There are things line of difference between humour and insult. Let me explain this with an example. Let's say you work with a friend who is a perfectionist, a very quality conscious person. To ensure that everything is fine he normally he goes overboard in getting things right and might appear to crib.
You are in a situation when one day, you happen to work with him on a project where his subordinates also involved. As usual, this guy is trying to get things organized in his inherent style; the atmosphere is a little tense and you decide to relax things.
So, you corner him in front of his subordinates and tell him to stop being so particular and stop cribbing about every little thing. Then, to lighten the situation, you add, “if I were your wife, I would have divorced you by now”, this brings a smile on everybody’s face.
Then you step a line tell him, ‘when I am dealing with people, I make sure that everyone gets their due in time but with you, I like to hold things back because of you crib’. Then you look at the subordinates and give them an example of how you get everybody else’s work in on time, but he takes long because he is never sure. Your friend’s subordinates do not know how to respond. Quite obviously, your friend loses in front of his people. You indeed had no intention to hurt your friend, but even without realizing, you hurt your friend, but even without realizing, you have done the damage.
It is like taking a bag of feathers, dropping them in the centre of the town and going back the next day to collect the feathers and put them back in the bag. Obviously, you will not be able to find any, as they would have been blown away. Our words are like feathers; once uttered they cannot be taken back.
Often people do not deliberately cross the line. It happens spontaneously. They think its good fun, but they often hurt people. Humour means laughing with people. Insult means laughing at people. One has to understand the difference between the two. Otherwise, you will do injustice to people around you making yourself unpopular in the long run.
When people become the target of your insults they will respond in either of two ways -- get hurt and not express it or get vocal. The bottom line is that in both cases if the matter is not dealt with tack and care then it causes a fault in the relationship.
No one wants to be humiliated or be a target of your insults. People want to laugh and stay with those who have a good sense of humour. But the problem starts when humour becomes an insult. When you are humorous, you will come across as a fun loving, chilled out person, but when you get into insult mode people will term you as a careless, insensitive person.
Some final line of wisdom -- watch your words and your word will watch you. Excessive talking does not mean communication. Talk less; say more. A fool speaks without thinking; a wise man thinks before speaking. A person who says what he like usually ends up hearing what he doesn’t like.

Author's Bio: 

Rahul Kapoor has been a columnist with Education Times, a weekly supplement of The Times of India. His column Work Wise appeared every fortnightly from 2001 to 2011.