days or so later, we’re with a big group of our buddies and she says stuff jokingly in a casual way. She knew I couldn’t call her out on it bc it – it would be even more humiliating.

    She did so many other things and it took a long time for me to see that’s who she really was. She was manipulative and was probably planning on using me, and doing whatever all that she could (by playing on my weaknesses) to watch me destroy myself and (my family in the process)until everything that mattered in my life was lost.
    Thankfully God opened my eyes & I had to stop giving in & forgiving her. I wanted to help her but I couldn’t destroy myself in the process.
    Looking back I wonder if that was behavior of a sociopath? I honestly believe she never once felt any type of regret or sorrow for me. I don’t think she ever cared or loved us either.
    I forgive her bc I believe she’s like this bc of the trauma from being neglected as an infant and continually got worse throughout her life. I hate that we’re not in each other’s lives. I still hurt for her and myself—- bc she’s my sister and I’ll never stop loving her!!!

  7. Marvin,
    I wonder if you’re able to update us on how you have been managing your work dynamic? Did your co-worker tone it down for you, did you feel a need to exit the situation/leave your job…?
    Was going to try to add a suggestion for you but realized it’s been quite a while since you posted.

  8. I am married woman with 2.5 year baby girl. From 4years of our marriage I am having same problem that my hubby don’t listen me at all,, even my worst guilt I shared with him many times he don’t even know about those. He just physically present and mentally absent in home.
    With me only he is like this, but with others he is interactive. We hardly get time to speak but whatever I talk he hardly listen and talk like he is talking to argue.
    Each time I share my feelings he just shout at me and bring unnecessary things. He never oppologise and and never tried to solve problem. Whatever happens if I try to talk and solve he just shout and make things worst.
    Even many times I tried to convince him to talk and solve our problem but he just always shout.
    Nowadays I feel scared to talk to him only. Situation went like that whatever I talk normally he is arguing unnecessary.
    Can any one suggest how to make him talk calmly and talk about our problems and solve.
    He is not at all interested in talking about problems I am having and make me feel happy.

    • Dear Jema, I have been where you are now and know how incredibly confusing and painful this is.
      I recommend you read The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans.
      It saved my life and helped me to understand what was going on in the relationship.
      Protect your child from growing up in such an unhealthy environment if you can. She is lucky to have you! Don’t waste all your time and energy trying to fix something that is not in your power to fix.
      All my best wishes! Lucy

    • I think you should just stay calm by yourself and explain your partner not to think about it like you do, with reasons.

    • You know… the ‘Do you ever wonder how much better you would be if you were raised in a better family?’ comeback might help. But if they go too far, compare your family member to them and degrade them at the same time. For eg-
      (When in a group of 3 or more)
      Bully: You know Sam’s brother is so dumb. He did not understand a single word I said.
      Sam: Idiot! That’s called ignoring someone who is a dick head not being dumb.
      (Mic drop, his ego drop, his prestige drop, BOOM)

    • maybe stand up to the person and tell them what they might be doing to your loved one and what it could cause them to think and feel

  9. I’m in secondary school, and I am cosplay I my free time cuz it’s fun, and I have an Instagram account for it. A boy in my class brought it up and started laughing about it, making fun of the account name and the stuff I post in there. He then showed it to a few of his friends and they laughed about it. He continued to talk about it like I wasn’t there and couldn’t hear every word of what he was saying. I changed the name of it and blocked him but I’m scared hes going to bring it up again when we next have a class near each other, and I think he has screenshots of it as well. It’s given a blow to my confidence really. I don’t really know how to respond. Whenever I try to come up with comebacks on the spot I fumble on my words way to easily, and if I try to ignore people making fun of me they keep going because my facial expression is the same most of the time, (it’s a school full of kids I can’t relate with and have many different interest and their personalities often clash with mine, and my resting face looks like I’m grumpy or sad) or maybe I’m overthinking it and they’ll grow out of it since we r only in yr 8 (12-13)

    • Keep in mind that EVERYONE is different. There is no black without white, no happiness without sadness, no darkness with light. Everyone has a role to play in life. Be confident that you are playing the role you need and want to play.

      There is nothing at all wrong with being different. There is always someone out there just like you too. If someone cannot appreciate you for you, then they are just immature still. If someone doesn’t like you or want to be friends with you, practice telling yourself that it’s okay. You don’t need everyone to like you or want to be friends with you.

