They say laughter brightens up life, therefore jokes were born! No, I just made that up, but it doesn’t sound too farfetched, does it? 😆
Jokes are everywhere in the world – in newspapers and magazines, on the internet, in social interactions, in movies and books – and they come in all sorts of forms – self-depreciating, teasing, ridiculous, etc. But humour is subjective; not everyone laughs at the same thing!
I remember when I was younger, my family used to spend the weekend evening watching sitcoms, and everyone would laugh except me. They would laugh at the punch lines and all I could think of is, “Wow, that was dumb. Why was that funny?” 😅
And now that I found out I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP), I learned HSPs and some jokes just don’t go well together. Some HSPs were even told to lighten up / grow up / grow a thicker skin / don’t be so sensitive / don’t take it personally, though I’m lucky enough to not hear that. 🙂
Then I began to wonder; am I sensitive to some jokes?
My Recent Experience with Satire
A few weeks ago, one of the blogs I follow (because of the positive messages the posts convey) suddenly wrote a long post full about a society issue; the gist of it was how homelessness were caused by the homeless people’s stupid financial decisions and should be pitted against each other in a life-or-death competition like the Hunger Games, where the winner would have earned their place in society and be given a house and financial support.
If it was a random article I stumbled upon, I would have stopped reading at the first paragraph and made a mental note never to go there again. But because it was a blog that I followed and this post was something way different from his usual ones, I gave it the benefit of doubt and read it all the way to the end… and I was sorry I did. 🙁
I’m sorry to say I felt very negative after reading it, the same way I would have felt if I came in prolonged contact with with a negative person. I spent a few bewildered minutes wondering what made the blogger write a post so vastly different from his usual ones. Was there something I missed?
Then I read the comments and found out it was a satire piece. Yep, satire. I scrolled up, and there, a tiny fine print, was the tag, “Satire.”
I get some people enjoy this sort of humour, but I don’t. To me, all I could think of while reading the satire piece was: how could all these suffering, the homelessness, the terror of a life-and-death situation in the form of a competition, be something to laugh about?
Sadly, when it comes to satire pieces, reactions like mine get responses like, “It’s a joke, it’s supposed to be funny. Lighten up!” 🙁
Too Sensitive to Jokes? Nope!
A recap about HSPs – we process things more deeply than non-HSPs, including feelings; it means we feel brightness / noise / pain / sadness / happiness / love / blah blah more strongly than non-HSPs do. Life feels as though the volume for everything is turned up to high!
The key phrase here is: we process feelings strongly. Jokes that are made at the expense of others (fear-inducing pranks, teasing, etc) make me empathise with the subject of the joke rather than laughing with the joker; hurt on behalf of the subject, anger at the joker for being mean and maybe even cruel, sad that such a thing is something to laugh about. We already have so much negativity in this world, why add to it?
It seems I’m not the only one who thinks so:
There was a video going around a while back where a husband pretended to drop his baby from a stairway inside his house. It was a prank on his wife who didn’t know it was a trick. I hate that shit. How is causing someone terror funny?
~From A Highly Sensitive Person’s Life: Some Jokes Aren’t Funny
I shudder at the horror of being pranked that way. (Good thing my husband is not a prankster. 😅)
There are quite a few YouTube videos on pranks, some of them absurdly elaborate! There was one where pedestrians walking on an uphill urban road get the shock of their life as they came face to face with a gigantic boulder rolling down towards them; they’d run for dear life until they couldn’t anymore, only to find the boulder bounce harmlessly off them (maybe it was made out of paper mache?). To me, how terrifying it must have been for the pedestrians. 🙁
At this point you’re probably wondering if I have a sense of humour, and I’d say I definitely do! I enjoy jokes that aren’t self-depreciating, teasing or terrorising, that I can laugh together with whoever I’m with. 😀
What I Think
A sense of humour is subjective; what makes one laugh doesn’t mean it will make the next person laugh too. Just because the others tell us to lighten up / grow a thicker skin / don’t be so sensitive when we dislike a joke, it doesn’t mean we have to!
A joke is only really a joke if everyone listening to it genuinely laughs and no one gets hurt. We have enough negativity in this world; let’s spread some positivity and laughter instead. 😀
What do you think of this post? What kind of humour do you enjoy? Do comment below!
A Short Self-Compassionate Letter
It was wonderful how you spoke your mind as nicely as you could. ❤