I was sharing a meal with a friend the last night and we were talking about how some people will say something directed toward you that’s a “joke”, but you can tell there’s more to it.
As we were talking about this I had this thought, “Humor is sometimes the ‘Trojan Horse’ for truth (or at least their version of ‘truth’).”
Rather than just come right out and say what they’re thinking, they attempt to mask it within a joke. This provides them with the “I was only joking,” escape hatch should you call them on it. I keep using the word “they”, but I know I’m guilty of using this tactic, as well.
This is a sad commentary on our lack of interpersonal relationships. Instead of really knowing each other and being able to just talk – straight up – we encode our discussion and then duck out when the tension gets too high.
I’m gonna throw the b/s flag* on this type of interaction. We can do better than this. We can be real. However, to get there we will need to take the time to really get to know each other.
Today’s Good News is that when we take the time to develop these types of deep relationships, we can feel safe to take off our “masks”. We can be ourselves. We can challenge each other in ways that are intended to build up, not cut down – and we can do it without having to thinly veil our thoughts behind a “joke”.
Wouldn’t it be worth the time investment with a few people in your life to create a safe space to be yourself and be able to deal with real life in real ways. I think this is a no-brainer. If you’ll take the time to develop these relationships, you’ll find friends who can really help you grow towards being the person you really want to be – and you won’t have to try and decipher what they’re telling you because they’ll just give it to you straight. And you can do the same for them.
If you have at least a few people like this in your life, you’ll be well on your way to creating a healthy community around you – and that’s Good News!
* I don’t remember exactly when I started using the expression “throw the b/s flag” but it’s something I’d say when someone was beating around the bush or if I thought what was going on was just wrong. It’s a way of calling out the use of “Trojan Horses” in our discussions and making the point that we can just say what we mean. It’s like the red challenge flag in pro football – it means let’s stop and take a closer look at what’s going on.
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