“Just kidding”

Be prepared, long rant ahead.

Joking. I’m all for it.

I love being silly with Alun and my friends.

Dad used to tell the worst “Dad jokes”. I wanted so badly to have no reaction, so I didn’t encourage him, but I couldn’t help but smile, which would make Dad cheer and then we’d both be laughing. Loved those moments.

To be able to share jokes and laughter with people is kind of magical. Laughter diffuses tough situations and brings people together ❤️ I love a good joke, me.

What I don’t like – is a “joke” that’s hurtful.

When someone says something insulting like: “Haha great choice of clothing today – NOT! Hahaha!” I don’t like that. That’s not a joke. I don’t like people joking about sexuality, gender, disabilities, poverty – none of that is funny to me.

What gets me the most angry, in fact – are the “jokes” people play on each other that make no fucking sense.

I’ve had 2 instances of such “Jokes” and this morning heard from my friend “Alex” that she did a similar thing to a really nice guy. It wound me up so much that I have to write about it and get this anger off my chest.

The first time someone played a joke on me which wasn’t funny was when Jill (a co worker) and I went to lunch. As we were paying the bill and picking up our handbags, Jill casually “joked”: “Haha thanks for the belated birthday lunch, Janet”.


Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I was too sensitive about it. Maybe a lifetime of having my parents forget my birthday but making a big deal of my brother’s birthdays guided my response; which might have been totally different if I hadn’t had the past I have, but when Jill said that, I paused and frowned.

I was worried.

Concerned, I asked “Oh no – when was your birthday?”

Jill looked everywhere but at me. That should have been a dead give away, but I was so busy wrapped up in the past pain of having my birthday forgotten that I was already mentally berating myself for forgetting Jill’s birthday (I didn’t know when it was, but at the time that didn’t come to mind…I was convinced I was a bad friend who had forgotten) and was desperately trying to make amends.

“Forget it, Janet – it’s no big deal” Jill replied; suddenly in a hurry to get back to work. She was in so much of a race, in fact, that Jill said “I’ve gotta go – I’ll see you back at the office” and took off at great speed without me. We usually walked back together. There was more than enough time to be back within our lunch hour.

I blame myself immediately when things go wrong. It’s my default. So I took Jill’s haste to get away as a sign I had really stuffed things up and had hurt my co worker.

Oh no.

So, on my way back to the office, I messaged all the girls in a group chat about putting on a birthday afternoon tea for Jill that very afternoon. All the girls were on board, and each offered to contribute food, bless them.

“Thank you all so much!” I messaged. “I’ll get the cake and decorations”

I stopped at a few stores and a florist on the way back to my desk, spent $100 all up on the cake, flowers, ballons, banners and gifts (!!!) and gleefully invited Jill to the kitchen at 3:30pm that afternoon.

Jill walked in, we all yelled “Surprise!” and staff blew party poppers.

Jill laughed and laughed “Haha guys, it’s not my birthday until the end of the year! What is all this for?”

Everyone looked at me.

“You said at lunch that I forgot your birthday” already the lie and betrayal was setting in and tears had sprung to my eyes. I had to swallow hard past the lump in my throat to continue taking “I felt so bad I’d missed your birthday – so I organised this birthday afternoon tea for you”

The room had fallen silent. You could have heard a pin drop.

“Ahahaha you silly thing!” Jill said – overly brightly “Come on, let’s just enjoy. The cake looks awesome. Bet it’s someone’s birthday somewhere, am I right? Hahaha”

Thankfully, that broke the tension, and the kitchen came alive with staff getting plates, sharing meals and talking…all ok.

But inside, I was so fucking embarrassed and so deeply hurt.

How was this a joke?

I’d spent my time and money – and been made a fool of – in front of the whole office – for a joke?!? Really???

A similar situation happened again a few years later when a colleague said over instant messaging that it was “his last day at work” and he was “going back to Uni tomorrow”. I had no idea. I immediately congratulated Adam and said how I’d miss him at work because I considered him a friend.

