Thursday, April 14, 2011

But How Do You Handle That Situation?

Dear Madame L, 

You and your commenter are so right about not making fun of other people
But what do you do when you're around someone who is making jokes about another person, or, even worse, making snide or snarky comments about them?
Is your reaction different depending on whether they're talking about a specific person vs. a whole group of people (for example, people of color, women, short people, tall people, people with other religious beliefs or values)?


Been There, Don't Know What To Do

Dear Uncomfortable,

Madame L is glad you asked that question. There are as many ways to handle this difficult situation as there individuals.

Madame L also has difficulty in these situations. She has tried a number of things:

---Replying firmly, "I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the church really doesn't teach that."
---Remaining silent. (This may seem like a cop-out, but sometimes it's all the speaker needs to hear his/her words reverberating in the embarrassed silence.)

---Walking away, quietly. (Again, not a cop-out, makes the speaker wonder what he/she said.)

---Walking away, muttering. (Not so good---makes Madame L look like she's sulking, doesn't give the speaker a chance to confront the issue, doesn't make for a teaching moment at all.)

---Saying, "I'm really sorry to hear that.  I know So-and-so is having a rough time, and maybe he/she could use our help."

---Saying, "I feel so uncomfortable right now. What are you planning to do next weekend?"

There are LOTS of ways to deal with such situations. 

Readers, Madame L would love to hear from you what you've done that has worked to silence unfriendly criticism or unkind laughter.


Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Several other approaches come to mind, including a sharp poke in the eye, followed by "What the HAILS rong wit' you?"

En serio, my preferred method is something I learned from a stake patriarch years ago: just quietly turn and walk away. You can care if you wish about what the ill-mannered person may be thinking to that move - but you should also care about your own spirit being degraded by your continuous presence.