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5 Jokes You Should Never Tell at a Dinner Party, Etiquette Experts Say

These are the bits you'll want to leave behind before you're in mixed company.

Shared laughter can create a great connection among just about anyone. Whether surrounded by friends and family or total strangers, many of us gravitate towards humor in social settings. But if you're the one cracking jokes, be aware that there are some you shouldn't bring to the table. A bad bit can actually have the opposite effect, creating tension and conflict among guests. To avoid this fate, read on to discover the five jokes etiquette experts say you should never tell at a dinner party.

RELATED: 6 "Polite" Things You're Doing That Are Actually Rude, Etiquette Experts Say.

"Don't worry, I've got the pizza delivery guy on speed dial."

Handsome young man wearing kitchen apron hosting dinner party and serving food to his friends at home.

If someone was nice enough to invite you to their home for dinner, don't disparage them in front of their other guests—even if you're excusing it as humor. That means making "insulting jokes" about something like the host's cooking ability should always be off the table at a dinner party, according to Lisa Mirza Grotts, a San Francisco-based etiquette expert.

"No one wants to be degraded or targeted, so keep your hostile, uncomfortable jokes to yourself," Grotts advises.

RELATED: Never Do These 5 Things in Front of Guests, Etiquette Experts Say.

"Wow, you must have had to get the entire cleaning company in here."

Couples celebrating moving in new apartment

You shouldn't make fun of the host's efforts in any way, Nathan Russo, a dinner party expert and the director of operations at Destin Vacation Rentals, adds. So lighthearted comments about how neat (or even, not so neat) their house is should be avoided no matter the intention behind it, according to Russo.

"This is another type of joke where even if it's not mean-spirited, it can definitely be perceived that way," he warns. "Hosts put a lot of time and effort into getting a dinner party created, and they deserve to be appreciated—not made fun of."

"I can't believe the old ball and chain finally let you out tonight."

Guests at a dinner party talking and drinking wine

It's not just the host you should avoid aiming your humor at, however. Austin Isaac, an etiquette expert and the founder of Team Evstor, says you should also steer clear of teasing the other guests.

"Embarrassing or intimate jokes should never be made at the expense of another person's relationships, personal life, appearance, or any other private subject," Issac explains. " Make sure everyone is at ease and respected by respecting their boundaries."

RELATED: The 5 Rudest Things to Ask Guests to Bring, Etiquette Experts Say.

"She probably RSVP'd no so she wouldn't have to miss The Bachelor."

Friends and family having lovely garden dinner party in the summer, autumn

You may think it's safe to poke fun of anyone not at the dinner party—after all, they're not there to hear it. But jokes at the expense of people not around may also be seen as mean-spirited by the other guests, Russo warns.

This can "make things super uncomfortable and cause tension," especially if someone at the table is close with the person you're joking about, he says.

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Jokes about politics, religion, or culture

 group of friends have dinner party on porch, everyone enjoy in food, drinking and smiling.

As Gregorio Lozano III, LPC, a professional counselor for Grow Therapy, tells Best Life, there are three particular things people should avoid using in any joke at a dinner party: politics, religion, or culture.

"What all three have in common is that they all can be detrimental in the same way," Lozano says. "That is, they have the potential to create division over something that can be very dear to a person."

Adina Mahalli, MSW, a certified mental health expert and family therapist for Maple Holistics, says jokes of this nature can make people feel "marginalized, offended, or disrespected," which can quickly create a negative atmosphere around the table.

"It's crucial to be mindful of the potential consequences and prioritize creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone involved," Mahalli says.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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