      Nobody has energy to be friends with everyone. There are always going to be people that don’t like you for whatever reason. That’s ok, because you don’t need them to.

      If you enjoy something like cosplay, (which I think is really cool and imaginative, although I don’t do it myself) then do it and be happy doing it. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. There’s nothing wrong with it.

      I guarantee there are more kids than just you that like cosplay at school. Maybe the other kids are just too shy to express themselves that way like you have. Maybe the other kids just need to see your confidence so they can express themselves easier.

      That kid is also probably looking for attention. Kids in general do almost anything for attention. I bet you he doesn’t think Marvel or DC comics are weird…they dress up too. Don’t worry about his attention though. We all need friends, but don’t let him control what you do to have friends. Don’t let him control who you are.

    • say, “seriously? monkey is the best you could do?” Then she/he will be tempted to say something even worse. But considering that he/she is calling you a monkey in the first place goes to show that he/she doesn’t have any better roast to say, so i guess it would be safe. Then continue with something like, “Give me something better mama.” When he/she can’t think of anything, they will look like cake in the middle of a forest.

    • See if one comes.
      Actually, could try, “aw, that’s adorable. He’s trying to be clever. It’s actually the Ape you are confused with, perhaps you saw a picture and could understand the word Ape – it’s a tricky one – and figured it said monkey. And that was my ancestors”
      “yeah, and you still look like them”
      “oh dear, that was easier than i had expected. You still are one. That’s the reason you are stronger than me. I am a result of evolution.”
      “I know you…”
      “No don’t, you’re gonna start a rumour that you are dumber than a monkey. Besides you will drag me down to your level of stupidity, and beat me with experience. If you are considering hitting me, know this. Bullies are cowards. The biggest, strongest men, I’m talking physically, so you can relate, hate bullies, and would happily crush them. I am going to give you a chance right now to be my mate, and I will help you be liked and respected. Because that is what you want desperately. But you are going about it the wrong way man. Gentle giants get the chicks, man. Put me in your ape-shape, we would rule. Think about it, man, because eventually you are going to have to change.

  10. Great article. Especially #1 and #2, as I think I can train myself to do these. I may not be quick enough to remember the others in time. One question I have … does the person who makes fun of you really have insecurity issues? That is, is it true that only an internally insecure or non-confident person would actually try to make fun of another? People tell me this, and then say to ignore them or feel pity for them instead, but I find it hard to want to remain friends with someone who consistently makes fun of me and laughs at others too in the “just joking” way. I also find it hard to feel sorry for the bully.

  11. My boss and a Co worker make fun of the way I dress. I always dress very smart, stylish but with a bit of quirkiness. I’m very confident in my dress sense but these guys don’t let up. I can handle it infront of them but inside it makes me so hurt and angry and pushes me to want to retaliate with an awful comment back. I really don’t want to do that as I just end up feeling like I’ve fallen to their level. It would be easier as they dress awful and dull in my eyes but I would hate to hurt their feelings. What’s the best thing to do? I’ve had a private word with my boss and he knows I’m unhappy with it, he apologised and had a word with my Co worker and I thought it was sorted but it lasted only a week! Then back to the same old ridicule. Any ideas?

    • May be tell them if only you guys paid that much attention to the project, assignment or whatever you guys are working on, we would have made a lot more progress.

      Or say my dressing ense is at least better than both of yours combined.

      Or no reply but an extremely annoyed look.

  12. The awkward silence occured when there is a connection problem, or someone isn’t invested in the conversation, or there is an agenda. Two mature people, that don’t try and dominate, will never have an uncomfortable silence. Because they understand the art of conversation, and the joy of connecting without needing to bully, dominate, force an agenda.

  13. I think your idea of just asking him when you’re alone why he does it, is perfect, it is honest and fulfills the idea of expressing how you feel.
    Otherwise how about:
    “That would have been funnier if you had hair.” Or
    “Very funny, Mario brother.”
    But I agree with you that canned responses don’t always work so great. :p

  14. Yesterday I was at the airport picking up a friend. I was wearing a tie dye outfit, face shield and mask. A man without a mask stopped, pointed and laughed at me, not once but twice. It felt like an elementary school bully. As he walked away the second time, I made a comment, but no one heard. What do you do about something like this?

