Top 10: “J/K” Does Not Make it OK

Hello, Moms and Listeners!

My dear mother passed away a few days ago in hospice care after suffering a fall.

I’m out of town and will be away for a time. Please take this opportunity to listen to my Top 10 podcast from my earlier popular show, “Bullying, Life, and Stuff.”

After COVID-19 has hit this country so hard, nothing about death is a joke.

This episode, one of my Top 10 episodes, is titled, “J/K Does Not Make it OK.”

Thank you for listening and please tell others. My goal is to teach our children to create civility for a new generation


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

We told a friend to kill herself on Facebook. She has another creep boyfriend. We’re tired of her whining and depression.

Our friends don’t want to hang with her. We listen to her cry, but it’s hard to be friends with her.

Her mom took her off Facebook, and took her phone. She’s mad at us – but she begs us to be her friends.

We said, “Go kill yourself” before on Facebook. We were kidding then, too. She’s so sensitive. We don’t want to be friends with her anymore.


Joking Friends

Dear Friends,

Hand-write a genuine apology from all of you, and show her parents, too. That would be the kindest thing to do.

Don’t write you were “just kidding.” J/K in any form (like “You’re so sensitive” and “I’m just saying” …) means you’re excusing yourselves from dangerous language and you’re dismissing her.

Suicide is no joke. Suicide rates have been rising according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research: 45,000 Americans 10 or older die by suicide each year and it’s growing. “Suicide is a leading cause of death for Americans – it’s a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D., said.

It’s not okay to say to anyone, “You should kill yourself,” even as a joke. We’re sure you have more goodness than that.

Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Nothing is funny, if it isn’t funny to the person you’re talking to.

It’s difficult to be friends with someone who’s depressed. Blame doesn’t matter. Compassion is what is absolutely needed in this situation.

Think about this:

Emotional pain can be worse than physical pain. If you punched her, it might cause her to bleed, but telling her to “go kill herself” creates scars forever. It means her life isn’t worth living. “Just kidding” means you’re not taking responsibility for punching her heart.

Teasing is a part of growing up. Telling someone their life is meaningless is aggressive and troubling.

When communication is done by social media, only the words written are received. The receiving person can’t see your body language or tone-of-voice matching your true meaning. Only 7 percent of communication is words. Phrases then come across more harshly and literally than teasing.

Writing us means you’re looking for a better solution than teasing and we applaud that. Set boundaries for your friend before you “un-friend” her. You can be a great example to all your friends and stop “joking” damage.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri