Should a Person Apologize to Someone for a Joke they Didn't Think Was Funny?

Geobabe thinks yes if it is hurtful to the person.(btw this isn’t about geobabe she was nice enough just to give an opinion) But what if the joke was not even about them? Then are you still suppose to apologize? It just doesn’t made sense to me. I mean I will apologize if enough joke and apology etiquitte dopers tell me I should.

Maybe it will help to tell you the context of it. Someone told me, "wildest bill you probably want your wife to get a nose job and a tummy tuck. I simply replied on the next post,

"Naw, her nose is fine a tummy tuck would be nice though :wink: "

Notice the wink at the end of the statement to let the reader know it was in jest.

Now this other doper thinks I am jerk for saying this in the first place and I am jerk for not apologizing. And listen I know some people on this board don’t me and that’s cool it’s their purogative but I don’t think just because they don’t like me I should have to give apologies for things that I say in jest especially when they don’t apply to them or hurt them in anyway.

Thanks for your time and answers on this silly question but for some reason this just bugs me and I think I am being piled on unfaily this time.

Your joke seems OK to me, but then I’m currently under attack from Mrs. Schadenfreude for suspecting her of stripping naked and looking for sex at an airport.

Of which she is innocent. Until proven guilty. :wink:

Well IMHO :wink: it’s ok.

Ut oh doc you are in trouble now. This doper will probably want an apology for that statement. :smiley: Sheesh pretty soon all we are going to be doing on this board is apologizing.

Anyway thanks for your response.


I think some people are quick to take offence at the written word, whereas hearing the same statement in conversation would, probably, raise a chuckle.

This is because you can’t get ‘tone of voice’ and body language through a keyboard.

Mrs. Schadenfreude fell about when she saw my post (in a thread started by Manservant Hecubus) replying to the topic of the naked German lady in a foreign airport.

I don’t think message boards are a suitable medium for deadpan people to express themselves. If you have to explain yourself with a smilie your comment loses some of its impact. If there was any impact in the first place. :cool:

In this particular instance, IMO (of course I’m sure I’ll get my ears pinned back for having one) is quite simply, no.

The only person in the world who could legitimately be offended and be legitimately deserving of any apologies for your joke, would be your wife.

And that’s as far as I’m letting myself go with this bit of political correctness.

this is how I look at it. Person is offended.

Did I intend to offend the person?

If yes, then why would I appologize since that was my intent?

If no, then what’s so wrong about saying “I’m sorry, I did not intend to offend you”?

Now, if the person involved has gotten offended at what I consider ‘nothing’, then I generally either become very cautios about my interactions with them or avoid them entirely.

Example I’ve used when training folks about this issue:

I had a co worker who didn’t like coffee much. I came in and brought some imported stuff vs. the sludge the office had. Pretty soon, instead of being indifferent as to the availability of coffee, she’d listen for the sounds of the coffeemaker finishing the pot. One morning, she whipped around the corner just as it was finishing, and I said “wow, I’ve got you trained”. She immediately bristled with anger. I didn’t intend any insult with my comment. But obviously she perceived one. I immediately said something like “oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by that, here let me pour you a cup”, and what could have been an ugly incident with her being angry at me for a long time, faded away to nothing.



Wow you have got to be kidding. What a stick in the mud.

So what is your final answer on this one? Remember she came to my thread I did not say this on hers.

Turbo dog,

Thanks for you answer you are an estute humor analogists. There should be more people like you. You know have a sense of humor.

I think you’re in the clear on this one. You clearly meant it in jest, not to be taken seriously.

And if someone gets offended that you joke about a 3rd party, well, maybe they’re a bit too sensitive. Could have been a bad day, and they just didn’t appreciate it.

Just my 2 cents.

Wildest Bill, isn’t this going a little above and beyond the call of idiocy? I mean, all Podkayne said was “if you’re going to apologize, apologize without strings attached.”

That means, if you’re going to apologize (which is your choice), say “i’m sorry I hurt your feelings” not:

“I’m sorry I hurt your feelings but I don’t understand why I did and a thousand other people laughed, and I did put a winking smilie, and I think that it was funny so why don’t you?”

We could have been done with this two days ago, but you insist on beating it to death and dancing around the bottom line:

If you hurt someone’s feelings, you should apologize.

no more questions.

And how about giving links to the related threads so people can read both sides of the story?


wring, how dare you think that it would have been nice to have some imported coffee? You should enjoy all coffee at equal levels. As someone who generally drinks the cheap coffee, I am offended that you would have a preference over any cheap brand that you can tolerate and outraged that you would refer to ordinary coffee as “sludge” as that makes me feel inferior to you now.


