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The Value of Humor

“If I had a dollar for every woman who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.”

“Would you mind holding this for me while I take a walk?” (hold out your hand)

“I’m single by choice…just not my choice.”

Did these jokes elicit a chuckle from you? Or at least a smile? I’m glad!

Some may recognize my name from some of the risible posts I leave on Boundless’ Facebook page. If you ask me why I do it, it’s because I enjoy bringing levity to our lives in a world of flaming on social media, gloom and doom pessimism we hear in the news, and discouragement we all feel at times.

The Bible says that a cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22), and science has well documented the benefits of laughter. But there are other reasons to channel your inner funny bone.

1. Humor can diffuse tension.

Did you ever notice that the only people that can get away with talking openly and frankly on hot button issues such as race, politics and sex are comedians? They have the power to make us confront our own perceptions and those of others without making us bristle. Of course, there are times to focus on being serious and leave jokes at the door, but a well-timed comment can bring us back to reason rather than letting us be ruled by emotion.

2. Humor can be an opportunity for new relationships.

Anecdotally, both women and men are looking for someone who can make them laugh and for good reason: Laughter is a catalyst for social bonding. You make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex and bring positive energy to a group dynamic. Cheering someone up can show that you care and make coping with your quirks that drive them crazy more tolerable.

3. Humor can bring us closer to God.

Have the cares and disappointments of life left you despondent and in despair? Sometimes, when we encounter something which makes us smile, it reminds us of the joy that God wants for our lives to bring us hope through His Spirit (Romans 15:13). C.S. Lewis wrote that joy is never in our power like pleasure is, and he would probably agree such joy ultimately comes from God.

So how can you bring more mirth into your life and into the lives of others even if you don’t consider yourself a funny person? Here are three ideas:

1. Find your “style” of humor.

Satire, slapstick, self-depreciation — we all find some type of comedy funnier than others. Playing to our strengths can help us express them in a natural and effective way. Spend time with others who share these preferences.

2. Keep an eye open for ideas.

Here’s a secret: Most of my material is not original. It’s gathered from various sources: humor websites, comics I run across, and forums from others who leave witty comments. When I encounter something which is comedic gold, I make a point to save that image/video or write down that joke/story and try to incorporate it into my interactions with others, either online or in real life.

3. Practice, persevere through tough crowds, and encourage others along the way.

The biggest fear many comedians have is that they tell a joke or story and no one laughs. True, humor is inherently risky. And if a punchline isn’t well received, we think we should stop trying. But anything worth doing is worth a lot on Craigslist (no, that’s not right). You don’t always have to be the center of attention. Piggyback off someone’s story with a quip or an anecdote of your own. If you are focused on making others happy rather than making yourself look good, I bet you’ll be more successful than not. Just be sure to gauge your audience.

And finally:

Q: “What is the top reason to date Lisa Anderson?”

A: “She’s the best in Show Boundless.”

Mike Theemling has been a long-time reader of Boundless and enjoys cooking, writing, travel, and studying comedy about his favorite topic: guy/girl relationships.


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