How do I get my friend to stop "joking" about things that aren't funny?
October 20, 2012 7:07 PM Subscribe
I have a friend who makes a point of expressing how much he likes really poisonous people from my past until I lay out for him the precise reason I (often) find even the mention of said person upsetting. These people are his acquaintances at best. He does this for every/any person he knows I find really upsetting. What should I do?
posted by skermunkil to human relations (56 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Normally, he mostly stops with the comments after I give him some gory details to justify the dislike, but he’s apparently oblivious to a very clear pattern and keeps on pushing until I have to give some painful explanation that may have to go into things that I don’t want to share even with my close friends.
For example, he ‘jokingly’ updates me about a boyfriend I had as a teenager who was physically abusive and liked to humiliate me in public, such as sending me a message that the ex was now living near where I was and maybe it was a sign we were meant to be together.
There are maybe four or five people from my past that I feel this way about and he continually “pushes” them on me. I sort of called him on it with respect to one particular incident/person and he said he thought it was good for my personal growth and that he was doing it on purpose. It took a painful follow up email for him to stop mentioning her frequently, and doing things like giving me framed pictures of her. He didn’t take that incident as a cue that he needs to stop it as a general behavior because it makes me really uncomfortable at best.
He seems to find it funny, if a little contrarian; I generally feel belittled and stupid when he does it, initially like maybe the problem was with me and not with whomever I didn’t like, until I think it through my logical reasoning for disliking the person and then I have started to feel sort of angry at my friend for not being in my corner or at least respectful of my feelings.
For the record, he’s otherwise a really good considerate friend. How should I address this long running situation? Is the problem actually my own over-sensitivity to some dark humor? Any suggestions on how I should work through my feelings about it? It’s slowly damaging my very long relationship with him, at least on my side, and I’m not sure what to do.