Have you ever been completely caught off guard by someone surprising you? Maybe a friend jumped out and scared you when you least expected it or a loved one threw you an unexpected party.
Surprises can be fun, but in the moment it can be tough to know how to react. Read on for tips on how to respond with humor when someone catches you unaware.
When you’re caught completely unaware, it’s understandable to feel disoriented or even upset at first. But once you recover, the best response is often to just go with it and act surprised (even if the surprise doesn’t totally delight you).
Leaning into the silliness of the situation with an exaggerated reaction can turn an awkward moment into a hilarious memory.
Things to Know Before Responding
- Take a breath first. It’s hard to be funny when you’re caught super off-guard.
- Read the room. Make sure a big reaction is appropriate for the situation.
- Have fun with it! Surprises mean someone cares enough to plan something special.
Best Funny Responses to Being Surprised
“Ahhh! Is it my birthday?! How long was I asleep?!”
Pretending to just wake up and be confused about what’s happening is a foolproof way to get a laugh. Bonus points if you actually close your eyes first and then open them wide in mock alarm. Some other good lines:
- “Wait, what year is it? How long have I been out?”
- “I must have blinked and missed something!”
- “Did you spike my drink when I wasn’t looking?”
Humor works well for surprise reactions because it relieves the initial tension. Goofy exaggeration like pretending to have been asleep shows you’re a good sport about the whole thing.
“No one told me flash photography was allowed!”
Throwing up bunny ears, acting blinded, or stumbling around like a vampire exposed to light are simple physical comedy bits that can make surprise reactions hilarious. For example:
- Shield your eyes and shout “My eyes! The goggles do nothing!”
- Mimic fainting onto a nearby chair or friend’s shoulder
- Blink dramatically and ask which one of the 3 images of the room is the real one
Over-the-top responses reinforce the silliness of being caught unaware. Playing up shock at the brightness if photos are taken pokes gentle fun at the situation. Physical comedy makes surprise reactions memorable for everyone.
“My life just flashed before my eyes!”
Pretend to have a near-death experience from the shock. Clutch your chest and gasp things like:
- “Tell my mother I love her!”
- “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!”
- “Please clear my browser history!”
Overdramatic reactions always get laughs. Play it up by pretending the surprise almost killed you on the spot!
Loud bird screeching sounds
Channel your inner pterodactyl by imitating a prehistoric bird cry. Screech “AaaAaaKkK!” or flap your arms and yell “Caw caw, bark bark!” Say you’re practicing your bird calls when someone asks why.
Nonsensical noise-making taps into pure absurdity. Shock and confusion make people react weirdly so comedic bird-person is fair game!
“I DEMAND an explanation!”
Channel an old monarch and pretend to be outraged at the commoners daring to surprise royalty. Declare royal decrees like:
- “Summon the royal trumpets to herald my surprise entrance!”
- “A dancing jester shall entertain me after this affront!”
- “Off with your heads! But first explain yourselves!”
Imperious overreactions give a sense you’ve been deeply personally victimized by the surprise. Which makes a silly contrast to the likely very nice gesture.
“But I wore my worst clothes today!”
Look down, sniff your armpits dramatically and start trying to fix imagined flaws. Say things like:
- “No one told me there would be photos, time for an outfit change!”
- “Can I borrow someone’s fancy hat and bow tie?”
- “Wait right there while I go put on makeup for the flash!”
It mocks the silliness of wanting to always look perfect. Exaggerating fear of being seen messy pokes fun at vanity in a good natured way.
“Surprise!! Oh wait…”
Turn the tables by yelling surprise and pretending THEY are the shocked ones. Watch their reactions while over-celebrating before realizing your mistake.
Few things disarm tense situations faster than someone inadvertently mocking themselves. It shows you don’t take surprises or yourself too seriously!
Starts singing “Surprise!” song
Launch into a themed song like the Spongebob “Surpri-ise!” song or “Surprise Surprise Surprise!” from How I Met Your Mother. For extra points, leap around to dance moves like jazz hands.
Spontaneous sing-alongs make surprise responses joyful times to bond. Jumping into familiar tunes feels akin to giving someone a vocal hug!
Muppet flailing arms wild take
Recreate the classic Kermit the Frog reaction meme pose by waving arms wildly before snapping back calmly with “I wasn’t expecting company!” Pretend it’s your rehearsed bit.
Channeling beloved characters gives surprise reactions a touchstone familiarity. Plus Muppet flailing never fails to look endearingly ridiculous in a funny way!
“Congratulations! Is it mine?”
If a surprise baby or engagement reveal shocks you, pretend you’re the OTHER secret partner. Ask excited questions like “When’s the due date?” or start fake planning wedding meals.
Assuming you’re the bonus reveal turns the surprise back on the surprise-giver. But avoid going too far if sensitivities around paternity or fidelity linger! A little playful ambiguity can go a long way.
Replying to Surprise Texts
Startled by a surprise reveal in a text or email? Quick comedy reactions work perfectly in written chat.
- Unleash a torrent of shocked emoji. The exaggerated digital freak-out will get the point across.
- Type in all caps with lots of extra letters, like “WHAAAAAATTTTT?????”
- Alternate capital and lower-case letters for EmpHasIs, liKe tHiS
- Send a meme or GIF of someone reacting over-the-top. Falling off chairs work well.
- Blame autocorrect with a line like “Sorry, my phone spazzed out from the surprise.”
- Simply send lots of question and exclamation marks like “???!?!?!?!!?!?!”
Surprise Reactions in Person
In-person surprises allow for over-the-top physical comedy reactions:
- Dramatically stumble or swoon like an old-timey Victorian with the vapors
- Flap your hands and spin in frantic circles
- Freeze in silly startled poses
- Unleash a torrent of babbled nonsense words or just scream.
- Insert “surprise” into regular sentences like “Well butter my biscuit and call me Surprised Susan!”
- Mash other words into surprise like “Smaple!” or “Spork!”
Play it loud, big and physical when surprises strike in person. The key is fully committing to the bit to build shared laughs.
What Not to Do
While comedy can be a great surprise response, make sure to:
- Avoid hurtful sarcasm or criticism. Surprises show effort.
- Don’t overdo it if the mood feels wrong. Read the room.
- Have an “off” switch ready in case the joke goes flat.
What To Do
- React first, analyze later – stay present in the moment.
- Thank the surprise-giver after the initial shock wears off.
- Laugh about it later – surprises make good stories.
- Consider if you could surprise them back sometime! Building good relationships is a two-way street.
Being caught by surprise can be shocking (literally!) but with the right mindset, it can also be an opportunity for major laughs. Learning silly tricks like exaggerated responses can turn you into the master of comedic surprise reactions.
So next time someone jumps out and scares you, stun them with your willingness to make a moment fun and funny. Surprises may catch you unaware but humor and laughter are the best responses!