Online dating closely resembles a soup in many aspects: you need different ingredients to make it work. Many consider attractiveness to be the meat that matters the most, but good communication is the vegetable, which is equally important, yet many people dislike it. Honesty is the salt: you need a tiny bit of it, but pouring too much destroys the meal. And last but not least, humor is the spice. That’s right; even if you cook all the basic ingredients to perfection, without a sense of wit the soup remains boring. Whether you are charming, honest and a good listener, your partner most likely remembers that hilarious joke you mentioned off-handedly. Surprised? Don’t be, as even the CEO of eHarmony shares this belief.
Humor Equals Wisdom?
Many people say that having matching sense of humor isn’t vital for a successful relationship, although it definitely makes things easier. But bear in mind that humor has many flavors to choose from: physical, self-deprecating, surreal, improvisational, topical, observational, dark, bodily and wit-word play. Also, philosophers, such as the French Comte-Sponville, speculated that being able to make good jokes is a true virtue. Indeed, there is some undeniable wisdom behind the funny clips of Groucho Marx, Louis CK or Woody Allen. Jokes can ease a conflict and lighten the mood. If you are able to make your previously cold partner smile, then it’s a proof that you’ll keep your relationship under control.
The Science of Jokes
When asked personally, singles rate humor among the top 3 most important character traits they seek in their partner. But as Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony pointed out, very few people are able to define it, and why something can be considered funny. Because humor is generally considered to be subjective, even the best matchmaking engines don’t take it into account when determining recommended dates for daters. However, eHarmony started taking steps against it; they inspected speed dating events, where they payed close attention to the attendant’s affiliation to certain joke types.
They not only confirmed that sharing the same sense of humor formed a quick bond between two people, but they found out that certain joke types work better when the other gender makes them. For example, when women scored high on physical humor, the chance of a second date increased, but when the man is a fan of low-brow humor, it did the exact opposite and reduced the chance of meeting again.
The Problem of Being Funny
But if humor is such a highly regarded trait, why do people try avoiding it when dating? The answer is simple: it’s a double-edged knife. Nothing botches a blossoming relationship quicker than a failed joke. Just imagine the awkward silence, the forced smiles and the weakly disguised effort of getting the conversation back on track. And let’s face it, staying witty and funny under pressure is really hard. Even if you are a born entertainer among your friends, your best jokes can still come off as forced during a date. Also, just because your partner understands your humor, it won’t necessarily make them smile. And faking a laugh after a bad joke often gives the impression of insincerity. As we said: humor is a spice, thus it must be used with caution.