Ever have someone say something that clearly upset you, just to have them quickly say “Just kidding”. Sometimes, being told that something is a joke can calm us down, and stop us from worrying. But more often than not, “just kidding” just makes the person saying it seem like a pillock.
When Do People Say “Just Kidding”?
Often, when people say “just kidding”. They mean it. They did not mean to cause any harm or offence by what they just said. They were making a joke and just happened to be slightly ignorant about how other people would feel about it.
It could also be said because the other person doesn’t want you to become upset. Of course, the fact they were joking doesn’t make what they said any better, but at least the intention is there. Very few people would make others upset on purpose, and “just kidding” is some people’s way of trying to protect the feelings of others.
For some people, they might be worried that you think less of them now that you know their views, and what they believe. So, to prevent you from continuing to think low of them, they act like they were just kidding. Of course, they don’t believe what they just said- or at least they don’t anymore now that they see how little you approve of it.
But sometimes, people just have an odd sense of humour. The saying goes that humour is subjective. So of course, we’re not gonna judge people who find the unusual funny. However, the blunt reality is that some people find saying bad things very funny.
You might have heard the term “Schrodinger’s Douchebag”. This is a concept based on Schrodinger’s Cat.
Schroedinger’s Douchebag is someone who makes nasty comments and decides whether they are serious or “just kidding” based on people’s reactions. If those around them agree with what they say, they were being serious. But, if they get nasty looks, they were “just kidding”.
Now you know some of the reasons people say “Just kidding”, we can cover some of the ways that you could respond to it.
1. You Weren’t Though Were You?
They weren’t joking. And you know they weren’t joking. So why would you let them get away with pretending they were joking? Might as well just tell it straight and let them know that you can see through their “jokes”.
2. That’s Not An Excuse For Everything
Alright, maybe they were joking- but it doesn’t matter. If something is rude, then it’s rude. And whether or not it’s meant as a joke. Call people out on what they say, and don’t let them get away with bad excuses.
3. Not Very Funny Though Is It
If they were “just kidding”, they should say something funny. If they have failed to do this, they have misunderstood the concept of kidding.
4. Jokes Are Supposed To Be Funny
The whole purpose of jokes is that they make us laugh. If a joke is unable to make us laugh, then it has failed in its purpose as a joke. So just because you were “just kidding”, does not mean the joke was funny.
5. You Shouldn’t Just Kid About Stuff Like That
There are some topics that it’s best to not “just kid” about, particularly at certain times. For example, jokes about death are not okay at a funeral. Although there’s nothing wrong with having a laugh, there is always a time and place.
6. Learn Some Respect
Everybody has to share the same planet. If we are all going to get along, the best way to do that is for us to all respect one another. And sometimes, part of that respect will involve not making jokes about topics we shouldn’t make jokes about.
7. I Know
A short but powerful response to let them know that you are aware of their comedic intentions. However, said in the right tone, it can also highlight the fact that you do not see what’s so funny about what’s just been said.
Again, a short response with a lot of power behind it. There are several potential implications behind the word “Right”. You might be suggesting that you don’t believe they were “just kidding”. Or it could just be that you don’t care.
9. And You Find That A Good Enough Excuse To Say Things Like That?
Just because you were “just kidding” does not mean that what you’ve just said is acceptable. If something should not be said, then it should not be said. And to say “just kidding” afterwards does not magically make anything okay to say.
10. You’re Not Gonna Make It As A Comedian Anytime Soon
This one links back to the idea of jokes being funny. If that is their idea of a “joke”, then it’s clear that comedy is probably not the best path for them. Either that or they should perhaps work more on their material.
11. I’m Not
They might be kidding about what they just said. But you are not kidding about it not being funny. Let them know that even if they might be, you are not joking around.
12. Now Is Not The Time To Be Just Kidding
Even if their joke isn’t bad by itself. There is a time and a place for everything. Make sure that when you do “just kid”, it’s at a time where doing so is okay. Because making jokes (even good ones) at the wrong time can be just as offensive as making hurtful comments.
13. I Know You Meant It As A Joke, But It Hurt My Feelings
If jokes are supposed to be funny, it makes no sense to make a joke that somebody does not find funny. If you are going to make jokes about people, you need to be sure that the people they target also find them funny. Because otherwise, they’re not jokes- just insults.
14. I Just Don’t Find Jokes About X Funny
Perhaps there are certain topics that you just feel ought to be off-limits. If someone else thinks that these topics are okay to joke about, the best thing you can do is let them know that you disagree.
15. You Think Rudeness Is Funny
There’s a difference between making jokes and being rude. Some people just don’t know where this line is. And when they end up crossing it, it might take someone like you to let them know so that they don’t cross the line again.
16. No Offence Taken. We All Know You’re An Ass Hole Anyway
Sometimes, people don’t care if you are offended or not. And when you come across people like this, there is little point in trying to get them to change. The best thing you can do is insult them back. Of course, you don’t mind them being rude. That’s just part of their character and who they are.
17. That’s Fine. I Don’t Care What You Have To Say Anyway
Maybe they were kidding. Perhaps not. But it doesn’t matter either way. Because no matter what they have to say, you do not care. May as well let them keep on making these jokes because you aren’t going to listen to them anyway.
18. You Have A Very Strange Sense Of Humour
Is this really what this person finds funny? You’re not one to judge but that is incredibly odd. Let them know that what they find funny is slightly out of sync with what the rest of the world finds funny.
19. Your Sense Of Humour Is Why Nobody Likes You
Humour is subjective. But if you have a sense of humour that is particularly nasty, it can often lead to you losing friends. So sometimes, it can be better to try to adapt your sense of humour into something that makes you more sociable and likeable.
20. Would You Be Saying That If I’d Agreed With You?
This goes back to the idea of Schroedinger’s Douchebag. You might have a suspicion that if you had agreed with them, they wouldn’t have been “just kidding”.
21. There Is Nothing “Just” About That “Joke”
They meant “just” as in “only”. However, “just” can also be short for “justified”. If you feel as though their joke was not justified, let them know how you feel.
22. Please Explain The Joke To Me
This is a great one. Because they will have to go through the uncomfortable process of explaining what they’ve just said.
23. Aren’t You A Bit Too Old To Be Just Kidding?
Are they too old to be making childish jokes?
24. What’s Your Point?
So what if they’re just kidding. That does not make it okay.
25. Erm. Okay.
A quick and easy response to let them know that you don’t find it funny.
What Is The Best Response To Just Kidding?
The best excuse on this list is probably “That’s not an excuse for everything” as it gives them a chance to reflect on what they’ve just said.
Some people like to use “just kidding” as an excuse, but it can just be a way to hide their actual views.
In the end, they may end up losing friends because they are not nice and use “just kidding” to hide it.
Letting them know it’s not an excuse will give them the opportunity for self-reflection, and maybe even allow them to begin to be a nicer person.
Hopefully, this article has given you the tools you need next time someone says they’re “just kidding”. You will now be able to put them in their place and make them aware that excuse is not going to fly anymore.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.