After my first and only car accident when I was in high school I was physically hurt, embarrassed because it was my fault, scared about the legal and financial consequences I was facing, and worried about everyone involved (fortunately, no one was seriously hurt).
This classmate who was just an acquaintance greeted me with a big smile at the school yard: “Hey, I heard you had a car accident!” and started laughing and repeating the details she heard through the grapevine, barely able to contain her laughter. Between bouts of laughter, she managed to insult me to my face, calling me an idiot for causing the accident. How could I possibly did what I did, wasn’t I paying attention? And so on.
I think she was probably expecting that I would laugh with her out of humiliation and hang my head down. Or if I had reacted with anger she would have accused me of having no sense of humor. The perfect PA technique, although at the time I wouldn't have known how to call it.
Instead, I gave her a long, blank stare, straight in her eyes, with no emotion whatsoever, and let her speak and laugh by herself... as in “I’m letting you listen to yourself until you realize how absurd you sound”… I could tell when her smile started to fade and she was the one who ended up looking a bit humiliated.
Just wanted to share this story and ask: have you ever used silence to successfully stun one of those people who insult you to your face in a "joking", "playful" manner?