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No One Is Ever ‘Just Kidding’

The passive-aggressive's shield of choice and one of the most toxic expressions in the English language.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

July 27, 2012 - 7:00 am
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Often, as we review each day, only the closest scrutiny will reveal what our true motives were. There are cases where our ancient enemy rationalization has stepped in and has justified conduct which was really wrong. The temptation here is to imagine that we had good motives and reasons when we really hadn’t.

We “constructively criticized” someone who needed it, when our real motive was to win a useless argument. Or, the person concerned not being present, we thought we were helping others to understand him, when in actuality our true motive was to feel superior by pulling him down.

We hurt those we loved because they needed to be “taught a lesson”, but we really wanted to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention.

– Bill Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

The “genius” of the “just kidding” tactic is that the speaker adds injury to insult by putting the onus on you. You are the humorless prig who “can’t take a joke.”

Imagine throwing boiling water on someone you love then huffing, “Jeeez! Can’t you handle a few second degree burns?!”

“Just kidding” always gets tacked on to the end of the remark, but other expressions, when inserted elsewhere, are also supposed to negate whatever precedes or follows.

So when arguing with a leftist, always watch their “buts.”

When they say something like, “I’m all for free speech, but…” then you can safely assume that everything they say after that will cancel out the clause before the “but.”

Every word before that “but” is an outright lie (or, at best, a malignant self-deception they haven’t detected yet).

The “but” rule applies especially to the expressions “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” and “No offense, but…”

One last thing:

Don’t dismiss the criticism so poorly disguised by “just kidding.”

Maybe it’s something you really needed to hear.

Don’t take that the wrong way.

***

More life advice at PJ Lifestyle from Kathy Shaidle:

How Women Ruin Romance by Talking Too Much

I Kid You Not: The Top 4 Reasons I Don’t Have Children

3 Rules for Handling the Online Trolls, Bullies, and Crackpots

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(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).
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