Dudes and Humor

Dudes and Humor

Have you ever heard a woman say, “I’m looking for a man who can make me laugh?” Sure, it’s a cliché, but it became a cliché for a reason. Of course, a woman who says this isn’t saying EXACTLY what she means, but it does provide an important clue to what she means. Believe it or not, guys are looking for pretty much the same thing in a bro. So let’s look deeper into what’s going on here.

Modern science hasn’t offered many solid conclusions yet as to why humans and other primates developed the instinct of laughter. The best theory so far is that laughter is one of many tools for social bonding. There’s good evidence to support this theory: studies have shown that people laugh much more frequently when they’re in groups than they do when they’re alone. Other studies show that people in groups laugh at many things besides jokes: the person you’re around has much more ability to make you laugh than the actual joke does. But before I hit you with any more of this theory, let’s take a real-world example.

I love to people-watch, especially in crowded spots where I can sit comfortably and observe the world going by. I’ve actually collected some stories about people watching, and I trade them with friends of mine who do the same thing. Here’s a story I got from one of them.

My friend was having dinner at a restaurant that was popular for dating. About 30 feet from his table, he noticed a couple at another table and started watching their body language. Both the man and the woman were obviously uncomfortable with each other, so it was most likely their first date, maybe even a blind date. The man was trying to joke with her, but she wasn’t laughing at any of his punch lines, and he was laughing a little too much at his own.

Then something happened.

The woman finally laughed at something her date said, and from that instant forward, the entire dynamic had changed. It was like flipping a switch. These two were going to be a couple, at least for a while.

Does this story surprise you? Turn the tables and think about the last time you were with friends, male or female. Can you remember something funny that one of them said or did? You probably can, maybe even from years ago. Now think about a time when you had to be around someone who made you uncomfortable. (Maybe it was for a good reason, or maybe it was just your gut-level instinct. For this example it doesn’t matter.) Now, did you laugh at any of this person’s jokes? Not unless you were faking it.

There’s one other thing I believe every guy should understand when it comes to humor beyond standup comedy. The people with the best sense of humor are the least worried about what others think of them. The less they actively seek someone’s laughter, the more they get it. Laughter is an invitation to bond with someone’s social group, but you never NEED an invitation to a particular group. No matter who you are, not everyone will laugh at your jokes, but this is actually a good thing. Humor works as a filter to help you find the bros and ladies who are most compatible with you. Happy hunting!

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