Case Studies Show That Saying “Just Kidding” Greatly Reduces the Awareness that You’re an Asshole

Tiffany Greysen, contributor

Communication is hard. Deciphering cryptic, hidden messages buried deep in a sentence riddled with passive aggressive words is not only confusing, it can lead to misunderstandings and a breakdown of trust between relationships. Recognizing that you’re being passive aggressive is the first step in fixing it. By learning to adjust a few key words and phrases you will see you can effectively learn how to soften a hard conversation without additional conflict.

Here are some examples of how to change a passive-aggressive statement into an aggressive- passive statement.

When you’re late for a meeting


“Sorry I’m late but somebody (looks at Bill) parked in my parking spot.”


“I’m not sorry I’m late, I hate this meeting, but Bill’s fault for parking in my parking spot.  Just kidding.”

In the example above you’ll notice by adding “just kidding” at the end, it softens the directness of the statement.  People love humor so it will be their queue to laugh and they won’t really even remember what you said about Bill, but the seed has been planted.


When you want to have dinner with your partner


“Do you think tonight that you might be home in time for dinner?”


“I’m making tacos so what time will be you be done fucking Jill in Accounting? Just kidding.”


When he finds you surprise painting his den for future use as a nursery


“Don’t you think this paint color makes the room more neutral, so if you ever decided to move your office to the basement, this room could be used for other reasons?”


“I’m going to get so pregnant and put a baby in this room and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just kidding.”


When stopped by the police


“No, I don’t know why you pulled me over, but I’m sure a warning is definitely in order.” (run your hands over your boobs and squeeze)


“You probably pulled me over for speeding, but I’m a white woman so I’m 73% sure you’re not going to shoot me. Just kidding.”

Again, saying “just kidding” softens the directness of the statement.

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