Have you ever cracked a joke and then immediately regretted it? Well ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a typical day in the life of Haley. Ever since I can remember, I have valued having a sense of humor over any other characteristic. I believe that humor helps make someone more approachable, relatable, and easy-going. The one problem with this? Different people find different things funny. For example, making a joke about the disgraced Subway spokesperson, Jared, might not be the best idea at your kid’s parent-teacher conference. Or, let’s say you make a political joke at work. This is one of those things that can go either way. Overall, it’s probably better not to discuss politics with your coworkers. I know that’s easier said than done when it comes to our most recent presidential election, but you never know who you might alienate politically. Long story short, this is where I’ve learned (and am still learning) on where and when you should and shouldn’t be funny.
When It’s Okay to Be Funny
Again, this is something that I struggle with every day, but I would say that most social situations and outings are okay to be funny in. Usually your friends will appreciate your twisted sense of humor, or else they probably would have stopped hanging out with you a long time ago. I personally feel okay making most jokes in front of my friends, boyfriend, and family. My friends and family can make equally disturbing jokes as I do, so I feel like they’re not supposed to judge me. I could be wrong about that though. They’re probably reading this right now and disapproving as we speak (hahaha sorry guys)!
I think it’s great to be funny when it comes to fulfilling your passions. If you’re a naturally funny person, don’t hide that part of you when it comes to the things you love! Hiding your humor is like hiding a giant piece of you. Your passions could include writing, drawing, creating objects, participating in clubs, or a number of things. A lot of the time, your humor is directly linked to your creativity, so don’t shut that out. That’s literally a suicide mission when it comes to creating great things.
One area where I think you should be hysterical is in social media, BUT WITHIN REASON. There are certain guidelines I try to live by when it comes to my social media (which you can find here), but even I can mess up on this sometimes. Towards the end of being a college student, I was so obsessed with keeping all of my social profiles squeaky clean and boring just for the purpose of finding a job. I ended up finding that not only was I losing my online identity, but I was also blending in with every other professional marketing consultant out there (except without the paid followers). This is an area where I feel like you should be different levels of funny depending on the platform. Twitter I keep my humor very PG only because my account is public, and I’ve made professional connections on there. I’m more likely to poke fun at myself on Instagram, because it’s a great way to visually show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. On Facebook, I’m more likely to not hold back on my humor. I keep my Facebook account very private and most of my “friends” are actually friends from either a past lifetime, or my life currently. This is where I share memes, rant about my day in a comedic fashion, or post an animal rescue video. The last part isn’t funny, but it makes me feel happy and isn’t something you’ll catch me doing on other social platforms. Whereas if you looked at my LinkedIn, I’m not funny at all. I might link to something where I am funny, but there I want to look like a boring Joe Schmoe (with an impressive background) to other professionals who might consider hiring me one day.
When It’s Not Okay to Be Funny
This can get really tricky fast, but I believe you should only be a quarter as funny than you normally are at work. Unless you work in the field of comedy, you want to keep things professional. More importantly, you never want to offend your boss, your coworkers, or your clients! I have the tendency to connect with my coworkers shortly after starting a job, so it’s hard not to crack a joke here and there. Sometimes I still say something that I immediately regret. I think people tend to be shocked when something funny comes out of my mouth, because I like to be quiet and overly professional when I’m new. Even when I do crack a joke in a professional setting, I try my best to not make it offensive and make myself the butt of the joke. Every work situation is different, but you never want someone to misconstrue what you said. That’s how you end up in the HR office with a warning, and NOBODY wants that.
In general, it’s not a good idea to show off your humor in important ceremonies. This could be a religious service, a graduation, a wedding, you name it. A lot of these types of events have a reception or meal that takes place shortly after that allow you to be the life of the party. Trust me, you don’t want to offend someone’s culture simply due to a pun that was on the tip of your tongue. Even after the ceremony you need to be careful how you behave. One embarrassing speech is almost as bad as wearing white to a wedding that you’re not the bride in.
If there’s one thing that watching Judge Judy has taught me, is that it’s never okay to be funny in front of law enforcement. Have you ever noticed that the quiet people in her courtroom are more successful in not paying legal fees? That’s because they’re smart! Any person who is a part of our judicial system typically demands respect. If you make too many jokes in a situation involving the law, you either won’t be taken seriously or will be labeled as inconsiderate. My advice? Hold back from the Cops and Law and Order references that you’re just dying to say out loud and focus on getting out of that ticket.
When to show off your sense of humor is a fine line to walk. I hope my advice is helpful in this matter and trust me, I’m still learning too.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
What’s a time when you immediately regretted cracking a joke?