Sometimes something happens in a conversation that makes you really notice the difference between “banter” friends and friends that will last the test of time.
One thing that really makes me notice this is the “just a joke” conversations.
For example: one person is the butt of one of the many jokes in a particular day. In a group of friends that tend to joke a lot this isn’t particularly different in itself, but it’s the reaction that makes all the difference.
The butt of the joke person is quieter than normal, and maybe even responds with “guys that’s not funny/that’s not fair/stop it” etc. This is when the moment arrives.
“Oh it was just a joke!”
Doesn’t seem like much at first right?
But this is a darker statement than it seems at first thought.
It’s supposed to be a defence for the joker’s actions, a way to lessen the seriousness of the situation. But a persons feelings were hurt in this situation, and “it was just a joke” isn’t a defence for that.
No matter the intentions, you still hurt someone, and you haven’t even apologised for it.
What “it’s just a joke!” does is it puts the pressure on the offended person to justify their offence in spite of this statement. You’ve put the responsibility on them, and that’s not fair.
I think everyone can agree that someone should apologise when they’ve hurt someone, no matter the scenario. A better way of phrasing this would possibly be:
“That hurt my feelings”
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I only intended it as a joke. Are you alright?”
You still get to state the fact you were joking, but also acknowledge how the other person was hurt. That’s the important part.