Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Is Everyone Secretly Laughing At You?


Oh hey everybody. This week on Ask Cristen the potential psychological
impact of laughter is no laughing matter. [Snorts] Just kidding. No I’m not. Mart-Juahn wants to know, ‘How do you know
if people laugh at you or with you? I’m in introvert but sometimes I spontaneously
stand out in conversations with classmates and sometimes they laugh after I’ve made
a powerful or funny statement. But did they laugh because they didn’t expect
it, was the statement funny or because I became emotional during those discussions? What are signs on which I can know what they
think or do they think at all?’ Mart-Juhan unfortunately I am not a mindreader. I do have some tips distinguishing the types
of laughter that might be going on around you. And I wanted to mention my personal connection
between social phobias that I’ve dealt with and a fear of being laughed at because research
is increasingly exploring the link between those two things and how gelotophobia which
is not a fear of gelato but rather a fear of being laughed at is cross-cultural and
relatively common. So Mart-Juhan if that is something you’re
experiencing where you’re getting nervous about even going to class for fear of being
laughed at when you speak, I would recommend not just looking at your classmates and whether
or not they’re laughing at you or with you but also look inside of whether this is attached
to a bigger issue of some kind of anxiety or fear. And if that’s the case there are all sorts
of tools out there to help you manage that. So how can we maybe read some body language
to help you distinguish whether people are laughing at you or with you? The first thing that comes to my mind is paying
attention to where people are looking. People who are laughing with you are basically
in sort of a conversation with you. They’re going to be looking at you. They’re not going to be looking all around
to be like who else is laughing at this person, ohhh. You can also pay attention to the loudness
and the openness of people’s laughter. I have a hunch that people who are laughing
with you, they’re not going to be trying to hold their laughter in, they’re going
to just laugh, hahaha! People who are laughing at you tend to snicker
more than guffaw so they might be like [snickers]. And then finally there’s the whole issue
of how they treat you after the laughter is over. Anecdotally, people who are laughing at you
are not going to hang around you that long. They might make some kind of snide remark
on their way out to go talk about you and laugh about you behind your back. Chances are that people who are laughing with
you are going to be nicer after the fact and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they
immediately run up to you and ask to be your best friend but they’re not going to be
intentionally shunning or ignoring or ostracizing you in some kind of way. All of this leads to the question of what
if people are laughing at you? To me it all depends on the context of why
people were laughing at you. Sometimes slapstick laughter happens, where
you trip and fall, you drop something, you slip on a banana peel, someone throws a cream
pie in your face. You just got to get up and brush it off. If it’s a situation of people laughing at
you because you are not really adhering to proper etiquette rules and the right kind
of interaction like me joking at inappropriate times as I have done throughout my life. That’s an opportunity to step back, be objective
it possible, dial down your emotions, and consider maybe your communication style could
use a little bit of work. Finally there’s the mocking laughter, people
are laughing at you not because you’ve done anything wrong at all and not because there’s
anything wrong with you. They’re laughing at you to make themselves
feel better, to elevate their own social status by subordinating you because you look different,
you sound different and you act different. This is a tough one, this is where we do get
into clicheville, because I don’t want to sit here and tell you just be stronger. No that sucks! But what you can do is approach it as an opportunity
to meet that laughter with strength and self-acceptance. It takes a really big person to be able to
do that, so if you can you are lightyears ahead of anybody else around you. The more I personally have embraced the stuff
that I know people have found distasteful in me, quirkiness-wise not just me being like
a garbage human wise, the happier I’ve become. And now dear viewers I want to know from you,
does this ring a bell for you, do you have any insights, tips or experiences that you
would like to share? Let’s start the conversation in the comments
below and as always ask me your questions so I can give you some answers.

61 thoughts on “Is Everyone Secretly Laughing At You?

  1. I've found that if it feels like a situation where someone is laughing at me, I try to laugh as well to lower the awkward tension and make it seem like a big joke that I meant to make all along. It doesn't change people being jerks, but it can help the immediate situation.

