Manner Monday®: April Fools’ Day Jokes and Pranks

As seen on:

Last year I did a segment with Channel 4 on April Fools’ Day Etiquette for the Family and the Office.
I don’t have the video available, but here is the transcript:


Q – When do kids think a prank is good fun, and why do parents need to tread carefully from the start?

A – Parents REALLY need to tread lightly, we need to set good examples of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

This is a great time and opportunity to have a conversation with your kiddos about pranks and practical jokes.

Ask them what they think is appropriate, then you can guide the conversation and point out that what they think may be funny, may actually be mean or offensive to others.

Q – It seems a lot of families have a ‘prankster’ who goes a bit too far? What’s going on with this person?

A – Do you see a pattern occurring?
Are they pulling the pranks as a way to get attention?
What is the motive behind the prank?
Is the prankster well-meaning, but ends up getting excited and over-zealous?
Or is their intent to see how far they can push the limit or boundaries?
Determine the motive before taking action.

Q – So how do you talk to a serial prankster – and still feel like you can sit down together next Thanksgiving?

A – If you do see a pattern occurring, it’s important to point it out and make sure the person realizes what they’re doing.

Explain the unintended potential consequences of their behavior: How is it affecting his reputation?

He may think it’s funny, but others think of him as annoying, ignorant, prejudiced or narrow-minded. Make sure to point out the impact of the pranks on others; people may be avoiding him and not want to be around him.

Q – Now lets talk about Office Pranks. What are the three elements to avoid at all cost?

A – Humor that falls into the category of sex, race, or religion does not belong in any office, period.

As an adult, playing a few pranks in the office can lighten the mood and bring some fun and excitement into the workplace.  On the other hand, it can cause stress, create unnecessary problems, breed animosity and cut into productivity.

If you like to get into the spirit of the day and you’re busy scheming and planning the perfect prank, ask yourself  “how would I feel if this joke were played on me?”

Many pranks may seem funny to you, but fall into the gray area and need to be administered with extreme caution. Everyone needs to be aware that what is funny to one person, can be offensive to another.

Q – Lets continue on the theory that a good laugh is a good moral booster in the workplace. What else should you keep in mind?

A – Make sure to be a good role model and keep your pranks good-natured and squeaky-clean. And if a coworker does take something personal or the wrong way, simply stop, apologize and don’t argue that it was funny or that they lack a sense of humor. Apologize, clear the air, and move forward.

Also, keep in mind the timing of your prank.  It may be April Fools’ Day on the calendar, but if your timing is wrong and if your prank is unprofessional – you may end up being the Fool.

Click to Tweet: It may be 4-1 on the calendar, but if timing is off or you’re unprofessional – you may end up the Fool. #MannerMonday

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As always;  Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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