The feeling of being criticized and having someone laugh behind your back is quite common and an irritating fear. But you don't need to be upset if others are secretly antagonizing you. Analyze the situation critically and if you feel that others are making fun of you, take action to improve your self-confidence and remove these negative influences from your life. By assessing the situation, confronting people directly, and focusing on developing positive relationships, you can learn to deal positively with whoever is laughing behind your back.
Method 1 of 3: Assessing the Situation
Step 1. See if they're really laughing
If you think someone is laughing at you behind your back, stop and take stock of the situation. Analyze what you know to see if this person is actually making fun of you.
- Ask yourself if you've done something new or something that has recently attracted attention. Good news or good performance inspires people to laugh like you instead of laughing from you.
- Look at the situation. If you hear laughter nearby, it might not have anything to do with you. A person might be watching a funny video on their cell phone, or they might have seen something funny happening behind you. Scan your environment for other sources of laughter.
- Think of any predisposition you have to think people are making fun of you. Do you have social anxiety? Have others treated you like that in the past? Assess your concerns well and see if they arise from facts and observations rather than unfounded suspicions.
Step 2. Look at who is laughing
Take a look at the person and decide if they are the type you want in your life.
- If you think your friend or co-worker is laughing at you, ask yourself, "Do I really want to have a close relationship with this type of person?" If the answer is no, you can end the friendship.
- If you notice that the person laughing at you is a rival or someone who bullies others, pay no attention. Remove her from your life by not feeding her desire to upset you. If she believes her own words have lost their impact, she will eventually stop.
Step 3. Listen to why they are laughing
Usually, people make fun of what they don't understand or because of their own insecurities. Find out why a person or group is laughing at you to reassure yourself more.
- Someone can scoff for not understanding anything about your life. Maybe you are more focused on work or school than he is or maybe you have different interests.
- If someone is making fun of you for something they don't understand, tell yourself that your choices are valid and that you don't need others' approval. Think “I study to ensure a better future for myself” or “This hobby brings me joy and doesn't harm anyone. This person just doesn't understand why this hobby is important to me.”
- A person may also scoff because they are unsure of something they feel secure about. She may not have the nerve to wear unfashionable clothes, for example, but you do. Say to yourself "This person has no power to make me feel bad about something in my own life just because he is insecure."
Step 4. Tell yourself you are wonderful
Do not be modest. Every time you hear someone laughing at you, stop and think "They're wrong and I'm a wonderful person." Do this until you are convinced.
- Make it even more real in your own mind by thinking of reasons for genuinely liking yourself. Say something like "I'm smart, creative, I can make wonderful cookies and that makes me a great person."
- Keep repeating these words, no matter how difficult or silly. It can be hard to believe when you're upset, but the more you say it to yourself, the more you'll start to believe those words.
- Even when you don't hear anyone laughing, remember that you are wonderful and others don't determine how you see yourself.
Method 2 of 3: Dealing with Antagonists
Step 1. Confront them
Confronting a bully can be intimidating, but if you're overwhelmed, talking to the person about their problems can be a little comforting. Pick a time to talk to her one-on-one and see what her laughter is about.
- Chat in private. A large group can create an emotional and defensive situation, which can cause even more aggression.
- Ask "What motivates you to laugh at me?" Listen to the answer carefully. The origin is likely to be the individual's own emotions and has nothing to do with you as a person.
- Ask the individual "How do my actions or interests influence your daily life?" Evaluate the answer to see if you really hurt him in a significant way or if you just confuse him because you're not like him, which is more likely.
- Understand that irritation and disgust are subjective. Each person has a different view of you. Just because your antagonist doesn't know how to handle his opinion properly doesn't mean you're a bad person or that you've done something wrong.
Step 2. Find a partner
Many other people can talk to you about the abuser. See if there's someone in your family or find a friend if you want someone to listen and comfort you.
- Ask a friend to be your confidant when you think someone is laughing at you. Tell him that you don't need him to solve any problems and that you just want to vent about the stress you're having.
