Wit and humor, at another person’s expense, may do more damage than you will ever know. Be careful of others’ feelings.
I am a funny person. If you don’t believe me, just ask me. I remember, as a young child, being able to make my dad laugh out loud. He rarely laughed out loud. I loved entertaining at friends’ birthday parties; and, I always had a circle of friends around me, at the school lunch tables, laughing at my antics.
Elementary school report cards suggested my parents encourage me to spend more energy on class work than on entertaining the masses!
It is easy to gravitate toward people who are funny – or, at least have a good sense of humor – because, life is difficult enough without surrounding yourself with gloomy people, right?
Well, maybe we should examine this topic of humor a little more closely. Especially since, not everyone has the same light hearted personality, in your workplace or at home, as you might think.
Actually, there are some negatives of wit and humor we must consider if we care about getting along with people. There is a fine line between laughing with someone and laughing at someone – a line often missed as we hurry through our busy lives.
Over the years, I have learned much of the careless humor in my youth was at the expense of others.
I would like to take this opportunity to publically apologize to my younger sister and any and all others whom I may have thoughtlessly hurt over the years – calling it humor!
Fortunately, love and forgiveness have entered in. Lessons were learned as I began to grow up. (Still in process!)
Email and social media have magnified an already precarious line we walk when not wanting to get a laugh at another’s expense! Be very careful to think before you text! I know of friendships ruined – as jokes have been misunderstood through email!
Within our immediate family of 18, only about half would I consider to be “funny people” – which keeps me on my toes when it comes to joking about something that might hurt another’s feelings. However, some of my funniest material comes from my life with my kids and grandkids! I’m just careful not to name names!
Here are some simple guidelines to help keep others’ feelings paramount as we still love to laugh:
1. Get permission from the source before you repeat a funny incident.
2. Change the names, to protect the innocent, if you choose to recount a true funny story about someone you know.
3. Never text, email, twitter or zoom humor at another’s expense! When using social media, give just the facts ma’am!
4. (Refer to Step 1 of How to get along with Anyone This Year.) THINK before opening your mouth. You may find it the better part of wisdom to let this joke pass without taking a chance on offending.
“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.” Proverbs 17:28 (The Message)