My favorite joke of April Fool’s Day occurred when a friend changed his birthday on Facebook to April 1 and his news feed filled up with sentiments that should have occurred in July.

People eventually caught on and everyone watching had a good laugh.

After all, laughing is good for us; it’s even medicinal at times.

And that’s why I believe April Fools Day is a fun, lighthearted day.

The love of comedy is the reason April Fool’s Day exists. In a world full of pain, sometimes we need a silly, funny stunt.

We need a reason to smile.

mike-danielle-petit-jean-hiking

Butt of the Jokes

Most of us can probably share a story about April Fool’s Day where either we pulled off the perfect prank, or someone got us really good.

I’ve got my fair share, however I am usually on the receiving end. Except for the one year my co-worker and I made up a fake employee.

That’s another story for a different blog.

Old school jokes

I’m not that old, but because Facebook wasn’t around when I attended high school, I feel like I can say this:  things have changed a lot over the past decade, especially when it comes to April 1.

We used to pull pranks on people we knew in ways we understood they could handle. We joked with people we saw in person on a daily basis. Our jokes fit the occasion.

Now, thanks to social media, things are different.

We’re still pulling pranks on a day dedicated to humor, but due to the impersonal, online environment, sometimes we unintentionally offend people with our online jokes and pranks.

When we post we’re pregnant to tease our closest friends, we can easily offend those silently suffering from infertility and miscarriage.

If we announce that we’re sick, we don’t consider what those posting updates who truly are sick must think and feel. A diagnosis is never a joke.

Sharing about false life updates can be hard too – marriage, divorce, moving, job change and more. When we’re swimming in an online environment, we don’t know who is on the other side of the screen reading our “jokes.”

And I’m not sure the most loving thing we can do is post an online April Fool’s Day joke simply to get a laugh.

Humor and Grace

As an infertile woman, I won’t lie:  I don’t find pretend pregnancy announcements funny.

Same goes for any joke about a faked sickness, divorce or other traumatic loss. These jokes hit too close to home for me, and they don’t make me laugh.

But, they also don’t make me cry – which is why I write this post.

Both the pranksters and those getting offended by the pranks must find middle ground. Here’s a couple of mind frames I’d like to suggest:

Humor works a lot like style and taste.

I love wearing big earrings and eating smores (not necessarily at the same time).

Many people do not share my opinions.

But, we all thrive when we have clothes and food. The same goes with humor.

Comedy is a good thing, it’s healthy for us to laugh – even if it’s at different things.

So people are going to post what they find funny, and sometimes, we’ll need to respect that. But it’s also loving to post with our audience in mind, and be sensitive to issues they might not find humorous.

(Note:  If we’re laughing at someone, it’s to their expense, and they’re not laughing with us –  it’s not comedy but rather bullying. This is never OK, it’s always offensive, and should not be tolerated – even on April Fool’s Day.)

Judge and you’ll be judged.

We’re all human. We’re all imperfect.

We’re going to get it wrong sometimes.

If we get our feelings hurt, we need to share why. Unless we speak our truth, others won’t know our perspective.

On the flip side, if our jokes offend, we must quickly say sorry. We need to treat others the way we’d want to be treated. Even when we’re online.

If we’re sitting back quietly judging the posts all day long, we will be judged.

We all can’t be pranksters, but we can avoid being fools.

It begins with a lot of grace and it often ends with a smile.

Don’t miss a post from Danielle! Subscribe now!