Trial Attorney Shares 3 Perfect Responses To Someone Who Says 'I Was Just Joking'

Rude behavior masked as a joke is hurtful. You don't have to let it go unchecked, but be smart about how you respond.

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You're having a great time at a family outing, chatting with your favorite cousins, when a not-so-favorite family member jumps into the conversation.

They begin with a few passive-aggressive comments and then start dropping jokes at your expense.

And let's face it, these comments are not funny and you may begin to feel embarrassed or teary-eyed about them. Deep down inside, you know snapping back won't help, but what else can you do?


Trial Attorney Jefferson Fisher shares his top three tips for responding when someone makes a joke at your expense.

3 Perfect Responses To Someone Who Says, "I Was Just Joking"

1. "Then be funnier."

If someone tries to make a joke at your expense, tell them, "Then be funnier," says Fisher.


What you're saying is that their joke didn't land well and was not in good humor. You're also calling them out on their bad behavior, which can be intimidating for the other person.

Moreover, when you tell someone to "be funnier," you're basically saying, "Try cracking an actual joke instead of being rude."

Caught off guard, they might start stumbling over their words, apologizing for their offensive joke. This is great for you; as you can now stand up for yourself and correct their behavior in the process.

RELATED: Trial Attorney Shares 3 Things To Say When Someone Is Rude To You

2. "I'm surprised by that."

"Now this is a complete power flip," explains Fisher, because once you say this, their immediate reaction will be to start questioning what you meant.


So, when you respond with, "I'm surprised by that" and they begin asking questions, respond with, "I was just surprised by that." They'll likely keep responding with, "What were you surprised by," in which you can finally say, "I'm just surprised you went with that."

This is the ultimate power move, in which you're the confident one in the conversation while they're left feeling unsure and having to ask questions to clarify.

RELATED: 20 Perfect Comebacks For Dealing With Condescending People

3. "It doesn't sound like a joke, it sounds like an issue."

The best comeback for a rude comment is, "It doesn't sound like a joke; it sounds like an issue," says Fisher.


If you decide to use this comeback, be sure to remain silent afterwards. Allow them time to process your comment and respond

Fisher explains, "Once you've called them out they're either going to acknowledge and own up to how they're truly feeling or they're gonna start backpedaling, realizing they've made a mistake."

Moreover, staying silent can help you figure out what their intentions are and give you the upper hand in taking back control.

It's always uncomfortable when someone tries to tear you down under the guise of "just joking around." It can be frustrating or, at worst, humiliating and degrading.


But knowing how to respond in these moments can empower you and help change the dynamic.

It also teaches you how to call someone out without allowing them to further manipulate the situation to their advantage.

So, next time you find yourself in this situation, try using these three tips and watch how quickly they fold.


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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.