- If your friend is around during an attack by your assailant, use them to distract yourself. Bring up a topic about something you like or ask how his day is going.
Step 3. Look for a professional
If laughter has reached the point of impacting your daily life, see a psychologist to help you deal with your emotions. A trained professional can help you minimize long-term impacts and develop healthy mechanisms to deal with this situation.
- Look for a professional who specializes in dealing with bullying trauma or social anxiety.
- Look for someone who is accessible or who is covered by your health plan.
Step 4. Laugh with them
People laughing at you are looking for attention. They want to make you feel bad. If you can laugh together, they won't get the attention they're looking for and will eventually let it go.
- Your laugh must be genuine. Others may be trying to hurt you, but you don't have to hurt yourself. Think "It's funny that they think my crush is stupid because when I do what I love, I feel like the best person in the world."
- Try not to mind the comments. If, for example, someone says you're a nerd, smile and say “I really think I am” and leave.
Step 5. Deal with your feelings
Being mocked can be painful and can hurt you, especially if it comes from someone you considered a friend or someone you like and respect. If you're upset and feeling betrayed, deal with those feelings instead of just swallowing them or pretending it's okay. Avoid short-term solutions, which can increase stress or be dangerous, such as self-medication with alcohol and drugs or self-harm.
- Accept that you are upset. It's okay - and it's understandable - to be upset when someone makes fun of you. Instead of saying to yourself, "I don't care," acknowledge your feelings and say, "I'm really sad and I feel betrayed."
- Focus on the present. To dwell on what happened will only prolong your pain. Instead of thinking “I can't believe they laughed at me. I'm very ashamed. It spoiled my entire day and I hate it. They're idiots,” just try to acknowledge what you're feeling. Say “Okay, I'm thinking about it again. I get really upset when I think about it and my face gets hot. But I'm going to guitar class now and I'm just going to focus on class and playing well. I'm focusing on what's happening now, not what happened this morning.”
- Try not to judge yourself for being sad or having negative self-talk.
Step 6. Involve some authority
If the bully is just irritating, you can deal with him yourself. But if it's impacting your ability to work or study, it might be a good idea to involve an authority to help you deal with it.
- If you're at school, talk to a teacher you trust. See if he is willing to arrange a meeting with you and the abuser after class and mediate the situation. The school psychologist can also help.
- If the person is influencing your work, inform your supervisor immediately and ask for help.
Method 3 of 3: Creating Positive Relationships
Step 1. Focus on the things you can control
It's important to remember that you have no control over people and you can't stop them from laughing. If someone is laughing at your haircut and you decide to wear a cap, someone might laugh at the cap or find another reason to scoff. Trying to predict how someone will react or make all the decisions based on what someone finds acceptable is tiring and impossible. Shift your focus from what you can't control (others' actions and opinions) and start paying more attention to what's under your control-your own actions, feelings, and your opinion of yourself.
- Decide to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. You are in control of your self-talk, and it's important to behave like you're your own best friend. Challenge any negative self-talk you have.
- You can also control your own actions, how you treat others, and what you will accept from people. Decide to show your kindness to anyone who laughs at you despite inappropriate behavior. You can also just walk away from the situation.
Step 2. Find other friends
If the person laughing behind your back is someone you considered a friend, try to find more positive people in your life. Analyze what's most important to you and look for people with similar values when it comes to friendships.
- Try joining school groups or local meetings to meet people with the same interests as you.
- Look for options like book groups and dinners to meet people outside your established social group.
- Spend more time with people who have supported and helped you. Improve your friendship with them instead of surrounding yourself with new people.
Step 3. Be superior to this
Try to change your relationship with the abuser by offering your friendship and help. Show that you're available, and if he refuses your help, you've done what you can to create a positive relationship.
- Analyze the person's insecurities and offer help to deal with them.
- If, for example, he laughs at you for getting good grades or caring too much about your work, offer to help him study or start a project at work with him.
- Be authentic. Don't change your personality just to get people to stop laughing at you.
- If the abuser is impacting parts of your daily life and preventing you from performing your normal tasks, report it to an official immediately.