  2. I've seen a lot of situations where people are laughing at someone because they have both a) perhaps some awkward or inappropriate social skills AND b) they might be a little weird but don't deserve to be laughed at for it. But they write it off as only people laughing at them because they're quirky and it gives them trouble because they still have some ineffective social skills goin on. (which can wreak some havoc on your relationships)

  3. Do you have any advise for the people with negative body image? Specifically for those who struggle to engage in any active sports, because they are ashamed of their bodies, andor afraid of judgment?

  4. I think it's also possible that the laughing people in question laughed because they didn't know what else to do. similar to when you can't hear what someone said instead of asking them to repeat themselves, you giggle and nod your head.

  5. I worked in maintenance/repair for a lengthy period of time, being (aesthetically) a young boring blonde girl I got mock laughter a lot from of the older males around me. I would sometimes catch people talking behind my back. This was crumby, yeah, but honestly it helped me stand up for myself and work harder. Eventually, those who had a problem shut themselves up when they realized I had no problem accomplishing what they could. So, my advice, prove them wrong!

  6. I would also say that if you've made a powerful point they might be laughing uncomfortably from having their minds blown!

  7. I'm extremely silent in person. So whenever I say something remotely funny, people laugh like crazy. I used to think they were laughing at me (because, seriously, I'm not that funny) but now I think they're actually nervous because I'm breaking the status quo and they just don't know how to react. So whenever I notice, I call myself back to silence (I feel bad for making them nervous and it's more interesting to listen to them anyways).

  8. I love that no matter what the question, Cristen takes it seriously and gives really good and informed advice! She seems like such an understanding and kind person in a sisterly kind of way 🙂

  9. Hi Cristen, I have a question for you. Why is it that when a women misses a period thy do doctors immediately assume your pregnant or put you on the contraceptive pill to regulate your periods. And what reasons other than pregnancy are there for one to miss a period

  10. In that moment of being laughed at,I like to remind myself of all my accomplishments so I become proud of myself. Then suddenly their laughter doesn't bother me so much anymore.

  11. You touched on it with the embarrassment factor, but a lot of people also laugh when something makes them uncomfortable. For example, if you make a feminist-ish comment in a group that is not very receptive toward those ideas or are made uncomfortable by them, they might laugh to get over the awkwardness.

  12. People constantly made fun of me at school, it started like halfway through elementary school and it kept happening until i finished middle school… so, people made fun of me for around 6 years of my life, it also didn't help that my parents never noticed there was something going on. It really ruined my confidence and self esteem for years.

    Nowadays I feel much better with myself and i've come really far, but i'm still pretty scared of people laughing at me, like, even walking down the street and hearing someone laugh makes me feel nervous and wonder if they laughed at me or they just happened to laugh as i was passing by.

  13. My anxiety made me very self-centered. Convinced that everyone was judging me, watching me, thinking about me constantly. The reality being that probably 99% of the people I encounter or even know aren't thinking about me at any given moment. And that is perfectly fine. My happiness is not dependent upon the approval of others. Cognitive behavior therapy is marvelous.

