Remember when Taylor Swift won the Best Video by a Female Artist award at the VMAs. After receiving the award, she gave a speech. And it was a typical speech, with her thanking people and all. But mid-speech, this moment would become infamous.
Kanye West crashes the stage.
He grabs the microphone from Taylor. And tells her, in her face, for the whole world to watch, that Beyonce should have won the award. After that, Kanye shrugs his shoulders and walks off.
That moment was so cringe and awkward. Taylor stood there stunned and embarrassed. People didn't know what to make of this situation. Was Kanye delusional or inebriated?
But we all knew that the whole incident was painful to watch.
Another moment that is as painful for others is when you can't take a joke.
Being a stereotypical nerd, I was the butt of many jokes.
My peers called me many names. But the one I remember most is being called Urkel. I heard this joke many times from so many people that I ended up owning it.
And funny enough, the Urkell jokes stopped.
By unknowingly using some mental judo, I somehow stopped being the butt of that joke. Yet, I didn't capitalize on this mental judo, as other jokes still bothered me. Causing rifts and unnecessary emotional pain for me.
In this article, I will show how to avoid this pain. And it all has to do with being able to take a joke. Which counterintuitively will lead to others enjoying your company even more.
But let's first tackle what the signs are of not taking a joke.
The most obvious sign is when you get upset. And this requires no further explanation.
But another subtle sign that someone cannot take a joke is when they get defensive. For whatever reason, they defend themselves. Trying to plead their case why the joke/situation isn't true or not understood properly. Or by trying to get even in a poor manner.
So much effort is put into trying to dissuade others about the joke. That it looks a little overboard (and pathetic). And do this enough times, and you'll get some unfortunate consequences.
What are the consequences of not taking a joke?
First, when people know you can't take a joke, they will do this one thing: keep making you the butt of jokes!
Life hasn't changed much from the schoolyard. If you're easy to pick on, people will keep doing it.
Making things worse for you. But this doesn't have to be the case.
You got to learn how to take a joke.
The only way to take a joke is simple. It doesn't require Sun Tzu's mental manipulation or hardening of your heart. All that needs to be done is to laugh at yourself.
If you're being made of, you lean into it and laugh. If you're in on the joke, people can't keep picking on you. It takes away the power of making fun of you. Yet, it also gives you a subtle influence over others that most can't explicitly explain.
Taking a joke shows something implicit about you.
You are displaying that you have character. You are comfortable with yourself and know how to laugh at yourself. Only a mature and mentally strong person can do this.
Mentally weak people blow up on everything. Which is a sign of immaturity and, in many cases, foolishness.
When you're the person who can take a joke, people will naturally want to spend time with you. They know they can be themselves and not worry about you overreacting. Oddly enough, this makes being social much more effortless. As people will want to invite you out. This means you can meet new people and widen your social circle. Leading to all types of opportunities (career, dating, friends).
Even with all these benefits, some don't want jokes at your expense.
I get it.
Jokes can hurt. We're all emotional beings, and words can hurt. But, we must realize that sooner or later, jokes will be made about each of us.
That's human nature.
So instead of fighting it, why not just lean into it.
Not to get too corny.
It's mental judo, where we use our opponent's force to our advantage. So if we let the jokes land on us, accept them and laugh them off. Effectively turning the joke to your advantage.
But if you fight it, you will lose.
Where people will keep making fun of you. The only way for this to stop is when you accept being the butt of jokes. And trust me, people will stop since they realize it has no effect on you.
The Spartan King, Agesilaus, got picked on.
If you don't know who Agesilaus is, don't worry. I found him reading Plutarch Lives. Agesilaus was the king of Sparta from 399 to 358 B.C.
He was born with a lame leg.
Limiting some of his capabilities, he could live everyday life and participate in regular activities. Yet, growing up in Sparta was challenging, which is all about being disciplined and military. But his peers tried to make it worse for him by making fun of his lame leg.
But Agesilaus didn't mind.
In fact, he was the first to tease about it and make fun of himself. And his peers stopped with the jokes about his leg. Effectively offsetting the misfortune.
Agesilaus shows how effective it is to be able to make jokes. Whether you are of royal birth or not, human nature is the same. And if he can take a joke, we should also be able to. That being said, there is one mistake people make when they first learn how to make jokes. Because you can take a joke, you start thinking others can.
And this isn't the case.
Remember when I said someone who can take a joke is mature and has character. Well, those types of people are few and far between.
So don't go around making fun of others since you can take their jokes. Before making someone a butt of a joke, be mindful of the other person.
If you think someone will not like being made fun of, then steer clear. But if you know someone that can take a joke, then don't go too far.
People are more sensitive than they let on.
So it's better to play it safe than be reckless. Hurting people and creating enemies in the process.
And to make sure I don't turn you into my enemy, I'll wrap this article up.
Signs of not being able to take a joke are anger and defensiveness.
The consequence of not taking a joke is that people will keep poking fun at you.
The only way to take a joke is to laugh at yourself.
Being able to laugh at yourself shows maturity and character.
Being the butt of jokes might not be fun, but you must remember that the more you fight it, the worse it will be. To stop people making fun of you is to laugh the jokes off.
Agesilaus, the lame king of Sparta, was the first to make fun of his lame leg. Getting people to not make fun of him.
When you learn to take a joke, a simple mistake is to think others can too. Be mindful before making someone the butt of jokes. And err on the side of caution.
Random article on such a minor thing.
As random as it is, these small social interactions say a lot about your character. And while we are out and about working on ourselves.
We have to remember that we are in the real world.
And have to function in it, whether we like it or not (conflict, being made fun of, etc.). If only Kanye West understood this, he would have saved himself and Taylor a lot of embarrassment.