How to respond to I was only kidding

We’ve all experienced someone saying “Just kidding”, after a mean comment. 

It could be a friend, a family member, somebody at work, and you know they don’t have your best interests at heart. 

You get that funny feeling in your stomach because you know the person meant it in an unkind way. 

And when you look at them in shock after the cruel remark they say, “just kidding!” It’s a passive-aggressive tactic being used so that you can’t call them out on it.

Rude insults leave people feeling terrible. Being insulted with digs, and niggly comments and being unable to defend yourself is frustrating. Often the trouble maker will do it in public in front of others.


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Urban Dictionary defines just kidding as, “Used by someone as a way to soften a direct insult by saying it was just a joke, although the person doing the insulting still means the insult after the Just kidding!” 

When you call the person out for their nasty behaviour they may try and reprimand you and say that “you are too sensitive.”

I’m going to give you something that you can say in front of others so that you can call attention to the person’s rude remark and they will be less likely to insult you again any time soon.

Best comebacks when someone say to just joking or I was kidding after a mean remark

1. If that’s your sense of humour you should prepare to get cancelled pretty soon.

2. Wow, did you mean to be so rude?

3. That is is not at all funny, that’s just rude.

4. Wow, that is a reallly unkind thing to say!

In our, Verbal Self Defense Made Easy bundle, we have a cheat sheet, with a huge list of things that you can say to friends and family who make snide comments.

And if you know that someone has a habit of doing this, be prepared. 

These little digs and nasty comments chip away at your soul, and it’s even worse when it’s from a supposed good friend or family member. 

When you have someone doing this to you publicly, others may think it is fair game to gang up on you, join in or make derogatory remarks. It’s best to nip it in the bud and get the person to stop right away.

If you have kids they are modeling you as to what they consider to be acceptable behaviour. It is not okay for your children to see you being repeatedly put down.

You deserve better. 

I’m here to tell you that and you have the right to say something back and tell the person to stop.

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When you are dealing with a person who insults you and says just kidding and you find it stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counselor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home. 

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

Do you have a tip for dealing with people who say, “just kidding” that you think people should know about? Leave it in the comments below.

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