I am an outgoing person. I have no problem interacting with people and making friends, nor do I have an ego problem. But I have recently noticed that sometimes when I am just hanging out with family or friends and everyone is in a good mood, someone would joke to someone in a way that is obviously hurtful to that person. I have been on the receiving end too. Not all of them, but some of them, say things that can't be immediately fixed right away (sometimes not at all).
The thing is.. I always try to be respectful even with my closest friends/family and consciously make an effort to not say something that would embarrass them. Some examples of what I am talking about would be if someone jokes about:
- your physical appearance
- the way you talk
- making fun of your age (oh you are not married yet? wow, when will you get married? at 90? do you wanna die alone?)
- if someone is poor, making fun of their financial situation
- if someone is short, joking about their height
- making fun of someone's race (where I live this is normal and not considered a big political issue)
The problem is.. people who do this are most of the time your close friends and family, who you have to meet and interact with. And when you try to politely tell them that what they said was hurtful, they just brush it off saying
I was just kidding. Stop being so serious.
What I have experienced when you confront someone about this type of behavior is that they, in turn, start acting like you hurt them.
So my question is: when you are being made fun of by people like this, how can you let them know that this certain issue is sensitive to you and you would like them to not joke about it, without turning it into an argument?
I never ever confronted anyone in public. I know that would embarrass them in return and that is the exact opposite of what I want. I always talk about it with the person when it's just me and them and we are in a relaxed mood. I don't interfere when it happens with other people except try to divert the conversation to something else.
But when it happens to me, I either ignore it, or I do sometimes mention it to the person in private. Like:
Remember that you said this the other day, I understand that you didn't mean it but it hurt me and also now others make fun of it too. So please be considerate in the future. I will appreciate it
In return, I get advised to grow a thick skin and that I am too sensitive.