I had a look at that excellent earlier question, but think that these two questions are too different from each other.
It's about a group of friendly acquaintances and friends who have known each other for a few years already. We were sitting together and talking about clothes, certain dresses in particular. No man was involved in the conversation. "Eve" laughingly said:
I couldn't wear dresses like that with my small breasts. (The expression she used was actually a bit more colloquial than that and put it more forcefully and she also made a gesture with her hands).
After that, everyone kept silent for a short while and then the conversation resumed but followed another thread.
She is in her 20's. We have known each other for a few years already. She doesn't completely conform to the Western beauty ideal (but in my opinion, she is quite pretty in her own right). Her observation was correct, and her laugh gave me the impression that she was (also) trying to soften it a bit. And I know that she is dissatisfied with her body.
How do you respond when someone makes a self-deprecating remark about her looks?
My goal is to avoid an awkward situation from arising and to make Eve feel comfortable.
She could have just skipped it and I admire her for being so brave to make such a (joking, but true) comment, so I wouldn't want the reaction to somehow "punish" her for that.
Awkward silence may make her feel as if she killed the mood, but her comment also left her vulnerable. That's my dilemma.
I also considered that Eve may have wanted to shut down the conversation this way. I didn't feel that this was her goal back then and also don't think that it removes the problem of how to respond in that situation. That's also not something she usually does.
To avoid misunderstandings:
- This conversation was not out of place. Such conversations are quite common among us. Also opening up and talking about one's feelings / problems. Self-deprecating comments are quite rare, though.
- Eve didn't use offensive language, so that was not the problem. It was not extraordinary in that respect.