On Friendship, Sincerity And Being The “Karen” Of The Group


I gave a tight-lipped smile as the rest of my friend group erupted in laughter, oblivious to the hurt I was attempting to hide on my face. Looking down at my phone, I took a deep breath, hoping the steady stream of jokes aimed at me would pass.

I felt I shouldn’t be getting angry since it was all supposedly in good fun, but being the butt of jokes for so long had taken its toll, and I was tired of the situation I always found myself in.

Dane Cook hit it best in his comedic sketch about “Karen,” the one person in a friend group that consistently gets made fun of. In our society, sarcasm has taken root and is a big factor in what we consider humor.

However, there is a thin line between sarcasm and rudeness, and unfortunately, most people cross that line daily in interactions with friends.

Making jokes at the expense of another person may seem like second nature in our society of subtle rudeness. We make offhand comments like, “you look tired,” start sentences with “no offense, but…” and make friends through gossip at the expense of someone else.

We seem to have lost sincerity in our interactions. What we don’t understand is that constantly making offhand comments about a friend for a few seconds of laughter can have lasting effects and can end friendships.

Personally having gone through this with a friend group, I would become quiet, withdrawn, and stopped contributing to conversations, afraid anything I would say would turn into another “joke.”

It came to the point where I wouldn’t want to hang out with that particular group because I knew I would be miserable. If I made a comment about the jokes always aimed at me, they would get defensive and say it was just a joke. If I just smiled and let it go, it would make me upset.

One thing I learned from this experience is you are who you hang out with. Feeling powerless from the friend group that would constantly make jokes about me, I would later retaliate by being sarcastic and snippy to my other friends.

It was a vicious cycle that I did not want to be involved in. I slowly distanced myself from my insensitive friend group and surrounded myself with friends that supported me and provided positivity.

Although this was a difficult experience, I grew stronger, gained greater self-worth, discovered the type of people I wanted to surround myself with, and became the type of friend I wanted to be.

Friendships should be about encouraging each other to be the best we can be, rather than pointing out our flaws for a few laughs. Although sarcasm and humor go hand in hand, there is a point where it is no longer funny and becomes bullying, and we need to be sure we’re on the right side of humor.

Image via Kayleigh Dance

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Alysha Shetty

Editorial Contributor, California State University, Fullerton Graduate Major: Business Management, Concentration in Legal Studies Her heart belongs to: cute coffee shops, lots of flowers, sarcasm, and Rory Gilmore. You can find her: at the beach (her second home), watching rom-coms, and laughing ’till she can’t breathe.

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