Have you heard the one about the offensive joke?

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January 22, 2019 - 9:48 AM

Silly question: I have a neighbor who I run into a few times a week as we walk our respective dogs, and for the past six months she has made a variation of the same joke EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s based on an aspect of my appearance that changed around then, and is not mean or insulting, but I’m over it from sheer repetition. I think it started as a legit “wow!” reaction, and the fact that I replied jokingly as if I was unaware of the change made it seem like “our schtick.”

I’ve tried to change up my responses, from a flat, “Yep, still there,” to a non sequitur about a different topic, but she keeps doing it. To flat-out say, “Stop commenting on this aspect of my appearance,” seems rude, though I have a feeling this straightforward approach will be your suggestion? She has taken even the hint of criticism poorly in the past, and the fact that we are just friendly acquaintances having short chats makes me hesitant to be as direct as I would with a friend. I just really want this “joke” to die.- — Yep, Still There

Carolyn: “Yep, I’m officially out of responses. Can we start a new joke?” Direct but light. If even that fails, yes, just direct: “Please stop commenting on this aspect of my appearance. Thank you.”

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