“Shall we go out for drinks after work to see you off, man?” I messaged.

“Nah, I just want to leave quietly” he messaged back.


So that afternoon, I spent $50 on a gift voucher for Adam, bought a huge “farewell” card, got everyone in the call centre to sign it (this meant I got over 100 staff to cooperate which is a pretty huge feat in itself!) and presented Adam with both just as the work day was ending.

“Oh wow. Um…thanks Janet” Adam looked as if he wasn’t sure what to do.

It’s ok, dude. I get uncomfortable too when given gifts. I get it.

But this was different. Adam looked…uneasy.

Finally, he said “I’m not leaving the job, Janet – I was just joking“.

I felt like a tonne of rocks had landed on me.

You fucking WHAT?!?

“But you said…quite a few times (I’d asked him to confirm about 3 times because of the previous Jill episode years earlier and he had confirmed “yes, I’m really leaving” each time) that you were leaving?”

By now, curious little heads were popping up over the Covid barriers all across the office.

Again, I felt so ashamed.

“Can’t you take a joke?” Adam seemed to be addressing the room and not me – getting people onto his side and making me feel isolated and stupid.

“I don’t understand that joke” again, tears. I felt so angry and hurt.

Those 2 events will forever stay with me. I don’t know if I’m over dramatic and read too much into these “jokes” but each time, it really hurt me. It damaged and scarred me and each time, I lost out financially AND emotionally 💔

Which leads to this morning.

My friend Alex is “sort of” seeing a guy. We’ll call him “Todd”. Apparently, they’re “friends with benefits.” Todd sounds like a decent bloke. He takes Alex on dates, pays for meals, plays games with her for hours, is there for Alex when she’s had a tough day, and is a polite, sweet guy.

Alex was laughing in her messages to me earlier this morning – that she’d played a joke on Todd and told him she had a boyfriend.

Alex sent screenshots of text messages back and forth between her and Todd after her dropping the “I have a boyfriend” bomb. Todd was surprised and hurt. He voiced it politely. He asked how long Alex had had this boyfriend for. She said a few months. Todd said he was hurt by that and would have preferred to know sooner. Alex said it was no big deal. Todd said it “kind of is, though” and about 20 messages later, when it’s clear Todd is in distress, Alex sends a line of laughing emojis and says “Haha fooled you, you dick!”

At this point in the screenshots she’s sent, Alex asks me to validate her. She wants me to comfort and support her in winding poor Todd up.

I can’t, guys. I can’t do it. I don’t want to support Alex in this utter bullshit, I in fact want to strangle her.

Poor Todd. My heart goes out to you.

“He’s such a dickhead, I was just joking” Alex texted me.

I haven’t texted back.

I’m too angry and anything I say now will come from that anger, so I’m blogging about it instead.

Honestly? I’m absolutely appalled.

How is it ok to “joke” like this with each other??? To someone’s detriment??? What about that is funny to people???

How are people like Todd and I supposed to move on from being made fools of for someone’s entertainment?!? How is it funny to put someone in a place of confusion and distress???

I’m not ok with this and wish I had the balls to tell Alex what I really felt without cursing or being hurtful… but no. The people pleaser in me wants to say, “Sure. Haha. Funny joke, Alex. You showed him.”

…while inside I’m seething.

I’m disgusted with Alex’s behaviour to be honest.

But I don’t have the courage to tell Alex, so instead I’ll rant to my online blogging community:

Jokes that hurt someone are not jokes at all.

They are a cowardly way of having a dig at someone without taking any responsibility for the outcome. That’s what I really think.

If you play pranks or “jokes” like that on the people in your life who care about you, then I will lose a lot of respect for you because personally, I think “jokes” like that…are scum – and so are you for telling them.

Grow up. Honestly.

Rant over.

