Making fun of people you love.
People who do this - you do realize that this is hurtful, right? Based on conversations I've had with multiple folks on this topic, I've not had one person say to me, "Oh man, yeah, it really makes me feel good about myself when someone I love makes a joke at my expense!"
And, if you answered yes to this question, let me ask you some deeper follow up questions.These questions also apply to you if you are feeling a little bit offended and called out because this is your favorite or only type of humor.
If this is you, or you're a person who "likes" when someone picks on you, I invite you to look a little bit deeper at why that is:
Was this the sort of humor your parents used on you when growing up?
(for the purposes of this blog, I'm gonna use my own name in all examples, but these are all things I have heard from friends of all ages. Most of the time these examples have lead to lifelong phobias or fears. Yes, this type of humor cuts that deeply. That's simply how my brain is and I am tired of masking it or apologizing for getting my feelings hurt. It took up a lot of space in my brain that is much better used for other things.)
"Oh my god, Jacki! YOU MADE A TYPO. Holy shit, let me point it out immediately! HAHAH. How could you make such a mistake?!"
This one happened a lot - to me personally and to people I cared about. The worst part of this "joke" is that I was also a regular participant in doing it to other people - despite knowing how shitty it made me feel every single time it happened to me.
Why did I do this? To quote my boy Patrick Bateman:
Because I wanted to fit in.
At that time, there was very little that was more important to me than fitting in socially, so I did some really mean and gross things that I am ashamed about now that I've done some work on myself.
But at that time I joined in on all kinds of mean-spirited "jokes" because the people in that community that I looked up to were making them (at the expense of others, And I wanted them to like me, so I joined in.
Sometimes these "jokes" could go as far as keeping people from doing things that are good for them - me included.
Over the years, particularly in the years I spent on the "webbored" where I met the bulk of my lifelong adult friends, there were so many things I wouldn't post or comment because I was afraid I had broken some invisible rule and would get reamed for it.
By my friends.
And then I would turn around and do the same thing to them, because, "that's what friends do."
Guess what I have discovered as a started actually liking myself and setting boundaries based on how I actually feel rather than how I'm "supposed to feel"?
I have discovered that this is NOT what friends do.
Well, the "Friends" friends do it, but we all know they were horrible people by now, right? Like, I rewatch a lot of television, but I do not think I will ever be able to force myself to slog through "Friends" again.
But enough of about fake people, let's get back to real life!
I have been able to grow so many incredible friendships since I stopped putting pressure on finding and calling out flaws or making "jokes" at other people's expense. Or looking for my own flaws internally so I can process the hurt before the people around me were able to hurt me.
Mostly, it's because our energies are more focused on being good friends and lifting each other up, or talking about things we are truly passionate about.
It takes less energy than the other stuff, I promise you.
It quiets a lot of the noise in your brain - or at least it did for me. I think that's because I'm not constantly worried if I "Went too far" or "was too mean". Not to mention, the previously mentioned voice that spent so much time preparing me to get hurt in ever more hurtful ways,
Yeah, I have a great imagination that could come up with some really biting insults for myself. Now, I know I was doing too much, but my friends were also insanely creative and, though I tried, I rarely could predict the very specific manner in which there jokes would hurt me.
It was all for naught really. My brain was spitting out these personal insults in a way to prepare myself for them and a lot of times they never came.
Letting go of that particular brain spin has been really liberating and insanely good for myself esteem.
So, if you have a similar brain spin going on, I invite you to spend some time with it and try to figure out the root cause - and then decide if that root cause is worth the spins.
It's probably not, honestly.
Here's the thing about pointing out other people's flaws - THEY ALREADY KNOW. They probably already beat themselves up so much for whatever thing you want to poke fun at.
Why would you want to add to that misery?
To show them love?
For me, skip the flawed joke and just tell me.
Just tell your friends you love them. I mean, if you actually do.