Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Nervous Jokester

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the nervous jokester.

Nicole: Awww, honey.

This would drive me nuts, but also I expect you are trying way too hard and stepping on your own dick as a result.

Danny: yes!

and the answer is like, just stop

Nicole: Yep.

I would try asking your in-laws more questions about themselves/your husband.

Danny: maybe take a minute or two to clear your head before your next meeting and psych yourself up to just relax through some occasional lulls in conversation or awkward silences


Nicole: People love that and what you want is to shake things up in this dynamic.

Danny: and just make it your goal to get through this without trying to “pick up the pace” or make jokes

let it be a little boring!

but if you think “my sense of humor is the only aspect of my personality that I KNOW is great” and so you keep stressing it harder and harder it’s going to make the world’s worst feedback loop

also, no one is funny to everyone 100% of the time! not even 90%!

Nicole: This is exactly what is happening here.

Danny: just let those moments pass you by, maybe tell your husband in advance that you’re going to try a new tactic and might be a little quieter this visit

Nicole: Yes!! Talking to him about this first will help set you up for success.

Danny: and it will honestly feel like a relief, i think, once you get past the first few minutes of anxiously feeling like “i’m letting all these great joke opportunities pass me by!!!”

Danny: shoot this was easy, i should have picked a more contentious one

look we’re all sleepy after a few weeks off

Nicole: Next time I want something BLOODY


Danny: there’s a guy whose boyfriend told everyone they met at a support group for men living with a particular illness without asking first

they’ve only been dating a month

Nicole: oh my LORD

Danny: at first my response was like, “yes, definitely tell him that it bothered you and tell him not to do it again” but honestly at a month in?? just dump him

Nicole: yep

Danny: those groups have POLICIES about not casually disclosing someone else’s medical information, he had to ACTIVELY WORK to forget that!