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Humour in Relationships

When I was still using dating apps, I noticed that humour was a highly desired trait mentioned in many profiles.

What are you looking for:

  • Able to laugh at my jokes.
  • Have a good sense of humour.
  • Funny/Fun-loving.
  • Doesn’t take themselves seriously etc.

At first, I thought, “Well, there are more crucial qualities to consider than humour.” However, as I met more people, no matter how engaging our conversations were, I realised sometimes a light-hearted chat, or a good laugh was just as necessary.


In fact, it wasn’t until I met people who appreciated my jokes and made me laugh that I understood the value of humour in relationships.

Moreover, sharing laughter can bring many benefits to our relationships and our overall well-being.

On an individual level, research has found that laughter can lower stress hormone levels, providing a significant boost to our immune system. It helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate, as well as enhancing our memory and concentration. Humour and laughter can also trigger the release of endorphins and oxytocin, helping us alleviate physical discomforts such as aches and pains, as well as fostering a sense of connection with others.

From a relationship standpoint, numerous studies show that humour cultivates playfulness, affection, and support among couples. Affiliative humour like funny remarks, jokes, and spontaneous witty exchanges, consistently and positively enhances a couple’s satisfaction in their relationship. Using humour to amuse, strengthen relationships, or ease tensions (but not deflecting conflicts) can promote interpersonal unity and attraction, especially when it elicits laughter during tough times.

That honestly doesn’t sound too surprising, does it? We’ve likely all experienced or heard stories of laugher diffusing potentially awkward, intense, or nerve-wracking situations. We feel more relaxed and calmer afterwards. We are more likely to be in a clearer and pleasant state to continue our conversations if needed.

And consider those inside jokes with our partners. Or recall a time when we observe other couples joyfully mention something seemingly funny but that only they understand. Those are the sweet, bonding moments in relationships.

When we laugh with (not at) each other, we naturally feel a shared sense of closeness toward one another.

Because at least at that moment, we both know we are on the same page.

The other thing I’ve noticed as I reflected on how I’ve used humour in relationships and come to appreciate its various roles, is that humour invites play and playfulness, fostering trust, safety, and vulnerability among us. I recalled a comment from a friend who once said, “I like being with you because we get to be kids again.” At the time, we were trying to outdo each other with funny poses while taking pictures with an art statue.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? It’s not easy to be a kid as an adult nowadays- the willingness to be silly or quirky, be childlike yet carefree. When we let go of some of our inhibitions and expectations, we create a space where we can feel safe enough to be our authentic selves.

That being said, it’s not about finding a partner who has to be naturally hilarious. Instead, perhaps we can try nurturing a sense of humour together with our partner.

Here are some ways to build, or improve on this connection:

  1. Watch comedies and stand-up shows together. It may seem like a cliché, but it’s a simple way to explore both your and your partner’s sense of humour.
  2. Share funny gifs and posts from social media with each other. You can also talk about what you find amusing in everyday life, and it’s even better if you can narrate your experiences as if you’re performing a story.
  3. Get creative and find playful ways to flirt with each other. A wink, a tease, or a touch? Let your imagination run wild!
  4. Embrace your silly side! Invite your partner to be your playmate. Whether it’s trying something new together, playing interactive games, or spontaneously dancing to a song. Have fun and let loose!

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