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13 April 2020

People Of The World: Jokes Are Consensual

jokes and feelings

I have, in my life, more than once encountered genuinely funny people. Personally, I love them. They are the brightest kind, life of any community, in any setting. But, let's discuss on this topic a bit more.

Especially in content of the topic of this post, jokes and their relationship with consent. Yes, I believe there is such a thing, no I'm not crazy. Hear me out why:

In simple words, I think there are multiple kinds of, "jokes" and multiple kinds of "people".  Not all jokes are acceptable, sometimes they are welcomes only from a certain kind of person in your life, and sometimes a person's joke can leave you feeling devastated.

Jokes in a social setting

Jokes are really fun. They can cheer people up, lift up people's spirits, make them forget about the stress and unpleasant situations in life. They can even help you appreciate the small things in life, and their power to make you happy.

That is, if used with a positive intent. However, jokes used with negative intent will often come across as taunts, insults, rude behaviour, irresponsible behaviour, people thinking your personality not fun to be around and in many cases, you will hurt the other person (with or without knowing) and make them feel bad, sad, and/or depressed.

Now, I enjoy stand-up comedy, I have sometimes indulged in dark humour (with only people that are very close to me and understand the jokes as just that), and I have nothing against people who are naturally funny and always like to joke around.

But I feel there is an increased need to understand the basic etiquettes of joking with a person. This is because I feel most people these days are not practicing this etiquette at all. And trust me, if you do this too, you're probably hurting someone without even meaning to.

The basics of joking with friends, family and people you meet or know

As I've already talked about, it's important to respect the boundaries of people that you share your jokes with. And if you are one of those people who don't do that, shame on you.

Read the mood in any social setting before you make a joke. Think before you joke with someone.

And please, don't be underhanded.

If you're a person who constantly feels the need to taunt, and/or mention things that people might not like, and get away with this by claiming it to be a joke later on, you're not funny. Stop this habit right now. Nobody likes this.

Getting consent for joking with someone

You might think this is a very strange thing. But trust me, it's not, and no, you don't need to ask someone whether you can joke with them or not in most cases. The number one to engage in consensual joking is to know the mood of the person you are trying to make a joke with.

If they are being serious, don't randomly joke with them, they might not understand it and things might get awkward or sour really fast.

If you're texting, it's best to actually ask if it's okay to the person you wish to share a joke with. In a real life setting though, rely on factors such as your comfort level with the person, intimacy, friendship, the mood of the situation and overall tone.

Also, don't ever engage in the act of over-stepping boundaries with someone, it's not fun. respect each other, no matter your relationship with the person.

If you've been hurt as a result of someone's joke

My heart goes out to you if you've been on the receiving end of a joke that's felt more like an insult, taunt or disrespect. If you've felt targeted by a friend, family or loved one.

Here's the thing, most people don't do this intentionally to hurt you, even if they seem to be in a habit of doing this. I can't tell you how many times a family member, a crush, or a loved one has done this to me, and it just makes me frown and be like, "Really?".

I think the first step, is to let the person know that you don't feel comfortable when they do this. If they are decent human being, they will stop, or at least try to.

NOTE : Many people don't take well to being told that you did not like their behaviour, you will notice them becoming defensive, and trying to guilt trap you into the fact that you are the problem here. Forgive them, don't take this to heart.

Instead, be smart, politely and respectfully tell them that it makes you uncomfortable when they do that and you would feel better if they didn't do this.

This approach should work with most people. If you've encountered someone, who just isn't taking the hint, then you need to be firm in your boundaries.

You could, instead of raging at them, give them an unamused and bored look, and not say anything. Or say something along the lines of letting them know this was not funny and you thought it was borderline lame.

As humans, most of us live for appreciation. Remember, when you were little and someone praised you, you would repeat the action again and again? As adults, we aren't so different after all.

So if you told someone, something was uncool and hence by not appreciating them you will have a high chance of getting them to drop that habit with you.

Final words

Always be aware of your relationship and comfort level with a person.

the mood, tone and level of intimacy and/or comfort is very important. Just because you may be a boss, or someone that has authority doesn't mean you can be a total jerk to those around you. This also applies to authority that comes with your age or relationship.

And lastly, be kind to each other, support each other and practice universal love.

Stay blessed and,

I hope this blog post encourages your mind to think of this normal activity from a new and positive light. Jokes are fun, especially with the ones that are close to you, but remember to always respect the other person's boundary.

As always be sure to let me know your thoughts on this topic using the comments down below. I read and respond to all comments. I'm really thankful that you've stuck with me for the entirety of this blog post. It means a lot to me. And as always, I'm trying to help give you something to think about today.

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