Gauging When Humor Is Appropriate

David Granirer, Counselor, discusses how to gauge when humor is appropriate.

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David Granirer, Counselor, discusses how to gauge when humor is appropriate.
Video transcript

Featuring David Granirer, Counselor

Video Title: Gauging Appropriate Humor and when is it Appropriate Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

To gauge whether or not your humor is appropriate or inappropriate, first of all, it’s a good idea to see what’s going on around you and how people are using humor. It’s also a good idea to see how commonplace that humor is, because there are a lot of exceptions.

Sometimes, there’s a person in an organization, a certain person who seems to get away with using humor that would be inappropriate, and yet if someone else tries it, everyone would jump all over them, so it’s not a fair world. It’s not an even playing field, so you need to feel your way around.

If it’s commonplace, if lots of people are doing it, chances are you’re okay. However, if it’s just one person and they seem to be a special exception, you better watch it because that exception may not extend to you.

If you’re in a situation where you get it wrong, it’s really important to apologize immediately and indicate that you understand that you did something that crossed the line. Inappropriate humor may be something that you see as funny, like, giving a gift.

However, if that gift contains a sexual message – especially if a man gives it to a woman coworker – that can get you in a lot of trouble. If you’re giving a gift and you want it to be humorous, far safer to give a rubber chicken or a pair of Groucho Marx glasses. That keeps you safe and can’t be seen as something sexual or harassing.

Anytime that people are trying a new thing, like a new sense of humor or a new gag, sometimes they tend to go overboard. It’s a good idea, if you’re trying something new and you’re not sure, and there isn’t a precedent for that in your workplace, maybe run it by someone.

Maybe run it by your supervisor, your HR person, just to make sure that you’re within the bounds of that organization’s sense of humor.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Counselor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.