Every relationship may be different, but the characteristics that our single lady pals say are most important in a potential partner are usually easy to predict. Standard qualities of an ideal S.O. include caring, smart, interesting, fun, thoughtful… you catch our drift. While each of us may dream of meeting someone who can also relate to our more unique interests and hobbies (adventure travel, anyone?), studies say there are fundamental traits that make a good partner and a (hopefully) lasting relationship. What’s one more trait we know you can’t live without, according to a new study? Humor! Who wants to spend their life with someone who can’t crack them up?
While a good sense of humor is almost universally attractive, it turns out that all jokes are not created equal. According to a recent study by University of Kansas communications professor Jeffrey Hall, it’s a specific type of humor that can really predict the success of a romantic relationship. In order to study the importance of laughter between lovers, Hall surveyed the results of 39 studies, which together included 15,000 participants. His findings will be published in the next issue of the academic journal Personal Relationships.
How can we put our dazzling senses of humor to work in order to land the perfect relationship? According to Hall, it’s not really about how easily you can make a joke, how funny you are, or even how funny other people perceive you to be. “People say they want a sense of humor in a mate, but that’s a broad concept,” Hall writes. What’s actually important is you and your S.O.’s collective ability to develop a shared sense of humor. “It’s not that any style or a sense of humor is any better or worse,” Hall says. “If you share a sense of what’s funny, it affirms you and affirms your relationship through laughter.”
The study’s findings go a step further to determine one of the keys to developing this type of humor: playfulness. If you’re finding that you and your S.O. struggle to share a laugh or have a shortage of fits of hilarity, you may want to consider lightening up. This will create the space you might be lacking for a joint sense of humor to grow. “Playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security,” Hall says.
If playfulness is what you should be pursuing to find true humor in your partnership, teasing is the thing to avoid. No one ever became more popular or attractive by being a bully — even if it was “all in good fun.” Your partner should never be the butt of your jokes, and if you find that you’re regularly at the receiving end of your bae’s nasty comments, it may be time to dig deep and think about whether it’s time to call it quits. According to Hall, aggressive joke-telling is a bad sign for relationships, and it certainly won’t allow you to develop the kind of shared humor that’ll make your bond stronger. After all, how can you be in on the joke if the joke is at your expense?
Here’s what we all can learn from this new study: You can be the funniest person in the world (and if you are, we’d love to meet you), but if you’re not willing to cultivate a special sense of humor within your romantic relationships, you’re likely to be unlucky in love.
“It’s not about being a great comedian, but finding what’s funny in the everyday and enjoying it together, whether that’s The Simpsons or repeating funny things your kids say or The New Yorker cartoons or relishing in the absurdity of life,” Hall says. “It is most important that you do it together.”
What kind of humor is most important to you in a relationship? Tweet us @BritandCo!
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