It’s Not ‘Just a Joke’ and It’s NOT OKAY

There is no justification for hurtful words and actions.

Agnes Louis
Oct 28, 2019 · 4 min read

I read the chain of messages in silence, my blood simmering with low heat.

My friend had been made the butt of a hurtful joke in a group chat. There is now a rift between the members of the group chat and my friend and he had been attacked left and right.

Everyone stood with the bully, because he’s sort of the alpha in the group, and because in a society with collective culture, one tends to follow the crowd.

This is a group of supposedly adults, who have their own children and still, they behave like children themselves.

The excuse given by the bully who had instigated the whole thing?

“It’s just a joke!”

My friend was not without a fault. He was defending himself, trying to tell the group members that it’s not funny and he’s not okay with it. He was, after all, the subject of the joke. But he could have communicated his feeling better, with a better choice of words (he can come off as rude sometimes).

The person who had initiated the joke was no better. He knew already that my friend is a sensitive person and would not take the joke well. He had pulled the same thing previously, it didn’t go well, he apologized and all was good again.

Considering that he’s an adult with his own kids, we would have thought that he had learned his lesson and not commit the same mistake, but no…

Not only he made the same mistake, he refused to apologize, said he did no wrong and use that one sentence to justify his words and actions:

“It was just a joke.”

No, it’s not ‘JUST A JOKE’.

It’s not JUST A JOKE if someone gets hurt.

It’s not ‘just a joke’ if the person being joked about is getting hurt by the ‘joke’.

I love making other people smile and laugh. Sometimes, I do it with self-deprecating jokes (who doesn’t like a good self-deprecating joke, right? It’s one of the best). It’s okay because the smile and laughter of others are awesome and most importantly,

I’M OKAY WITH IT.

Sometimes, my friends make joke about me. I never find it hurtful because:

  • it makes people smile and laugh,
  • I don’t mind nor care and,
  • I don’t take it seriously because that’s my character.

I even laughed with my friends because hey, it’s funny and with the world going crazier by the second, we can all use a bit more smile and laughter.

It doesn’t mean that it’s okay to make a joke about everybody.

Some people are more sensitive than the others. Not only that’s okay, we should respect that.

We don’t say, “It’s just a joke, why are you so sensitive?” to defend ourselves when our words or actions hurt someone.

Even if we think that our joke is light-hearted and not a serious offence, and that the person we joke about shouldn’t be so incensed about it, we should still apologize because

we all have different yardstick of what’s acceptable and what’s not, of what’s hurtful and what’s not.

What we think is okay, might not be okay for someone else.

We do not sacrifice one person for the happiness of a group of people. We do not make others smile and laugh at the expense of someone else. It’s just not right.

When we make a joke, with an intention to create joy, we should take EVERYBODY into account.

No amount of laughter is worth one person’s suffering.

There are ways, many ways, to create happiness for others. Lots of things we can do to make others smile and laugh. Whatever we do to spark happiness, it shouldn’t be causing anyone pain or hurt.

We are human. It’s natural for us to always want to create happiness not only for ourselves, but also for everyone else. However we choose to do it, to incite happiness,

do it kindly.

Warm Hearts

Inspiring us to be kinder. One story at a time.

Agnes Louis

Written by

Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Warm Hearts

Sharing pieces of kindness and compassion, aiming to inspire a kinder, better world. One poem, one story at a time.

Agnes Louis

Written by

Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Warm Hearts

Sharing pieces of kindness and compassion, aiming to inspire a kinder, better world. One poem, one story at a time.

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