16 responses to ““Just kidding””

  1. I agree, but I also don’t. For me, I don’t joke like that, I vent like that. My boss is driving me crazy, I give him two warnings and then I tell him I quit and I get my stuff and leave. I generally end up taking about 20 minutes and going back, and he knows it, so he labels it as a “joke.” It’s not, I’m serious lol

    He thinks it’s a cute joke to compliment my hair or clothes when he wants something. It makes me super uncomfortable – not because of sexual harassment or anything like that, but because I know that he’s going to ask me to do something miserable like run errands. I just don’t know what it is yet because he leads with the flirty compliment voice.

    On the flip side, every so often, I joke back at him. He tells me that I look beautiful, stunning, and downright sexy and I’ll shoot back a suggestion to meet me in the conference room in 20. He KNOWS I’m not serious, but it freaks him out so bad he runs away. Literally, runs away.

    I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but it feels similar to me.

    And a suggestion: don’t let people throw you off like that. You don’t have to spend money, or go all out for a coworker’s birthday; get a card and give it to them. If someone is leaving, get a card or tell everyone that they told you they were leaving and to email them a kind message. You passed the word on, and provided a card from yourself and maybe a few others, and then it does its thing. If it’s real, literally everyone said goodbye. If it’s not, they have about 800 emails to get through based on an unfunny joke. You are out precisely as much as it cost to buy the singing card. And the card from you plus the influx of emails lets them know PRECISELY what caused it. They will have a much more difficult time explaining it away. You won’t feel like the butt of the joke, they will. Best type of joke ever! When a person like that gets bitten by their own punchlines.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think in the case of you and your boss, you both know what’s going on, so the jokes are understood and noone leaves hurt. I mean more “jokes” where someone clearly gets distressed/wound up just so someone can “have a laugh”. They’re not cool.

      Thank you for your suggestion, I’ll follow it because then I only lose the cost of a card and hopefully the “joker” can then explain to others why they felt lying about a random thing was ok to do.

      I didn’t explain it fully, but in both occasions where I got jipped, it was part of our office culture to throw big parties/ make a big deal of occasions that are special. For my birthday in the office with Jill, the whole company (2 floors and about 160 employees) threw a huge party for me with big cakes, flowers, expensive presents, decorations all over my desk and throughout our work kitchen…so when I threw a party for Jill, it was in keeping with what we “usually” did.

      Still, I need to hold back and do a lot less – whether it’s office culture or not…that way it doesn’t break my heart.

      Thank you for reading and giving your patented Sage advice, Marla. I really appreciate it xx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s actually important information, but for you. The office culture is to throw these big things… as in the whole office does it. You decided to do it yourself and then were hurt because of it. You bring the card. If everyone else things “oh wow!” Everything happens, but now the whole office is furious at them for lying… er, “joking”. No one person threw your shindig, it’s not your job to throw one either. You acknowledge a work friend’s accomplishments, but you do not set yourself up for embarrassment either. A coworker tells you they got a great job offer and they are going to submit their resignation. You don’t go out and buy the whole state, you wait until they submit their two weeks to tell everyone. Why? That offer might fall through. You don’t want to celebrate a milestone that didn’t actually happen. Same with those two situations. You took it upon yourself to celebrate milestones that you felt deserved to me marked for celebration, but you didn’t wait to find out whether it was worth celebrating or not.

        A gentle suggestion from one friend to another: I understand your pain based on your childhood. I respect it’s a wound you still carry, although I wish I could take it from you. But it’s not your job to create the childhood you did not have for every single person on earth. Someone tells you that you missed their birthday, you are not an epic failure of a person, you’re just a person. You goofed up. This person is not your nearest and dearest (or it would have been marked in a calendar) so it doesn’t deserve guilt. So, without crushing guilt, apologize (and mean it) and offer to make it up to them. Not with a surprise party and 1,000 guests, but take her out for drinks after work.

