Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Ask Annie: How do I stop making dumb jokes in front of my girlfriend?

Facing a problem? Annie has answers. Ask away!

Dear Annie,

I keep saying stupid jokes in front of my girlfriend that make her mad and throw me in emotional solitary confinement. Should I keep making jokes and risk angering the warden or should I be a good inmate?


Andrew O’Brian

Dear Andrew O’Brian,

While some boyfriends seem to think it’s cute to see their girlfriends’ faces turn redder than a sunburnt Brit on reality TV dating show Love Island, they might not find it as adorable when their teasing eventually leaves them single and dumped from the island.

Where is your head at when you make these “stupid jokes”? Maybe you get a thrill from her annoyed reaction or perhaps you enjoy the intimacy once she’s forgiven you. Pushing the boundaries of your girlfriend’s humor might excite you, but remember the things she does that leave you melting for her touch and and don’t threaten your relationship, like playful riffs about confounding characters you’ve encountered together.

Perhaps you aren’t searching for a reaction but simply don’t realize the harm your jokes cause until you’ve said them. Practice empathy and impulse control. Consider whether your jokes are flat-out offensive. Do they rely on stereotypes and insult others, including your girlfriend, to get a laugh? Do you dole them out to boost your ego? This style of humor just exists to make other feel worse about themselves. You can be funny without being offensive, using your jokes as conversational levity instead of a tool for criticism. 

If you’ve examined your jokes and found they don’t unjustly mock others, put yourself in your girlfriend’s shoes. Humor is subjective. Your girlfriend might not be amused by what got a laugh out of your buddies. Pause to consider whether your girlfriend, in light of everything you know about her, will find what you have to say funny. And consider the time, place and manner of your quip. If you’re poking fun at her, make sure she’s in the right mood to receive it. One might want to share the jokes that tickle them the most, but know your audience if you always expect a humorous reaction. 

If you still make these jokes after reflection, pull her aside for a chat and use the same understanding and maturity you should employ when considering whether or not to make the joke. If the problem persists after you change your behavior — or of course, if you don’t — it may be because you’re missing a piece of the puzzle. Your sense of humor doesn’t have to match your girlfriend’s, but you should understand her point of view. Especially to avoid the painful “emotional confinement” you speak of. 

Great banter is a part of any healthy relationship. But the line between banter and a brawl varies based on the person and the situation. As their partner, respect their boundaries and consider retiring the “stupid jokes.” 

You know what I mean,


More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet