How Do You Deal with Name Calling?
How to Deal With People Calling You Skinny
Getting teased about being skinny can be very hurtful. Comments or insults about our outward appearance are provocative, emotional, and impolite, even when the one saying it may consider it a joke or a bit of fun teasing. Some cultures think it’s acceptable and normal to comment on someone’s appearance or weight, while others do not. Finding a healthy way to deal with body size-shaming is the best method for setting boundaries and keeping the comments from escalating into bullying.
Responding to Comments
Stay calm.Although it’s tempting to return the taunts, try to rise about the temptation. Returning taunts with insults of your own will only serve to escalate the situation. Do your best to remain calm.
- It can be helpful to count to 10 when you hear a comment about your body or weight. This can give you a moment to think and avoid snapping.
- Consider three things when you hear what is perceived as a negative comment. Is the comment true? Who made the comment? Why would they make this comment?Some people may put others down due to their own insecurities. However, if the comment came from a friend or family member they may be genuinely concerned about your weight and coming from a place of support. Understanding the reasons behind a comment can taper some of the anger you may feel in regards to it.
- Consider the person behind the comment. Is this person often negative? If so, try to let it go. Their comments reflect their own problems, not yours.
Think of a variety of responses.It can be hard not to lash out in frustration when getting comments about your weight. It might be helpful to think of a variety of witty comments to use in response when someone calls you skinny.
- You can make quick, somewhat factual comments to combat rude remarks about your weight. If someone says something like, "How do you stay so thin?" or "How can you eat that and not gain weight?" respond with something like, "Everyone's metabolism is different" or "It's just the way my body works."
- You can also respond to a comment with a question. This can call attention to the inappropriate nature of such comments. For example, if someone says "You are so skinny!" say something like, "Why does that matter to you?" or "Why do you need to comment on that?" Vague, open-ended questions can also be helpful. Respond with something like, "Why do so many people put value on appearance?"
Respond with humor.The person teasing you will not expect this response, but it will certainly disarm them. It shows you are confident and uninterested in their impolite and unwanted insults.
- You may feel unable to be funny on cue. Many people struggle with thinking of humorous comments in the moment. It can help to write down a list of the most common comments you get on your weight and spend some time thinking up funny responses.
- It can be helpful to exaggerate the insult or comment to call attention to its inappropriate nature of the comment. If someone says something mean about your weight, say sarcastically, "Wow, if you think my appearance is bad it's a shame you're not taking time to get to know my personality. That would give you some great material."
Ignore the comments.Sometimes, the best way to respond to unwanted comments is simply by disengaging. Try your best to ignore comments about your weight.
- While it may be difficult, try not to take offense at insults. People who want to make you uncomfortable or feel bad thrive on your response. Ignoring comments will make them realize they're not getting the reaction they want. It shows you're more powerful than the aggressor.
- If someone continues to make aggressive comments to you even as you ignore them, remove yourself from the situation. This is sometimes the best way to deal with teasing. Simply leave the room or environment to show the teaser you do not find their comments to be acceptable.
Find effective ways to deal with comments online.Teasing can sometimes get out of hand in social media forums. People may feel more bold in their teasing when it’s not face-to-face. This kind of “cyberbullying” needs to be addressed.
- Don’t respond in any way to the teasing and comments. Engaging with bullies online only encourages their venom.
- Use the block functions of your social media outlets and email to stop future comments and get rid of aggressors.
- Keep examples of the online teasing as a screenshot or email in case you need to show someone as evidence. In rare cases, cyberbullying gets intense enough that it requires police intervention.
Treat your body with respect.We are constantly reminded by other people and the media how we are supposed to look. It can be difficult to ignore, especially if we feel any discomfort with our outward appearance. Try to respect yourself and your body in your day-to-day life to combat feelings of shame or insecurity.
- Speak about your body in positive terms. When thinking about your body, try to think in terms of the positives. Avoid using words like "bony" or "frail" to describe your frame. Reach for more positive words like "lean" and "thin."
- Wear comfortable clothing that you feel confident in. If you're feeling particularly down about your body, adding a few items to your wardrobe can help combat negativity.
- Cuddle with your significant other, make an appointment with a masseuse, or engage in other sensual activities. Allowing your body to feel pleasure can help you appreciate it more.
Appreciate your body.In order to feel better about your body, you need to focus on the positives. Spend time each day praising your body for what it does right.
- What is something you like about your body? Do you love your hair, your hips, your shoulders, your teeth? Try to focus on those areas each day.
- What is something your body does well? Do you feel like you're good at a particular sport? Are you flexible? Do you have high stamina? Learn to appreciate what your body can do rather than focusing on what it cannot do.
- How does your body give you pleasure? What are things you enjoy on a sensual level? Focus on and appreciate your body's capacity for pleasure and joy.
Exercise and train to feel more confident.For some, regular exercise can help build confidence. Engaging in an enjoyable physical activity a few times a week can help you appreciate your body and its capacity for strength, stamina, and fitness.
- Talk to a doctor before beginning any new workout routine. You want to make sure you don't overdo exercising.
- Some exercises, like yoga, focus on a connection with the body and the present moment. These can be particularly helpful when it comes to body acceptance.
Keep in mind you're more than your body.Do not get too hung up on your physical appearance. Focus on your positive personality traits. Others may think you're too skinny, but remember you're also funny, kind, generous, hardworking, etc. Try to look at yourself as loved ones would look at you. If someone else was in your shoes, wouldn't you tell them to focus on what's inside? You deserve that same courtesy.
Seeking Outside Help
Seek support from friends and family.If you're being bullied about your weight, it’s essential not to keep it to yourself. Feeling alone and unsupported makes the experience even worse.
- If you're still in school, find a trusted adult to talk to. Most adults have faced teasing at some point in their lives and can help you cope with negative feelings. An adult can also help you formulate an appropriate response for a bully.
- You should also seek out the support of trusted friends. Friends can help you cope with unwanted comments about your weight by letting you vent your feelings.
Report the bully to your teacher and school authorities.If you experience the endless teasing at school, you should report this to teachers and others in charge. By reporting the bully, you not only prevent them from hurting other people in the future, but you help your school create a safe environment where bullying is not accepted. It's very important that school officials address bullying as it can lead to serious emotional and psychiatric issues down the road
See a therapist, if necessary.If comments about your weight are affecting you emotionally, consider seeing a therapist. Continual unwanted attention can lead to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. You can find a therapist by asking your regular physician for a referral or going through your insurance provider. If you are a college student, you may be entitled to free counseling through your school.
- If you are not eating enough, constantly feel disinterested in food, or otherwise feel ill in relation to eating and food, you may have an eating disorder. Please talk to an adult or doctor.
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