        Or better yet, pick a charity you like (not political. Something everyone would support like Make A Wish Foundation here, or March of Dimes). Every single time you goof up and that guilt comes to you, you do not rush out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that will be consumed, destroyed, and thrown out in less than an hour. You make a donation to that charity in honor of the person you feel that you have wronged. Present them with your gift of donation for whatever the occasion is. In the end, if it really was something you missed, you’ve made up to it by bringing hope to many and that person gets to know that a donation to a great cause was made in their honor. If it was a “joke” the worst that happened was that you made a donation to a charity you really support.

        This way, nothing passes unmarked so the inner child in you doesn’t have to fear, and things that are marked erroneously due to “jokes” don’t make you feel like a fool, but rather a person that made lemonade out of lemons. The “jokester” not getting cake is just a side benefit 😂


        Liked by 2 people

      2. Love this response, Marla. You are a wise woman and it’s helping me see things with a clearer view, definitely. I love the idea too of donating to charities for that person if I feel the need to celebrate them or make amends for missing an important occasion.

        I think what hurts me so much in all of this is that I feel bad for being generous. I feel stupid for wanting to make a friend happy because I go all out. If I was more selfish and just said “oh good for you, buddy”, then I wouldn’t lose out so much. If I wasn’t myself and had a tougher skin, I wouldn’t get hurt so often.

        You’ve pointed out some important things, though and I really appreciate it. I know since losing my Dad that I’ve gone into my shell and don’t actively celebrate anything a work colleague tells me any more – not even a card. I’ll just send a nice picture of a daisy from Google along with a polite message “Go you!” “Congratulations” “Happy birthday” and not bother with anything else. It’s meant a more peaceful year in terms of feeling like the butt of a ‘joke’ but makes me sad that to achieve this, I’ve had to maintain professional distance.


      3. At the end of the day, whether you’re the recipient of a bad joke or not, the only way you can ever be happy is to be unapologetically you. You’re generous and giving and kind. Pushing that into a box doesn’t help you, it hurts you. You’re forcing yourself to be what you’re not.

        STOP IT.

        You’re an amazing, warm, caring person. Other people might not see it as clearly as you do, or I can see, or anyone here on WP. Imagine being afraid of being a butt of a joke on here and having a blog that says nothing and you never reach out to anyone you follow because you might get upset. That’s how your living your life. Don’t do that to yourself, and don’t take a way a blessing that others around you can benefit from.

        Instead, find better ways to go all out. Instead of gifts and cake, donate. Instead of a cold image from Google, a singing card that made you laugh. Be you. Just switch up how you do it so that you don’t go broke, and no matter which way it turns out, you can still be happy with the result. I had a friend that hated missing birthdays of friends, but could never, ever remember one. She would consistently be confused when you’d wish her happy birthday on her birthday. It’s how her brain was wired. She’d feel terrible for missing it, hug, statements of love, and sharing a snack at lunch would be how it would ultimately be celebrated. But she would volunteer. Every time she got it wrong, she’d sign up for another 2 hours of volunteer work over what she already agreed to. She called it “punishment” and said it was making amends, but it wasn’t. It gave her joy to help others. She never forgot a day she scheduled to volunteer, she always forgot holidays and birthdays where it’s about gifts and cake. Those things weren’t important to her, volunteering was. And because she was important to me, I understood that. I also used it. At the beginning of the year, I’d sign up for two volunteer shifts with her (I volunteered for things on my own that interested me more, this was her thing). The two dates: her birthday and mine. It was a good way to spend my birthday, and I knew it was the best gift I could give her for hers. And she got it without me explaining; if I was there, it was one of our birthdays. If it was cold out, it was mine; warm weather meant hers. She never forgot my birthday again. Or hers. We both got more out of it than hanging in the couch talking about boys while eating cake could ever do.

        But that’s what I mean. Be you. That’s all you can be. That’s all any of us can ever be. Let your past define the person you are. Those painful moments made you realize how important they can be. You feel the need to celebrate them so that no one felt as you did. That’s all absolutely perfect and fits you from tip to tail. But how you react to it IS changeable. You can’t expect everyone to respond well to a huge thing, even you. Lessen the pressure, increase the likelihood that you’re doing something that makes you happy, and you have a recipe for joy instead of pain.

