Author Topic: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion  (Read 5715 times)

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MommySloth

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Re: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2013, 01:53:22 PM »
I am terrible with situations like this, but compared to me my husband is pretty much a master. I've heard him use almost all the suggested phrases on my sister, who is a rude bore if I ever met one; the one he uses most often is something along the lines of, "Gosh, I'm sorry, I was sure you knew I was joking." She pretty much just has a silent fit after that because it shuts her down so completely. So, just tossing in my two cents, I've seen these used and they work!

TootsNYC

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Re: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion
« Reply #46 on: December 05, 2013, 02:01:06 PM »
Your husband's apology is really brilliant--it so clearly puts him on the superior/powerful side of that equation, but without any nastiness at all! Just so smart.

PrettySticks

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Re: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion
« Reply #47 on: December 05, 2013, 05:44:55 PM »
This reminds me of last Christmas Eve - my parents and my older brother and I were eating dinner, when my brother's dog sprints into the dining room apparently for no reason.  My brother said the dog heard him drop his fork on his plate - the dog could hear this from several rooms away and would come running because he thought the meal was over and it was time for him to get leftovers.  So I said in a high, dramatic, purposefully over-the-top voice "Gosh, that's almost Pavlovian!"  My mom laughs, and my brother stares at me for a split second before getting the joke and (quite good-naturedly) calling me a dork.  But my dad, oh my dad, he says, "Almost Pavlovian?" And I say "It was a joke, Dad."  "But it's not almost Pavlovian, that's actually what a Pavlovian response is." "That's... why it was a joke."  Then we change the subject, but ten minutes later, apropos of nothing, my dad says very seriously, "You know, PrettySticks, I find it very disconcerting that you would throw around a word like Pavlovian without having any idea about its origins.  You really should be more careful about the way you speak."  And again I have to tell him it was a joke, but by the third time you've explained a joke, it's pretty much no longer a joke.  So I had to tell him everything I knew about Ivan Pavlov and his conditioning experiments.  (Which was not insignificant, as I'd written a research paper about him in college - not a thesis or anything, just a term paper for Intro to Psych - but still, I'd read a fair bit about the guy.)  And the kicker is, it's not like I thought the initial statement was all THAT funny, certainly not worth all the defense I ended up putting into it!

gen xer

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Re: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion
« Reply #48 on: December 05, 2013, 09:07:56 PM »

I hate having to explain a joke.  I remember a few years ago getting involved in a discussion about Facebook and how it is used with my in-laws.  MIL is a bit of a nervous sort and was worried ( and yes - her concerns were legitimate - I am not trying to dismiss them ) about identity theft etc.

I jokingly asked ( when will I learn???? ) if that meant I shouldn't put my credit card number on my wall....and she took me seriously. 

There must be something wrong with my timing or delivery!

Need to Change

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Re: Responding to a belittling comment without blowing it out of proportion
« Reply #49 on: December 05, 2013, 11:00:07 PM »
"It was just a joke" should work, but I've had it backfire on me with two people.  One was offended by the whole concept of joking (which I hadn't known before), and the other was truly, deeply offended by G-Rated husband/wife jokes -- basically, the same way I'd feel about a racial slur.

In both cases, I sincerely apologized for causing offense -- because I had indeed caused serious offense, even if 99.8% of people wouldn't take it that way -- and I promised never to do it again (meaning, in their presence).   And I meant it, both times.  It was the only way to let the issue rest.