    • Just a thought, what if you pointed at him and laughed even louder? It’s hard to think of things at the time, and I always suddenly revert to childhood and a real fear of my dad. But nobody now can hurt me like he did then.

  15. My husband always hollers at me when I don’t do something right and then he says he doesn’t he talks down to me I try to take up for myself but it’s not working and sometimes when he’ll ask me a question and I give him the answer back he marked me and make fun of the way I talk I’m so tired of it can you help me!!

  16. I’ve learned regardless of where you go or who you associate with people are generally the same. “Friends”, co workers, everyone. The sad truth is society has an image of how you should look or act and when you’re not like them, you get no respect. It can really give you a complex mentally if you constantly think you’re not good enough to be accepted. Just remember to be yourself.. no matter what, you have a voice and you are important regardless of how others make you feel. People only use you to mask their own insecurities but, it doesn’t matter.

    • yesss i’ve been getting that from people, and i guess you can’t take their behaviour seriously because it’s like every small thing you do is considered ‘ ‘wow, soo rudee uh’ or ‘ i dont like herr..’

  17. I don’t exactly know why, but all my friends and people surrounding me just make fun off me every time whenever I try to say some thing, I have even tried to be quite still they make fun off me. No matter I say something or not everyone makes fun of me and whenever I try to defend myself everything ends up with a conflict. Its again that if i make fun of them everyone gets angry on me and more over expects that I shouldn’t feel bad when they make fun off me. I am totally disturbed due to such situations

    • So yes. I agree with all you are saying because I deal with it alot. I thought they were my friends but I found out I was really just their last option. Today I went to my sport and my “Friend” walked up to me and pointed to me laughing saying “What are you wearing, and why? It doesnt look good on you”. I the told her that ” Someday somebody needs to punch you in the face so you can learn a lesson.” My mom said that I should handle it a diffrent way. That’s how I ended up on here. I am sorry to hear about your friends. I deal with it from so many of my friends. It sucks.
      DO NOT GIVE THEM THE TIME OF DAY. As much as you “WANT” to hang out witht hem. DONT!! They need to think your busy or have friends besides them. Even if it means being alone in public. I know…It sucks.

  18. I am not dealing with a real bully I guess, just someone who doesn’t care and doesn’t respect me, making some nasty not funny remarks about me in jest or not even trying to be in jest. and still I don’t know what to do. I’ve asked to speak nicely but it’s not getting me anywhere. It’s not like we’re in a relationship or anything, but I feel I have what to gain from our friendship, it made me feel much better in life in the few weeks that I’ve known him, freer because he is chill, but that chill is costing me.. I don’t know how to get it back. it could be because I have deprecated him, gotten too close with my remarks.. so I will try to never put him down, and treat him well, and not too personal, so he won’t feel too free with me.. I guess. I hope that’ll work. not be too sweet and not too sour

  19. Viktor, thank you for your wise words. I apologize if this offends anyone. I learned early on that I needed some ammunition having been raised by a mother who constantly belittled me and told me that I would never amount to anything. Thus, I developed an insane, off-the-wall sense of humor. Your snappy comebacks resonated with me so I took the liberty of adding a few of my own. Sometimes I can think on my feet and zap the bully right away. Sometimes not. Memorizing some of these helps; however, my motto to my students when I was teaching was, “Adapt & Modify,” according to the situation. Below is my offering. (Note: I stole the first one from Better Call Saul).

    15. Q: What do they call 100 property managers buried up to their necks in cement? A: Not enough cement. (change profession, as appropriate).

    16. You’re as useful as a screen door in a submarine; or, you’re as funny as a pay toilet in a diarrhea ward.

    17. Class action suit! Proof of brain damage from drinking the water in [town name].

    18. I want to invite you over to see my new woodchipper.

    19. You could be right, but that’s OK—I don’t like you anyway!

    20. I baked some cookies for you. They are perfectly safe—I promise.

  20. There was a time when I didn’t wear spects properly. The teacher has pointed that in funny way. The class was laughed.
    After many years me and my frnds were talking about our college days.One of the friend reminded that once sir told me about spects to all my frnds… Again they have laughed.
    I didn’t like that one.


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