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Jokes & Comedians/(Longer) Different Sense of Humor


Hello Expert Tom, I'm actually not sure if this is the correct section for my Question, but it's the closest section that I could find that I felt I could possibly get a relevant answer from.

However, if you happen to know of another section where I can ask my Question - in the event that you cannot help me figure out the answer - then I would be grateful if you could point me to that other section.

Anyways, on to my Question.

I am a young lady who will be starting college this fall. Throughout my middle school and my high school career, I found it hard to make friends and connect with other people.

The hardest thing for me throughout my entire middle school and high school career, I believe, when it came to making friends was my sense of humor.

My sense of humor is not a common one (at least, I don't think it is). I don't really like "dirty" or "sexual" jokes (or a lot of bathroom or dark humor either - but the biggest thing for me is the sexual humor).

A lot of people my age seem to be into dirty/sexual joking, and it's been really hard for me to find friends who aren't into this.

If someone wants to joke like that, I know that it's their business and I don't have to hang out with them. I know that a lot of people appreciate this kind of humor and there was a time when I did too - however, I changed after a major life event (hip surgery) and stopped really enjoying that kind of humor.

I think that it's been hard for me to connect with other people - especially people my age - due to my sense of humor.

I know that those kinds of jokes are just that, jokes, but I don't really find them funny.

I've had people tell me to "just go along with it" and "c'mon" and other things like that when it comes to those kinds of jokes, and to be honest, it makes me feel even worse and it makes me feel like they're invalidating my feelings.

When people do make those kinds of jokes, I usually just ignore it (i.e., I don't laugh) or I might say something like, "Wow" and look shocked but that's about it.

Anyways, when I go to college, I am afraid that I won't make any friends because of my views on this type of humor (and partly because of my views on those other types of humor - dark and bathroom - too; but especially the sexual humor).

I'm afraid that it will be like high school all over again and that I'll be lonely and depressed because I will have no friends.

I really don't want to change who I am (in fact, I've had people tell me that I'm really funny despite not joking sexually/darkly all of the time), but I don't want to be alone either.

Can you please help me figure out how to cope when I go to college and help me figure out how to find friends with the same humor views as mine?

My views on these types of jokes is not influenced by religion or anything like that (I don't really have a specific religion that I believe in) but it's mostly influenced by my personality, I feel. Can you help me, please?

Tabitha --

Thanks for your question. I can see that you've given this problem a lot of thought, have tried some reasonable responses to the situation, and have analyzed the outcomes and effects of what you've already tried. It's going to be hard for me to improve much on the approach you are already taking to this challenge.

But I do have some thoughts that I hope may be helpful.

I think your ideas so far -- I especially like the "Wow." response -- should remain in your toolbox, not only for this particular type of humor that you find inappropriate, but also for other situations where people want to engage you in communication you wish to avoid. As you go to college, I expect you'll encounter a wider variety of such situations.

On the other hand, you'll likely find a wider variety of people with ideas similar to yours, including some people who have never enjoyed (or have long ago moved beyond) off-color humor. At the same time, as your peers grow and adjust to a more independent, more adult-like existence, some of the fascination with this type of humor will abate. Not for everybody, of course, but I think that, on average, you may find that you simply won't encounter as much bathroom humor when you are hanging around 20-year-olds as you did when you were among people who were quite recently 13, if you know what I mean. :)

One of the other great things about a major venue change such as going off to college is that you can sometimes ditch old stereotypes that have plagued you (i.e., stereotypes that others hold about you). You don't mention this, but perhaps you have been with essentially the same set of classmates for many years and they have developed a certain way of thinking about you. When you have a fresh set of people to be with at college, you have an opportunity to make new first impressions with people. I'm certainly not saying you should use this opportunity to start a habit of telling dirty jokes. Rather, if you're concerned that your past objections to this type of communication have made some people cool toward you, you can relax in the knowledge that your college classmates won't know about any of that and will view you as a fresh and potential friend. You'll still have to make new friends at college -- everybody will -- but you will be able to tackle that task with your own improved social skills, better developed than they were in junior high or whenever you last had a completely new set of people to meet.

I hope some of this is helpful. You are right that it's not exactly a humor question, but rather a broader human interaction challenge. One other tip: If you view "full adults" as people who have this type of thing all figured out, forget it. This type of thing is always messy and imperfect, which is what makes being around other people fun and fulfilling.

Good luck.

-- Tom

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I can answer questions about The Capitol Steps, a political (mostly musical) satire group based in Washington, DC which performs in Washington, around the U.S., and twice a year on public radio. I can answer questions about who is performing which role in Capitol Steps sketches and songs on albums and can help identify a Capitol Steps routine (and which album or radio show includes it) based on partial lyrics. I can also provide tips and suggestions for those interested in writing and performing spoonerism-based comedy similar to the Steps' "Lirty Dies."


I have been a Capitol Steps fan since about 1995. I own all the albums and have listened to each dozens of times. I have particularly studied (and particularly admire) the Steps' "Lirty Dies" routines and I have written and performed material of this sort. Despite the fact that I live halfway across the U.S. from Washington, I've attended many live Capitol Steps performances, including several at their permanent locations in the DC area.

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