DEAR ABBY: A new co-worker seemed to be a nice person and potential friend when she was hired. However, after a few months, she began making comments to me or about me in front of others. Sometimes they are good-natured, but more often they are insulting -- although presented as a "joke." I feel this is inappropriate, especially in the workplace.
I have heard that this is a type of bullying where, if the victim objects, then the perpetrator belittles him or her as being "oversensitive," thus adding salt to the wound. I have noticed that people who play this little mind game on others can dish it out but can't take it when someone retaliates. I've seen this happen in families where one sibling is scapegoated and picked on.
I don't want to waste energy playing games, but I don't want to be a victim, either, so I have decided to ignore the comments and/or interrupt her by changing the subject or making an excuse to leave the room. Have you any other suggestions? -- NOT A VICTIM
DEAR NOT A VICTIM: When someone is ridiculed in the workplace, it usually isn't intended to be a joke, nor is it funny. It is intended to make the person appear less effective. I do have another suggestion. Report it to your supervisor or office manager, and explain she is making you uncomfortable. If her "witticisms" fall under a protected category (gender, religion, race, sexual orientation), she could be creating a hostile work environment and management needs to be made aware of it.