General Etiquette > Life...in general

Outsiders latching onto inside jokes *clarification post #68*

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kitchcat:
The thread about the Star Wars joke-maker made me think of this other awkward joke-related situation. This happened to me recently and I've also seen it on various TV shows as well as to other people in real life.

What happens when someone (who I'll just call  the Outsider) who is not "in" on an inside joke among a group of people, keeps (awkwardly) trying to use the inside joke as if they're part of it?

Example: Sue and Sally have an inside joke between them related to a specific incident where Sue accidentally drank hot sauce instead of water and naturally reacted with shock. Now, when something happens that's really surprising, they'll say, "That's spicy!" Mary was not present for the incident and isn't even close with Sue. However, after hearing Sue and Sally say "That's spicy" several times casually, she asks what it means. Sally responds, "Oh, it's just an old inside joke that means it's shocking." Now, Mary is saying "That's spicy!" whenever she's with Sue or Sally, even though she doesn't even know *why* "That's spicy" = shocking.

This has happened to me a few times and it kinda rubs me the wrong way, probably because the Outsider seems kinda of...pushy? I guess like they're inserting themselves in an inappropriate way?

Does this bother anyone else? Would you address it or ignore it?

onyonryngs:
She's trying to fit in.  It's a bit awkward, but it's not hurting anyone.  Is there a reason the joke can't be explained to her? 

diesel_darlin:
That's the reason I dislike "inside" jokes. Yes they are funny, but they often lead to situations like this.

If it's something that someone doesn't want outsiders to know, it's best not to use the catchphrase associated with the joke around someone that you will have to explain the joke to.

CluelessBride:
I could imagine a situation where butting in on an inside joke would seem off, but this isn't really one of them for me.

Sue and Sally have introduced a new word into their vocabulary. They use it in front of Mary. Now Mary picks up on the word and starts to use it. Maybe it spreads, maybe it doesn't, but I think that's part of the evolution of language.

If anything, Sue and Sally are being a little clique-ish by rubbing their inside joke in Mary's face.

DottyG:

--- Quote ---If anything, Sue and Sally are being a little clique-ish by rubbing their inside joke in Mary's face.
--- End quote ---

That's what I've been wanting to say but wasn't sure how to put it.  I agree.

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