Handling Comments

People making comments about how you look is really difficult. People might talk about how you look without thinking about how it might feel for you. Or they might say horrible and rude things deliberately to upset you. This can be difficult and hurtful, but there are some things you can do when this happens.

Think about some of these choices:

Walk away

If a person is being unkind, sometimes it is best to just walk away. This is very powerful – it tells the other person you are not going to take any notice of their bad behaviour. A person being unkind is not worth your time – and you’re ‘telling’ them this by not giving them any attention.

Of course, you may still feel angry and upset – and that’s normal, but it is better to take yourself away from the difficult situation and find someone you trust to talk to about how you are feeling.

When people made horrible comments to me about my eyes I would ignore them, I just thought, if they are cruel enough to make comments like this, they aren’t going to take any notice of what I have got to say and they don’t deserve my energy. I also didn’t want them to know they were bothering me, so I just carried on with what I was doing. Afterwards if I was angry I would ring my mum or a friend and tell them how angry I was and what I really wanted to say to them! This helped me let out how I felt about it. Sometimes I would just forget about the comment, other times it might bother me for a while, but eventually I would forget about it. Now I just feel sorry for people who are so unkind they have to make these horrible comments, and I refuse to give their comments any thought.

Kerry

Plan a response

It can help to think about some responses in advance – and have several of these ready.

You can show the person you don’t like it, by:

  • Looking at them with a serious face for around 1 second and look away again
  • Looking at the person and raise your eyebrows to show you have heard
  • Looking and frowning to tell them you are not happy.

Or, you might decide you want to answer to let the person know you are not happy. Here are some things you might say to someone:

  • ‘It isn’t nice to say things about how someone looks.’
  • ‘If you want to know why I look different just ask me.’
  • ‘I don’t think you would like it if someone said things about how you look.’

People used to say horrible things about how I looked. The most common one was ‘frog eyes’. Sometimes I would just leave it and not say anything, but other times I did say something back. I’d say something like ‘I don’t know why my eyes are such a problem for you.’ Most of 

the time people would leave me alone once I had said something. I think they were surprised I had responded. But I was always careful who I responded to because I didn’t want to make a

situation worse.

Kerry

You might already have some things that you say to people if they make comments. Or you might find it helpful to talk to your friends and family about things you could say and get them to help you think about how you might answer.

As practice, try this out:

  1. Write down two comments people have said about you that you didn’t like.

  2. Write down a reply for each comment. 

  3. Now, say your replies out loud using a strong voice.

Remember…

  • Try not to let the person see that you are upset or angry. They may even be trying to get a reaction from you – and the best thing is not to react
  • It is better to calmly show the person you heard them and you’re not ok with their comments. This shows you as a strong person who is not going to let them get to you
  • It may not feel fair; this person has been really unkind to you and you might want to tell them exactly what you think of them! But if you get angry then the other person will probably get angry too and be more unkind to you
  • It is best to find another way to cope with the anger you are feeling. Speak to family or friends, or write it down. Maybe write down what you wanted to say.

Reassure yourself

People can be hurtful and unkind because they don’t understand why you look different. It is not ok to make unkind comments to someone, for any reason. In case it does happen and you feel upset, it is good to be ready with ways to feel calmer.

Some things you might want to say to yourself in your head are:

  • ‘It’s their problem not mine’
  • ‘If they don’t want to get to know me – and see I am more than how I look, then I don’t need to think about what they say to me’
  • ‘I am more than how I look’
  • ‘It’s not worth me getting upset over unkind people’

If someone has been unkind and you feel sad or angry, find someone to talk to about how you are feeling, like a teacher, a friend or your family.

Remember, if people are making comments about how you look and it upsets you, this is bullying. Bullying is not ok and there are things you can do to make it stop. You might want to read our information on Bullying.

Explain reassure divert tool

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Preparing responses tool

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