ARTICLES

#10

WHEN A PERSON IS CALLED ON THEIR COMMENTS OR JOKES, THEIR  RESPONSE IS "IT'S ONLY A JOKE" OR “CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”

 

Humour is very particular and one person’s knee-slapper may be another person’s horror. We’re allowed to have different thoughts on humour and no one should feel they have to find something funny if they don’t (especially just to “fit in”). But that’s if something really was supposed to be funny in the first place and it is just chalked up to a different sense of humour.

 

However, a very different situation arises when humour is used inappropriately with a rude comment or a tasteless joke. The problem with a person saying “can’t you take a joke” is that’s it is often completely disarming to the person who is trying to stop comments that are unwelcome, at least in the workplace. When someone says “it’s only a joke”, the person speaking up is put on the defensive, as if she did something wrong in the first place. People should be encouraged to speak their minds, without being dismissed.

 

Be prepared for someone to make this kind of comment, when you want to put a stop to something that is clearly not funny, or even if it may be funny, it’s objectionable to others.

 

TRY THIS:

 

When someone makes an inappropriate comment or joke, let him know it’s not funny. You can simply say “that’s not funny” or “why would you make an insensitive comment like that?” If you are then told “it’s just a joke” or “can’t you take a joke,” don’t get on the defensive. Let the person know there is nothing wrong with your sense of humour, but what he said wasn’t funny.

 

HOW ABOUT:

 

“I have a great sense of humour thanks very much, but that’s not funny.”

 

“It may seem funny to you, but to those who are the brunt of your ‘jokes’ I doubt they would find anything funny about that.”

 

“Can you explain to me why that’s funny? You see, I just think it’s offensive because it’s just a cheap shot at ____. But perhaps I’m missing something.”

 

 

Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP

 

If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.

Dealing with workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination to create a respectful workplace

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© STEPHEN HAMMOND - HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.    
 
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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

© STEPHEN HAMMOND HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.
 
  
 
CONTACT