Monday, January 23, 2012

Does the Person You're Dating Make You Smile and Laugh?

I hear a lot about folks wanting to find someone with a good sense of humor. It's almost one of those boilerplate pieces on the "master list" each of has carries about with us.

But you know what? I don't think humor is exactly what many of us are desiring. Perhaps the word is simply shorthand, but I can imagine plenty of readers out there who have, like me, met or even dated people with great senses of humor that weren't really a good match.

I think better questions to ask are ones like the following four:

Does the person I'm with easily bring a smile to my face, sometimes without even trying to?

Is laughter a regular part of our experience together?

Does his/her's humor add to the relationship?

Are we playful together?

I have had a few short term relationships with women who sometimes used humor to blame others, or avoid conflicts. Furthermore, I have dated genuinely "funny" women with whom I rarely, if ever, felt that spontaneous smiling and joy arising with. We could laugh at each others' jokes, but there wasn't any depth beneath that. It was more like entertaining each other, and when that wasn't happening, the basic level of happiness just wasn't present for the most part.

It's worth considering what lies beneath the surface of humor. Because it's easy to be attracted to folks with a good sense of humor, but there's a lot more to a conscious relationship than being funny.


  1. This is always something that makes me reluctant to contact someone when they have it on their profile - because how on Earth am I supposed to know what they think is a "good" sense of humour? I know there are plenty of people who won't find my tendency towards wordplay, puns and dirty jokes to be very funny; equally there are some types of jokes that either disgust me or just make me go "huh".

    But I think with all my previous partners, laughter was the key thing rather than joking - laughing at ourselves, at each other, at slapstick-0style stuff that just happened to us, and all that stuff: not jokes, but sharing fun, and I think that's what you're getting at. If it was always solemn unless someone was cracking a joke, there really wasn't much else going on for a relationship to get started.

    I suppose it's also the sort of intangible thing I was talking about here, although it's hard to know how I'm getting such a sense form just a profile!

  2. I totally agree with you about not knowing what someone means when they say "good sense of humor." Because what is good differs for each of us. And no doubt, laughing and enjoying each other are so much more important than a good joke. It's important for folks to move beyond wanting to be entertained. When I see discussions online, I sometimes get the sense that people are mistaking a good entertainer for a good partner.

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