        Also, you should review your reactions. You tend to bury yourself in immediate guilt over an otherwise throw-away comment by someone else about things that are not that huge. Another birthday is not the same thing as the birth of a child. Guilt shouldn’t be on the menu, ever. Then the knee jerk “fix it immediately no matter the cost!!!” Bites you in the butt. Lessen the guilt and fix it in a way that makes both of you happy. Or at least, in a way that makes you happy and makes them feel like they can’t complain because you gave them a gift that they should want – like medical treatment for babies with cancer or something. The milestone is celebrated, therefore they are happy. You did the right thing, therefore you’re happy. And that kid? They’re thrilled.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Also, in the case of my boss and I, it is now an understood joke. Imagine the first few times it happened. My boss randomly walked up to me and started complimenting me. I was convinced a doctor called and spoke to him to tell him to break the news gently that I was dying. The first time I did a basic smart-Alec wink-wink-nudge-nudge reply actually really did freak him out. He attempted to avoid me for two days 🤣🤣🤣 Once he realized I wasn’t chomping at the bit to bare his brats, he settled down. He also felt he received confirmation that I wasn’t going to attack him and steal his sperm when he overheard me talking to a coworker about her bf. He was dipping and ditching because he wanted her to chase him, but she was kind of over it. She just wanted him to stop. I offered some of my “patented sage advice” and told her to just tell him no. He’s one of those guys that say nonsense like humans being better than animals because of thumbs, air conditioning and guns. I told her to use his logic. Humans are better than animals for those reasons, ok; humans have evolved more because of those things to be where the female isn’t the one who needs to be prowling around in the hunt and chasing prey. The men need to do it now because us pampered humans find it annoying and not worth the energy expended for the crappy results. At least in the animal kingdom they get to eat after that much effort. What do we get? A guy? Pfft. Nah, thanks anyway.

        He over heard it and thought that I was talking about him and why I didn’t chase him around the office in the last few weeks waving my empty uterus over my head begging for his help in making it be not empty for approximately 9 months. He felt safe because I was too lazy to chase him. I haven’t the heart to clarify that it was about the other woman’s bf and not him. I also don’t have the heart to inform him that he is probably the last bipedal being on this planet that I would ever consider for any reason other than friend/boss, and even then, I’d probably think about circus bears and dogs above the option he thought I initially meant. As far as my empty uterus, that’s a choice I made and continue to make. His “masculine musk” (his grotesque explanation as to why he felt I couldn’t contain myself and was serious) is not enough to make me change everything about what I want in life so I can be saddled with a mini-him for life.

        I also want to clarify: I love my boss. As a cousin/half-brother kind of thing. He thinks of me the same. So every time a comment came up where it made us feel like the other was being creepy or gross, it made it exponentially more creepy and gross. Like ewww, dude, you’re my cousin/brother/boss. Why are you paying attention to my hair???? Since I’m the HR department in the company, and he’s my direct HR supervisor (it’s a teeny weeny company with only 3 employees), HR fielding the situation wasn’t likely since the whole program was equally grossed and skeeved out as we were. I felt that clarification would help so you have some idea what I’m talking about lol

