When I talk to people, sometimes they will insult me, mock me or, make fun of me but I miss that this is what they are doing and laugh along with them. I do not do this all the time, I understand the obvious ones but from time to time more sneaky ones gets unnoticed. Sometimes I will realize after the fact or my wife will ask why I didn't say anything when they insulted me.

The problem is, this often happens when that conversation is long over and the topic is closed etc. Now, if I confront them, it is weird because I already laughed with them and said nothing when they insulted me. I often have trouble explaining the problem without them seeing me negatively or thinking that my wife put me up to it. When I do manage to get past this, then they will simply ignore it: "it is water under the bridge..." "Why so much trouble for a very little inconvenience? we will not do it again if you say so" etc.

I thought about changing the people. But it is not very plausible. Some of them are close family. I also seem to have this problem with enough people that it can't be solved by simply cutting a few people out of my life.


I miss the opportunity to address issues while they are happening. I later understand the issue and if I cannot ignore it, it starts to bug me and I want to open that topic again to handle it properly.


How can I bring up and old issue without making a fool of myself/creating an awkward situation?

Example Dialog:

Me: I just bought this watch. Did you like it?
Friend: Yes, it is cool. But did not they have a male version of it?
Me: This is already male version. Woman watches have smaller faces.
Friend: Ah my bad, it is very nice (while everyone laughing)
and conversation continues...

Note 1: This did not happen but I could not come up with an immediate example small enough to fit here. And this one covers the basic concept.

Note 2: In my country (like many others), if you call a man "woman/female/girly etc." it is an insult.

So, when I think about this conversation later, I figure out he meant to call me a woman and people were laughing at me. Not laughing him because he could not tell a man watch from a woman watch.

And usually I let this go. But if this bugs me too much, how can I open this topic again? My main problem with re-opening this issue is, I already kept talking to them as if nothing happened after the fact. Now returning back to that will be weird. I can imagine a number of possible ways it goes awkward:

(Option 1)

Me: Hey, there is something bugging me since last night. You have called me a woman when I showed you my new watch. It made me sad.
Friend: No, I did not say anything like that. I just asked a question. You are making up accusitions.

(Option 2)

Me: Hey, there is something bugging me since last night. You have called me a woman when I showed you my new watch. It made me sad.
Friend: So you wasted your whole night just for a word I even don't remember saying? Then why you did not tell me right then?

(Option 3)

Me: Hey, there is something bugging me since last night. You have called me a woman when I showed you my new watch. It made me sad.
Friend: I am sure your wife is provoking you. You were cool with that joke yesterday.

(Option 4)

Me: Hey, there is something bugging me since last night. You have called me a woman when I showed you my new watch. It made me sad.
Friend: Ok, I am sorry. Are you happy now?

So, all the ways I can think of to approach this fails miserably. Is there any way to make this not so weird?

(Sorry, this became a very long post but some explanation was requested.)

  • 2
    This is very broad and I also suggest to add a more descriptive title. What do you need help with excatly - telling them after the fact, that you feel insulted, detecting the insults immediately or telling them beforehand, that they should stop that behaviour etc.? Nov 7, 2017 at 10:40
  • 3
    As @AnneDaunted already commented, we would like to know explicitly what you would like to 'handle'. As it is now, it's very unclear what you would like our help with exactly.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 7, 2017 at 11:53
  • 1
    Is an [asperger] tag appropriate here, considering that the diagnosis is backed up only by an online test? Nov 7, 2017 at 12:26
  • @AnneDaunted if OP believes that he has asperger's, then we should proceed as if he does have it, although in reality it only is backed up by online test.
    – Vylix
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:00
  • This question (and one of the edit made on it) is being discussed on meta.
    – Ael
    Apr 4, 2019 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


To answer your question - "how can I handle this?" I would suggest that you may not need to, depending on how serious you perceive these insults to be.

Whether you have Aspergers or not, some people are just not very good at picking up on 'teasing'. It can depend on whether or not you were raised around siblings that poked fun at one another or insulted each other for a laugh. I myself was not raised that way, and I don't get that kind of joking around, but I have observed that some close friendships are based around constant teasing, sometimes even real insults. If it is this sort of behaviour you are seeing in others perhaps the real problem is not that you don't pick up on it, but that you don't really know how to join in and give it back? You said that some of these were family members - would family really insult you so as to hurt/upset you? I don't know your family, but possibly not - it could just be meant in fun and perhaps they expect to get a little bit back from you?

If on the other hand, after careful consideration, you are sure the insults are serious then are these people really your friends? If they are otherwise good friends and have shown themselves to be such then speak to them about how you feel. I wouldn't tell people you have Aspergers unless you had a diagnosis, but you should be able to tell true friends that you just don't like insults, even if they are meant in fun. But if you can do without these kind of 'friends', many will tell you that you don't need 'toxic' relationships in your life, and maybe you should get rid. But don't cut off true friends without a good reason! Hope this helps.

  • Thank you for the advices. I have added some more explanation to the question. I think I could not explain my question very well first time.
    – someone
    Nov 7, 2017 at 18:27
  • 2
    I have read your updated question and stand by my answer. In your fictitious example with the watch I feel like the initial comment (that it's a girl's watch) sounds to me like a friendly joke. If a friend of mine said that to me I'd laugh along with them. And if you were able to give a comeback like "unfortunately your mum bought the last man's watch in the shop" (I know, I know, I'm not going to make it on the stand-up circuit) then I think everybody would be laughing with you. I appreciate you don't feel able to pick up on that, but I don't think this is a 'bad friend'.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 9, 2017 at 13:57

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