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Thread: When is a joke not a joke anymore?

  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator Array kyuuei's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    Default When is a joke not a joke anymore?

    You hear it all the time.. jokes that may actually have a hint of truth beneath them.

    People, including myself, use jokes a lot to ease the tension and stress of life... but when do you personally cross the line?

    What brought up this thinking process was watching my sister and her husband joke around.. A lot of times they jokingly insult each other, and complain about one another.. but sometimes these jokes have caused actual fights as a result.

    I don't know if I could feel comfortable jokingly insulting or putting down my husband (hypothetical one of course..), especially not infront of other people though. Sometimes when I joke about things too much, it makes me wonder if that is grating on my mind subconsciously.

    Anyways, this topic isn't exclusive to marriage-related jokes. I've had people "joke" around with me, but I've felt insulted, and my intuition tells me that the insult was real even if the joke masked it as fake. At the same time, there are people who cope with the petty day-to-day irritations of others with jokes that avoid conflicts.

    What do you consider joking, and what is not a joke to you? Do you feel that people who are joking about serious topics that may be affecting them are coping with them, or hiding behind the humor?

    How easily are you hurt by jokes others point toward you?
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  2. #2
    Playnerd Array Timeless's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Nips away your dignity Array Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    I find this an interesting subject too. I regurlarly temper my jokes because I don't want the opposite than the desired effect a joke should have.

    Then again, I would like to say that I believe jokes should always be fine as long as no harm was intended. But it just doesn't work that way.

    You don't push someone off a flight of stairs and say it was just a joke and you didn't mean to actually harm the person. That's the physical example of a bad joke, but so can mental jokes be harmful to some people.

    What doesn't harm or hurt you, doesn't neccesarily not harm another person... Gosh why did the grammar on that sentence feel so awfully far off.

    Anyways, yeah, when is a joke not a joke anymore? Or what I'm interested in, which types are more capable of experiencing the full depths of INTP sarcasm and humor, and which types would more likely have problems with them. :P

    For the record, I'm not actually hurt by jokes, although I may argue about the ethicality of the joke if it brushes me the wrong way. And then it's usually met with a straight to the point yet witty and sarcastic counter arguement. And as for truth in jokes. All my jokes have some form of truth or relation in them. They may be quite obvious, or they may not be. But I don't find pointless humor funny.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    What do you consider joking, and what is not a joke to you?
    Anything can be turned into a joke but the results of joking can differ considerably because you never really know how things affect people. As you mentioned about your sister and her husband, people who are very close can get really nasty with each other and they can still laugh about these things and not turn them into a fight. Some things are "inside jokes" and there's this silent, mutual understanding of how far you can go.

    With people you don't know that well, it's quite difficult to know how far you can go. Trial and error, I guess.

    What is not a joke to me are things purposefully said to hurt people. Knowing very well that a particular thing is a soft spot for somebody but still using that as a material to get some laughs for yourself. Going on and on about some age-old thing. Humiliating somebody for their particular traits, something they have absolutely no control over. Something like that is just inconsiderate and distasteful, in my opinion.

    But, then again, if people have an understanding, such as old friends for example, their jokes may very well solely revolve around such jabs and it is acknowledged as a good tone. To each their own.

    I joke around a lot when I feel comfortable around people. And it can get very careless because the most random things trigger the jokes and I don't always consider the consequences. The blurt-things-out-put-foot-in-mouth-ASAP moments, because the object of my joking has no idea of the connections I've made that brought about the joke. Most of the time I only realize it afterwards and this results with me apologizing profusely and feeling bad for a really, really long time.

    Do you feel that people who are joking about serious topics that may be affecting them are coping with them, or hiding behind the humor?
    I think it can be both. People going through some rough times can use joking as a coping mechanism, to take the edge off the seriousness while still being completely aware of it.

    But it can also be the other way round when they don't ackowledge the seriousness of the matter and are simply deluding themselves with humour, avoiding dealing with it.

    How easily are you hurt by jokes others point toward you?
    I've noticed that sometimes I can take very harsh things very well. I can definitely appreciate a good banter, full on sarcasm and wit. But it depends on how "strong" or balanced I feel. Sometimes even the slightest, most innocent thing can throw me off the balance. And there are no telling signs when that can happen, it's only afterwards when something hits me really hard and then it brings me down for quite a long time. I can analyze it and try to rationalize my feelings but the negative feeling I experienced still lingers.

  5. #5
    mountain surfing Array nomadic's Avatar
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    where did all the durnk topics go

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    Magical Array BlackCat's Avatar
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    When someone gets hurt or offended too much (beyond annoyance).
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    Mr. Blue Array entropie's Avatar
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  8. #8
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Jokes tend to be an indirect form of communication. I have seen relationships where people mutually insult each other as a way of talking in opposites. It brings closeness in the same way play fighting in animals is based on trust.

    I think a lot of jokes can also be passive-aggression. It is a way to insult without having to take responsibility for it. A person doesn't have to feel anything to be passive-aggressive - that's part of the passive part.

    Although sometimes people are in a shallow, flighty mindset when they joke and so it doesn't really mean much. Unfortunately people can be hurtful out of obliviousness in this way.

    Without a baseline for communicating with someone it's pretty hard to know how they use humor. It tends to be best to assume the third option - that it is just flighty and not think there is any more meaning.

    The degree to which I'm hurt/not hurt is related to the level of trust with the person and just how funny the joke was.
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  9. #9


    Good topic. I know that I am guilty of periodically expressing things that I would not normally come right out and say directly, in the form of a joke. I don't know... I guess I am trying to communicate it in a way that is getting my point across, but at the same time not be as abrupt is it would feel if I just blurted it out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array INTP's Avatar
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    joke is not a joke if its not a joke
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