Everyone has a list of relationship deal breakers: traits someone either has to have — or not have — in order for them to be suitable for something long-term. A shared sense of humor tops the list of must-haves for a lot of people. A partner who can make you laugh and laughs at your jokes is the ideal, because let’s be honest, there are truly few things worse than telling a joke and having it land completely flat while on a date. After all, laughter has a significant effect on overall well-being. So, for many, if you don’t seem to have the same sense of humor as someone, it’s a wrap.
But what do you do if you're dating someone who is basically perfect for you in every other way? If you and your partner don't have the same sense of humor or find that you have no laughter in your relationship, is the whole thing doomed, or is there some way to salvage it? To answer this question, Connell Barrett, a NYC-based dating coach and relationship expert, and the founder of Dating Transformation, spoke to Elite Daily to help sort out the humor issue. And the good news is, there is hope.
Cultivating a shared sense of humor isn’t something that happens overnight, but understanding what makes your partner laugh is a start. “It’s not as simple as, ‘We don’t have the same sense of humor,’” says Barrett. “What’s really happening is that a couple is not tuned to the same channel.”
The first step to getting on the same channel, says Barrett, is understanding the differing types of humor. “A 2017 eHarmony study laid out six basic types of humor,” he shares:
- Bodily Humor: Includes toilet humor, humor involving bodily functions, and humor that is sexual in nature.
- Dark Humor: Making light of people and subjects that are generally considered serious or taboo.
- Physical Humor: Physical acts, including scaring others, pranks, or falling.
- Self-Deprecating Humor: A style of humor where an individual makes fun of themselves and their shortcomings for the enjoyment of others.
- Surreal Humor: Humor predicated on deliberate violations of causal reasoning, producing events and behaviors that are obviously illogical.
- Wordplay Humor: Includes puns, with an emphasis on unexpected meanings and usage of certain words.
The key here is to find at least one crossover between the two of you. “It only takes one to make a great relationship,” says Barrett.
Once you understand which types of humor you each enjoy, Barrett suggests planning activities that focus on that shared type of humor. “If you and your significant other aren’t laughing together, all is not lost,” he says. “Plan a movie night, watching, say, Monty Python flicks (surreal) or classic Jim Carrey (physical humor). Or play Cards Against Humanity and see if dark, taboo topics tickle your funny bones. Go to comedy clubs or improv shows, where in a given night you may see all six comedy types,” Barrett suggests.
While it will certainly take effort, finding commonality and all the shared laughter that comes with it will certainly make the work worthwhile. Queue up Schitt's Creek on Netflix for your next date night and you’ll be quoting Alexis Rose to each other in no time.
So, if you and your partner don't seem to be on the same page when it comes to laughter, it’s likely far from the dealbreaker you once thought it was. “Almost everyone has a sense of humor,” Barrett concludes. “You just have to flip to the right comedy channel.” Taking the time to find that mutual wavelength might bring you closer than ever before, and you may even learn you have access to more shared comedy channels than you originally thought.
Connell Barrett, dating coach and founder of Dating Transformation
Shadeen Francis, licensed relationship and marriage therapist
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