  14. Most of the times when I wonder if people are laughing/talking about me is not when I'm in a conversation with them but excluded. And let me tell you in recent years I have really worked on this issue and had gotten over it pretty much until, can you guess, a group of people actually DID make me their laughing stock.
    We were in the train home from a festival, the festival had been cancelled on the evening on the first day when heavy rain falls and thunderstorms first pushed every festival visitor in cars or special shelters and on the next day, after not having slept, my so and I had a 12 hour train trip with several different trains ahead of us.
    In the first train, we were pretty much still surrounded by festival visitors and the train was so crowded that we had to sit apart. I, not having been able to eat anything due to walking around, packing up soaked tents etc and waiting for the bus to the station was super hungry so I grabbed the first thing I was able to grab from my pack, which was tuna salad. Yeah, I can understand the smell isnt too good, but I thought everyone will understand or the festival smell of sweat, mudd and beer will overpower it anyways.
    The group of people sitting across the isle apparently didnt think so and started talking about the fat bitch that had to get out her tuna salad and kept on talking about me for a good hour, while most definitely realising I was in earshot. Can I tell you even though I realise thats stupid of me I was feeling weak, belittled, dumb etc. I started a conversation with a lady next to me who helped me with some local train info to find the best way in the next train station to our designated train. Later my boyfriend moved next to me as the spot became vacant and realised the people (who had previously been talking about me) also had to go to our next train. Because he had no idea what they had said earlier he was super helpful, his usual self. I was mostly so dumbfounded that I couldnt say anything about what had happened earlier, partly because I was feeling like shit, partly because I didn't want to give the guys the satisfaction of knowing I had heard what they had said about me.
    But regardless, in the end, this little thing has destroyed a lot of my progress and self-esteem, has made me question myself more and acting like a lifeless doll in public, just so that I'm rather glanced over than talked about.
    What I think I really want to say is: be nice people. Don't talk about others even when you assume that they can't hear you, because most will certainly notice it. You don't know how negatively you can impact someone by doing that. It's sad enough that your own life is not interesting enough so that you have to talk shit about others. So if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all
    (whoops, that just became longer than I intended)

  15. The idea that people are laughing at you implies they are actually noticing you. This borders on narcissism and paranoia. If everything revolves around you, in your mind, then you are certainly someone worth watching….all the time.

  16. Yeah, I've had that happen to me. I went to pick up my check from my job dressed as a casual pin up girl. When I walked in a few girls kept staring, whispering, and snickering. I didn't let it get me down. I felt really cute that day and still walked out of there with my head held high and my check in my hand. The only person who can make me feel ashamed of who I am is me. Im sure those girls who made fun of me are really insecure about themselves, and making fun of me is the only way they know how to cope with it for right now.

  17. I got bullied a lot in middle school by the other girls, so the only time I worry about if people are laughing at me is if I hear a group of teenage girls laughing.

  18. I don't think I have this problem, but what I do have is where I'll be in a conversation where it's one or more people and I get cut off. I'm not sure how else to put that. The other thing is when I'm in a "digital" conversation like online I'll write something and have it get ignored only for someone to post the same thing and they get a reply…

  19. I'm not sure about your cultures but whenever they laugh, I laugh with them. So sometimes, they laugh at me with me. Actually (I just realized while typing this), me and my friends I've met in highshool frequently laugh at each other and with each other.

  20. This is a great channel, but I question the title. What do you mean by stuff your mom never told you? Are you saying that older women are less feminist? Isn't that kind of ageist?

  21. The fact that I will never find a girl as witty, hilarious, beautiful and with so much funky energy as Cristen saddens me way more than it should…. I love you Cristen!!

  22. You know when someone in a group says something that you think is a joke, but you can't tell why so you just chuckle anyway and hope no body notices? It works the other way around too. So when people are laughing at something I say and I don't know why, I grin like "yeah, I made that genius joke. I'm the coolest." Now people think that I'm creative and outgoing when I am neither. Con the universe, my friends!

    (This isn't meant to make light of serious problems, it's just my experience and I hope it is enjoyable / useful to others)

  23. The experience I have is that people will laugh at my serious statements more than my funny ones. There was one time I remember, I responded to some question with "well, I have really low self-confidence" and everyone laughed at that. Which, now that I think about it, was a really mean thing for them to do, but I was just confused because I was speaking honestly. Come to think of it, I guess everyone is always just laughing at me. Aww man, am I that socially inept that not only is everyone laughing at me to my face, but I'm also not noticing?

  24. Hey! Love this channel, love the podcast! I have a question for you. Why is it less acceptable for men to be vegan/vegetarian than women. My husband and I are both vegan I feel like people have a harder time grappling with the fact that HE doesn't eat meat rather than me, a female. Also there are statistically less male vegetarian compared to women. Does it have something to do with hunting being a male thing?

    Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Sari

    ps Not trying to push an agenda and I fully respect other peoples dietary choices.

  25. When I talk in a class theres this girl she always laughs at me if I get a question wrong or even just do a presentation .Shes always telling everyone oh im so outgoing (we already know that shes just bragging) and says shy people are boring because im shy and always says it situations that i can hear it.I try to ignore her but its just so annoying because its constant.

  26. at college (I'm in Britain so not quite at uni but finished school), when I do something stupid and most people laugh, I tend to just go along with it. why get annoyed or embarrassed cuz you won't feel very good and it's causing pleasure to everyone else?

  27. Kristen, I have one friend that goes to my school and all I hear from her is negativity and how everything sucks. I don't like how the negative vibes are affecting me and I think that my other friends are noticing it too. The majority of my friends are in high school while I'm in 8th grade. They don't see me very much but I've been a back up friend for some of them and and it feels awful to be included only if they've ran out of options. I think that its because of how I've been affected by so much negativity.

  28. I do understand this   ive been there.  But bottom line is     don't worry about it  if they want to laugh at us  then  they are not our friend.

  29. Im an extrovert, and I do think you are spot on. When people laugh at you, you become an entretainment, when they find you not entretaining anymore they leave. When they laugh with you they kinda hang around, usually funny people are smart people too, a lot people dont actively aknowledge this, but they instinctivly know it.
    BTW Cristen, Amazing lipstick ! what is it?

  30. I have literally no fear of being laughed at over a joke but when I'm being very serious and someone snickers I get extremely embarrassed and want to cry

  31. I'm 17 going on 18 and I was bullied/picked on for a large chunk of my life I think mostly because of my intelligence but I really don't know very well why. I think being laughed at was probably one of the most hurtful things back when I was younger but after I moved into high school (age 13) I learnt laughing at yourself with others works miles to reduce the amount you are picked on. I wish I could say the same about the girl who singled me out as her victim in year 10 and 11 the only way I got out of that was by ploughing through until I didn't have to see her anymore

  32. I am in my forties and it is probably immature, but I don't care . When someone is mocking me with laughter, I stare them in the eye and imitate them. I laugh like they did, move my body and hands like they did. . . And guess what? WORKS EVERY TIME. They always walk away annoyed because I turned the tables on them. I have dealt with bullies of all kinds throughout my life and the one thing they all have in common- they do NOT like someone calling them on their stuff 🙂

  33. I think when you say something and everyone is silent, is worse than being laughed at. It's like a cross between ignoring and judging you at the same time. It's like OMG! She's talking again. facepalm

  34. There was a mentally challenged student in my art class during my senior year and he would just spout nonsensical things while the rest of the class is quiet. Some of the things I can remember off the top of my head are "What color is a fish?" "Fish don't have feelings because they don't have a tear" and "Which vegetable is a pizza?"

    The surrounding students would then snicker and then kindly help him with whatever he needed help with… while also keeping the conversation going to milk a couple more laughs out of his mental disability.
    I tried not to laugh but, regrettably, a snicker definitely did escape from time to time.

    At the end of the school year, it was clear that he thought the classroom was laughing with him every school day and nobody had the heart to tell him that wasn't the case.

  35. Man, being light years ahead of everybody else is scary. By definition it would take multiple years for anyone to catch up to me even if they are traveling at the speed of light. So I would be all alone in the universe, literally.

  36. if there are bigger issues in play here, it might be a good idea to visit psychologist or psychiatrist. Trust me, you'll feel much better.

  37. Tbh you remind me of a female version of Philip Defranco that I find attractive. I can't really describe it. Maybe the facial expression… I might be wrong though.

  38. I try to ignore this shit but my mind keep telling me yeah they talk about you and they laugh at you .wtf should i do to fix this shit

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