The Scenario – The members of your family are strong willed, stubborn and sometimes hotheaded. Every gathering or vacation someone manages to pick a fight, which creates tension in what is supposed to be a fun-filled, loving environment. You could separate the people who tend to disagree into two different rooms, but then you think, they all disagree. Can a sense of humor help?
How does humor function in relationships?
According to a recent study conducted by Bethany Butzer, Ph.D., and Nicholas A. Kuiper, Ph.D., it can. The study found that humor plays an integral role in close relationships. The study focused on three specific types of humor:
1. Positive Humor
- Humor is used to strengthen the bond in relationships by creating warmth and an area of common enjoyment.
2. Negative Humor
- Humor is used to discretely raise issues or express hostility without taking responsibility for or immediately addressing personal feelings.
3. Avoidant Humor
- Humor is used to draw attention away from the conflict and decrease situational strain with laughter and amusement.
The Insight – Have a joke or three and some humorous anecdotes from past gatherings ready to use in case you need to diffuse any tension that might arise. Some theorists believe we argue the most with family because we feel connected enough to let our guards down. Don’t be surprised when the tension rises. Instead, try to use humor to bring everyone together.
What role will humor play in your holiday?
Creating Positive Perspectives for Life