You may have heard that laughing can be good for your health, but it depends on what you are laughing about. If you are hurting someone's feelings, humor can be a bad thing.
It's fun to laugh with your friends (as long as you are being positive). This could mean laughing at a funny joke or anything that isn't offensive to another person.
It's one thing to laugh with someone, but you know there is a problem if you are laughing at someone.
This is a form of bullying, and someone could get his or her feelings hurt. Even if the person you are laughing at does not know what you're doing, there are many ways they could find out.
Humor can also be hurtful if it's used in the form of gossip. Talking and laughing about someone behind their back is not a good idea. It is mean, even if the other person does not find out.
Some Subjects are Never Funny
Here is a list of topics that are never funny to joke about:
- Ethnic, racial or religious jokes
- Homophobic jokes (about LGBTQ people)
- Humor about a person's body part or appearance
Know where to draw the line.
It might be difficult to determine what kind of humor is OK. In some cases, it's fine to joke around with your friends if everyone knows you are joking.
If you say something that hurts someone’s feelings, tell them you’re sorry.
The Golden Rule
Here is a rule that will help you draw the line: If you have to ask yourself if what you are about to say might hurt someone, then do not say it.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last reviewed: June 2019