I went to high school with a mostly nice group of kids from all backgrounds. But there were a few girls that were horrible; just plain mean. They made some classmates' lives a living hell. Not mine, because I would tell them off but many other kids suffered under their "mean girl" personas. And if they were caught by a teacher or other adult? They would claim a misunderstanding or that they were "just joking". So fast forward 25 years to last night. I went grocery shopping after dinner and ran into one of these high school divas. She smiled brightly when she recognized me and said: "Gee, you haven't changed a bit since graduation! Well, except for the 40 or 50 lbs you've gained since then." To which I replied: "And I see you haven't changed either. You're still the same petty and mean-spirited you were 25 years ago." "Oh, I was just joking... I hope I didn't offend you." "Well, I'm not joking and I am offended." And I walked away. So what do you think? Does couching an insult by saying "just kidding" or "just joking" or even "no offense intended" make it an acceptable statement to another person? I think if you have to tell someone that poking fun at them is funny, then it's no joke. It's rude and offensive to presume it's okay to do that. It angers me to think that this woman has children that she's teaching to be hurtful toward others all in the name of good clean fun.