I write a social confidence newsletter which currently has over 10.000 subscribers. One frequent question I get from subscribers is: “What are some good comebacks to use when someone makes fun of you?”
This question reminds me of my days in middle school and part of high school when me and my peers used to constantly tease each other and we would always try to have really good comebacks to what the other person said. It was a permanent battle of comments and I was pretty lousy at it.
So when I receive this question about good comebacks, I assume it’s from some 13-year old who’s in an environment with a bit too much testosterone, where putting other people down is a way to feel powerful or achieve some form of status.
Many times, this is the case. But equally often, the question comes from a full-grown adult who is dealing with teasing or denigration from others and still doesn’t know how to handle it. I guess some things never change.
So, whether you’re a teen or an adult, I want to address this issue and give you the tools to handle such situations.
Good Comebacks for What?
I know you think that what you need is some clever comebacks. If someone could give you some very witty lines that you can use in every situation, you’d always come out on top and you’d show those people who make fun of you.
But that’s not what I’m gonna do.
Because, no matter your age, this game of who-has-the-cleverest-comebacks is silly. It’s a strenuous clash that goes on relentlessly and nobody truly wins. Sure, it can be fun sometimes, but it’s not regularly.
This is why the best advice I can give you is to not engage in these battles of comments. If you engage, you just add fuel to the fire. As a rule, when a person makes fun of you, focus on disarming the situation rather than making fun of them back. It’s much simpler and it yields much better results.
Coming from this perspective, good comebacks are not aggressive or derogatory. Rather, they reflect a disinterest in playing this game, and not because of fear or shyness, but because you don’t find it worth your time.
Today, my most common reaction when someone makes a joke about me is to make some lazy statement in response like: “Yeah man, whatever” or “You don’t say?”
And if they ask me a sarcastic question, I just give a ridiculous answer that shows I’m not taking it seriously. Like, if they ask me: “Why are you so thin?” I might answer something like “I’m going for the world record for slenderness.”
Interestingly enough, if a person makes fun of me once, they usually never do it again. Or they then do it rarely, and in a gracious manner.
One thing I’ve learned quickly is that trying to find slick comeback lines and using them robotically is the wrong approach. What is the right approach?
The right approach is to gauge your social confidence level in situations where others make fun of you. Because if you have confidence and a good self-image, I promise you that you will create just the right effect.
You’ll naturally come up with good comebacks, you’ll always have something effective to say and you’ll deliver your lines with such poise that others will not want to mess with you.
The fact of the matter is that most people who wonder about good comebacks they can use are pretty insecure and they approach social situations in a weak, defensive way. And this is the real problem.
If this is you, the best thing you can do is work on building your social confidence. The rest will take care of itself.
Now, since this is a different topic altogether, I address is separately in this special presentation. Make sure to watch it, and you’ll learn not only what makes you lack social confidence, but also how to develop it.
I’ve gone from being very insecure to feeling at ease in social situations myself. And now, the very idea of trying to find good comebacks and memorize them for future use makes me laugh.
But I understand where you’re coming from. It’s just that a couple of clever lines will only give you a temporary fix, and even that one will only work occasionally. The real solution lies in building real social confidence. Make this your priority.
Image courtesy of World Series Boxing