Note use of the smiley, in this case used to indicate the fact that I was not serious, was kidding, had posted in jest for a bit of frivolity, and in no way meant to be taken literally as an attack on wring or anyone else. Anyone who thinks otherwise… get over yourself.

Ok, Regis, my final answer, some one sticks their head in a thread, misinterprets what I said as an insult to them, generally, yea, I’d still go with “I intended no insult to you. Sorry you took it that way”. At that point they can either chill out and leave you alone (which is what you want to happen), or continue to rile about how wrong you were etc. If they continue to rile away at you (unlikely, I’d think), you get to take the stance of "look. A. It was a joke. B. It wasn’t directed at you in the first place. and C. I’ve already said ‘sorry if I offended you’. What more can you reasonably ask for? ", they look like an idiot, and you seem like a great guy.

If you’re looking for a statement like “gee, horning in on someone elses conversation, assuming offense where none was meant, and ranting and raving about it is an idiotic pastime”, well, hell - you’ve just described daytime TV, and how many people spend their lives.

So, you can argue w/them for days, or shrug and try my way and be done w/it w/o having to start a new thread :wink:

(yes, the story was true. and gee Turbo I meant no offense to you :wink: - by the way, she was apparently thinking I was doing a Pavlov’s dog type reference, therefore calling her a dog)

(and while you’re at it, Bill, I’d dust off an apology to manhattan, Chronos & JillGat for posting what appears to be more like a poll than a GQ, in their forum :smiley: )

Ssshhhh manhattan already thinks people played honkey tonk music while I was in my mother’s womb. :smiley: And it was a question too. :wink:

I’m with JARBABY (as usual).

It doesn’t matter what the rest of us think about whether an apology was warranted or not. Under the circumstances, the person doing the offending (intentional or not) has to decide whether they want to smooth things over or take their chances that they offended person will remain offended. Whether or not we consider the person’s offense to be reasonable or not is beside the point.

But if a person is going to apologize, he or she should just apologize. One can say “I’m sorry I said that” (apologize for the remark) or “I’m sorry that offended you” (apologize for the effect) – and these are not the same thing – or one can simply say “I see that you’re offended but frankly I don’t believe I have anything to apologize for.” Or one can flip them the bird and walk away. Whatever.

But the “unapology” is a weaselly thing and rightly pisses people off. “I’m sorry that bugged you but it shouldn’t have,” “I’m sorry you thought that was offensive but everyone else thought it was pretty funny” – these are attempts to say the words but then immediately take them back by indicating that the apology isn’t really meant. I’ve had this done to me here on the Board – a person called me a Very Bad Word and then “apologized” by saying, in effect, “I’m sorry I called you a VBW, but I really do think you’re a VBW.” Um, I’m “sorry,” but that’s not an apology. As JAR said, apologize or don’t, but at least pick one and stick with it.

Ditto wring’s statement about apologizing to GQ mods. You know better than this, WB.

For those who aren’t in the know, here is a link to the thread:

FWIW, WB, I don’t think you should need to apologize for your comment. I think you did handle your apology in a ham-fisted way, though. If you don’t feel you should apologize, don’t apologize. If you feel you should, do it right.

And I do think people have been piling on you lately. Frankly, I was embarrassed for the SDMB community at the way some of us reacted to your blond roots thread ( ). That was pathetic.

See y’all in IMHO.

Bill, I never asked for an apology. As per my coments in jarbaby’s Pit thread, all I was saying was that if you were going to apologize, you should apologize without weasling. When you said I’m sorry I misinterpreted this as an actual indication of remorse, instead of sarcastic or meaningless. For the confusion this caused, I apologize. Rest assured that I will never overestimate you again.

So for the love of GOD, do not even consider apologizing to me. Clear 'nuff?

Hey hey hey is this a compliment or an insult? :wink:

[quite]So for the love of GOD, do not even consider apologizing to me. Clear 'nuff? **

Why would I? I was winning the poll. :smiley:

Hey Necros thanks man err or woman. (Not gender sure from username.)

Bill, you should apologize for an improperly taken joke just as you would if you accidentily bumped into someone and made them spill their coffee on themselves. Sure, it wasn’t intentional, but you still wouldn’t say “Hey, it wasn’t MY fault, I was just walking, why are you pissed at me?” Well, you wouldn’t say that unless you were a complete jerk.

If you didn’t mean to hurt anyones feelings, just say that, people forgive a lot easier than you might think.

I fully agree. You should apologise to the person with coffee on them. I don’t see the need to apologise to any onlookers though. Note the absence of smilies here.