cutepuppy asks: At school I’m shy, but at home I’m not; I’m funny at home. In school I don’t want to be shy, I want to be really funny, but how? And if I act funny, they might not think its funny!
Hi cutepuppy –
“Funny” is such a difficult thing to define! Some people find Shakespeare’s comedies hilarious. Others find “Austin Powers” movies uproarious. Some people memorize every word ever spoken on “Seinfeld,” while others find it dull, but laugh till tears roll at “Modern Family.” Was Jerry Lewis funny? People can get violent over that one! What do you think of Roberto Benigni, Jim Carrey, Zach Galifanakis, Melissa McCarthy? Is a person slipping on a banana peel funny? What about a man in a dress? What about a pie fight?
There’s no single right answer. The truth is all of those people and things have been very very funny to a great many people. Handsome tells me the funniest thing he ever saw was a dog he had before he knew me, holding a very wide bone, trying to run through a thin doggy-door. Would I have found that funny? I truly have no idea. But he still laughs about it, many years later.
Now because of this, you’re absolutely correct that there’s no way you could know that the kids at school would find you funny, in the same way your family does at home. But I’m guessing that the bigger problem is that you don’t feel the confidence at school that you do at home.
And really, that’s just as it should be. A happy family should give you a place where you feel more accepted than anywhere else. School is always tough – some kids just aren’t going to like the things you do, and others will be jealous or have other reasons to pretend they don’t like them.
But that’s not a reason to stay shy and quiet, and hide your sense of humor at school. Quite the opposite! Instead, I say to let your humor fly! Tell jokes, respond in funny ways, do all of it. (Just not when the teacher wants you quiet, though. I don’t want you getting in trouble!).
And here’s what’s going to happen – some of the kids at school will probably find you funny. And when they do, you will discover that those are the ones who share your sense of humor. And probably, you’ll find them funny. And these will become the best friends you make there.
Your humor will actually be a great way to find who your best pals at school will be. So it’s not to be avoided, it’s to the best thing you’ve got!
When Handsome first took me to a dog park, I was like you. I wanted to play so badly, but didn’t know how to get other dogs to let me play with them. But after a few visits, two things happened. First, I got more confident, and relaxed, and stopped worrying about it so much. And second, I made some special friends there. And what happened then is that other dogs would see me as confident and popular, and seek me out to play with! So I would always have a great time there.
This can, and should, be what happens to you at school. I sure hope so.
But whether that happens or not, please just remember one thing, forever: What’s funny to you is FUNNY! And that will always be true!