Why I Hate April Fools' Day

I don’t like surprises. Unless I know that they’re coming and I know that I’ll like them, I’m uninterested. I don’t want that thrill. In its simplest form, April Fools' Day is about being mislead. Pranks don't have to be mean, as there's no rule that says playing a joke on someone has to be malicious. Often, they're good-natured and just a way to let loose, care a little less.

My problem is that people don’t often play a prank in which they give me a doughnut and then say “Sike! Here’s a cookie instead!” April Fools' Day jokes tend to be of the making you believe for twenty minutes that your parents gave away your dog. A jump scare, I could maybe abide by because it’s quick. There is no prolonged psychological torture involved.

As someone who is generally nervous and cares a great deal, April Fools' Day is not fun for me. I'm generally very concerned with reality and perceiving it correctly, so a day devoted to upending that is cause for alarm. I don't like to be stressed. There is an argument to be made for safe jokes being a good way to get more comfortable with that feeling. I'm of the opinion that life gives me enough ways to get used to being bamboozled that I don't need the people I love and trust doing that to me on purpose. Flexibility is useful, being able to handle yourself in a crisis in useful, not securing yourself to insecure things is useful. I don’t disagree with those premises, but I don’t want my best friends to tell me that they’re moving just because it’ll be funny to them when I get upset over nothing. Making fun of your friends is funny when it’s not intended to hurt them, or when you’ve established some boundaries.

Sure, sure, maybe there is a cultural tide right now against political correctness, against the growing sensitivity to other people’s feelings. That’s okay, those people can like April Fools' Day and can play jokes on each other all day long. Just don’t bother me with it.There is a line between making your life too easy and taking care of yourself. I do think that sometimes you have to push yourself to make progress, sometimes you have to get kicked out of your comfort zone in order to expand your own horizons. And sometimes you know that the memory of spending an April Fools' Day in mind-numbing fear of an abusive ex-boyfriend who was so manipulative and got so much enjoyment out of torturing you that you didn't even know what was up or down is enough to make you say no to the holiday for a few years.

As is the theme with many of my Her Campus articles, that's okay. Just like pranks don't have to upsetting, people don't have to play them. It doesn't hurt your friends to just leave you out of it, but it might hurt you if they don’t consider your personal needs. So, if you need to, take the easy way out for a second and tell the people around you that April Fools' Day just isn't your thing. There is no shortage of challenges, you’ll be facing your fears in no time. Save it for April 2nd, for the pop quiz your Professor’s gonna give you, for the fight with a friend that might be coming down the road. When it comes to mental health, you don't always have to take risks. Hopefully, while we work to decrease the stigma of mental illness, we can also decrease the stigma of self-care.

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