A sense of humor is important. When used appropriately, it relaxes you, eases stress, and can reverse tense situations.
It is always the person with a good sense of humor who is the life of the party. We all love to laugh, so it’s only natural that we gravitate to someone who makes us do this.
But there’s a funny thing about humor: it has to be interpreted on the other side. If you hear a joke or comment that you perceive as offensive, it may result in anger or hurt feelings.
It is always best to consider your audience when joking around. Is there anyone who won’t be laughing?
Be sure that you always think before you are tempted to joke around. If there is any doubt, keep your words to yourself and avoid offending anyone. Unfortunately, “Sorry, I was just kidding,” doesn’t make the highest grade as an apology.
Finding something to laugh about at work makes your time there so much better! Studies show when employees are having fun, productivity goes up.
This is a good thing.
However, be in tune with your company culture and joke accordingly. Know what is appropriate and stay within those parameters.
The last thing you want to do is damage a good working relationship.
Also, refrain from using your work email or social media accounts to share jokes.
Special occasions automatically call for many laughs. Weddings, graduations, baptisms, anniversaries, and birthdays are all celebrated enthusiastically.
But it can take only one snarky remark or offensive joke to dampen the celebratory mood.
Keep special occasions on a positive note by sharing only lighthearted comments. Remember, you are in attendance to celebrate a person or an achievement. It is difficult to feel celebratory when the honoree is insulted or embarrassed.
If someone is invited who may deflate the celebration, establish some house rules and find a time to share them with this person.
However, note this person’s strengths – perhaps he is a marvelous storyteller – and ask that his talents turn in that direction. He may feel complimented to have his gift recognized.
It can happen anywhere. Someone asks a question that should have remained unasked.
The answer in cases like this? Humor!
A friend of mine was single for many years. She wanted to be in a relationship and was always uncomfortable when someone commented on her unattached state.
Then, at a family gathering, a relative asked her, “Why aren’t you married yet?”
She replied, “Oh gosh! I keep forgetting to put that on my list.”
Everyone within earshot began laughing, and she was able to laugh with them. Not only did she feel better about the situation, but that was the last time she was asked that question.
By the way, she is now very happily married.
We all know on some level what is appropriate and what is not appropriate when telling jokes.
If you get the feeling anyone will be offended or insulted by what you are about to say, it is best not to say it. Especially if it falls within one of these subjects:
When you tease someone, make sure you have permission to do so. If the person recognizes the shortcoming or issue, and has commented – and laughed – about it, you likely have permission to mention it, too.
Keep your teasing lighthearted, and brief. One or two sentences is enough. And make sure the object of your teasing is laughing before you laugh.
The last thing you want to do is damage a relationship by overdoing it and making your friend or family member feel insulted.
They say laughter is the best medicine, so keep your sense of humor intact and share it with others.
But keep your humor positive. Insulting, offending, and making people uncomfortable will not win friendships.