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I love your clever satire in this response, Marla. I laughed at the mental image of you waving your uterus around. Now THIS is humour. THIS is something I can laugh and applaud at “well done you – funny!”. You’re incredible at describing a situation and I think you and your boss probably make a great team – especially now that you’re both on the same page with jokes and how inappropriate you guys can be with each other until it’s “gross” or “too far” 🙂 we spend SO MUCH of our days/weeks at work; may as well do our best to make it a happy place to be, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes! I agree. Not every coworker is worthy of that kind of closeness, but the ones that are are worth it all the way. I’m lucky that all of the coworkers in the two offices are worth it. Wasn’t always the case, but some staff changes created an amazing environment. The “newbie” has worked with us for about three months now. He was the “newbie” because he had just started and because he had just passed the exam and got licensed as a lawyer. He was also quiet, reserved, and sweet. All of that screamed that he was not one of us. I can’t fix when he got hired. I can’t fix how long he’s been practicing. I CAN fix the quiet and polite part. I devised an evil plan and got everyone else in the building in on it. It was a joke, and it would bother him immensely, but it needed to happen. We all worked tirelessly at being as annoying as we possibly could be to him and him alone. We made sure that even if we wanted to torture each other, we didn’t unless he had no chance of hearing us. He felt singled out and it wore on his nerves for the two days it lasted. Finally he snapped and screamed that we were all horrible and he hated us. He clearly was surprised and felt bad for the outburst, but those feelings lasted about 15 seconds. We all just stared at him for those 15 seconds waiting for whatever came next. Nothing was forthcoming so all at once we said “welcome to the family!” And we got lunch that we all paid for from a restaurant that he wanted. During that lunch, we were slightly ribbing on him, but he was coming out swinging each time. He realized “too far” wasn’t a thing and that we promote anything resembling “kitty got claws.” Now, he’s experienced enough in his job to go anywhere he wants and make a lot more money, and he threatens to quit about 20x a day. But he won’t. Not without good reason. And when he eventually does, we will send him off with reminders that his new bosses will realize he’s a shitty lawyer, a rotten coworker, and a photocopier murderer with toner on his hands and he’ll be back. Clear in that sentiment is that he is OUR shitty lawyer, OUR rotten coworker, and OUR copy killer. More clear than any of it is the fact that he knows none of it is true.

        We all torment each other so we don’t go play in traffic.

        As far as the uterus, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It is a funny image to be sure, but it’s also way more accurate than you could imagine.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Geez, obviously after the “Jill debacle” word probably got around how overly sensitive you can be. So Adam thought to test the water and it happened again. In no way am I justifying their behavior but just trying to look at it from their perspective. Joking like this had serious consequences at my job. Being bipolar my wife has a very hard time keeping her emotions in check. An insensitive bitch co-worker (who i might add since the company made the office manager HR has recently found herself in hot water for her actions towards others) told my wife one lunch (when my wife still worked with me) that she needs to grow up, grow a pair and take a joke otherwise whats the point of life Ha Ha. Things never to say someone with a history of suicidal thoughts. My wife took a plastic knife and started to try to slice her wrists then and there, but i managed to take away said knife. She ended up inpatient not soon after.
    So you have every reason to NOT side Alex, to me jokes like this are truly harmful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart goes out to your wife, Matt. I felt so sad seeing her driven to hurt herself by the insensitive co-worker. Words aren’t just “nothing”, they have an affect on those receiving them and in the case of your lovely wife – or people like me with a history of mental illness – take these things seriously and as you say, it leads to serious consequences.

      Is your wife ok?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh this wasn’t recent. It was maybe 2012 at that time she was my fiance (that same coworker, the day before our wedding tried to convince my wife that men in the long run are all scum (this coworker survived a shooting from an ex husband), well this non scum guy is going strong at 13 yrs a couple & 10 yrs married.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also my wife was one of many who were let go in 2018 (having gone on to working as a low paying/no benefits/no PTO/ever changing schedule/ Overworked Caregiver to the elderly to a better paying/steady schedule with benefits and PTO yet very few hours as an Activity Assistant in a Nursing home) both jobs suit temperament as one of the nicest/generous/caring people you will meet…yet both screwed her over to some degree.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m so sorry your wife was treated so badly 😢 that’s awful for someone who sounds really caring. Is your wife working now?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, still an activities Assistant

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You guys have been together the same time as my husband and I. Love that, Matt. You’re not just “non scum” (that coworker sounds like a nightmare, by the way), you’re artistic, creative and obviously doing something right in your successful marriage. I’m so proud of you xx

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thanks Janet, my wife and I are each others rocks, different life paths but also strangely paralell. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

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