Sense of humor

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Post by Olmajor on Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:35 pm

Basically I'd like to know what different people mean by it. How do you see it? I'm posting this is Meeting People and Dating Advice, because I'm interested in the social angle of putting your best self forward.

I'm not quick-witted with puns or other funny sayings like some of my friends are. I knew a lot of jokes as a kid, but it seems telling them is not a thing adults do, at least not IRL. But having a sense of humor in a social context must be more that that, because I believe that no one who knows me would say, that I don't have a sense of humor. So what is that thing you have to truthfully say, that you have a good sense of humor, and new people you meet notice about you.


Last edited by Olmajor on Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Post by Suika on Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:21 pm

Having a good sense of humor" is one of those things that you can get by without, but having it improves your chances massively. Of course, "liking funny guys" feels like a cliché as well at this point, in similar fashion to "I like to laugh", "I enjoy traveling" or "I'm a nice guy".
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Post by Robjection on Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:54 pm

Personally I consider my sense of humour to be most favourably described as "finds it easy to see the funny side". In truth, it's a case of "if it's meant to be funny, odds are I'll be laughing regardless of the type of humour".

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:30 pm

Sense of humour is a fascinating thing because it can be so different for everyone.  I believe everyone has one, but that they vary so greatly that we don't necessarily find everyone funny or even all that interesting.  So when someone says they like someone with a sense of humour it might not mean YOURS.  

I think you can work on being more funny and more universally funny (though never completely universally), I did it myself actually, but it happened so gradually that it's hard to teach others how to do it.  I can say that the first thing I did was watch other funny people who really seemed to get the crowd going and then I'd steal their jokes and use them in other circles.  That gave me some confidence and I started to come up with my own quips etc.  It takes a kind of bravery to tell a joke, a kind of hubris as well that you will say something and others will laugh.  That's the hardest hurdle to jump especially when you are shy and lack that kind of confidence.  I also developed my humour through writing and acting.  I was terrible at improv, but learned I could perform already written comedy with good comic timing.  That taught me how to fine tune that timing and then take it out into the real world.  And writing also, because I could finely hone my jokes until they worked.  

Practice, I guess, is the key.  And not being afraid of falling on your face.  


Another thing re: online dating and "sense of humour", it might be frustrating as a guy to feel like you have to perform as some kind of dancing monkey or something.  But as a woman there are equal frustrations.  You see when a woman writes she is looking for someone with a sense of humour she tends to mean "someone who can make me laugh".  When a man writes it, he often means "someone who will laugh at my jokes".  So as a funny woman, it can be dangerous replying to a man looking for someone with a sense of humour because he might not appreciate that you are funny yourself.  And heaven forbid you're funnier . . .

Anyway, point is, "sense of humour" doesn't say much at all.  And ultimately I think you should just ignore it as a request.  Because even if you are so proud of your sense of humour, it still might not match hers.  And them's the breaks.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:32 pm

Oh! Also! The joke thing? People do like those old fashioned "Why did the bear walk into the bar?" kind of jokes. Once someone starts telling them, then others join in and everyone ends up having a really good time. So why not just say to someone, "Hey I heard a cool joke yesterday. Here it is: . . ." it could actually really break the ice well Smile .

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Post by reboot on Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:26 pm

Sense if humor is a nebulous concept because it tends to mean both being funny and appreciating humor. And of course when people use "sense of humor" in a relationship context they mean "find me funny and be funny in a way I appreciate" which is really hard to figure out until you know someone.

If you just want to be funnier, one tactic is to become a good storyteller rather than attempt jokes. Personally I can not advise how to do this because I can not do it, but the funniest people I know tend to have this kind of humor (or maybe this is the humor type I appreciate most?)

People who find me funny tend to like my turns of phrase and side observations. I can not tell you how to come up with them because they are largely unintentional on my part.
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Post by Caffeinated on Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:30 pm

A negative way that "must have a sense of humor" can be meant is when the person is a bit of a bully and hates to be called on it. They're looking for someone who they can use "don't you have a sense of humor" on to get away with being mean.
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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:42 pm

As a semi-pro comic, I gave this advice on the old DNL forums, and I think it still holds true.

I think the easiest and fastest way to improve would be to start saying the things you think in your head out loud.

It's a type of honesty and honest is a good trait to develop. It also lends itself to a certain humor because people aren't always used to hearing the truth out loud. A lot of times people are thinking something and hearing somebody else SAY it can break the tension.

They also laugh when they can tell someone is being totally themselves, ie: "Oh, that Brenda. Only SHE would come up with something like that."

But Brenda isn't coming up with anything. She's just saying what she thinks. She's putting herself out there and there's something compelling about people who aren't afraid to express who they are without fear or apology.

On the other hand, a professional comic also told me and a roomful of aspiring comedians: "Just notice what people find funny about you and then Do That More."

So maybe I'm overcomplicating things.

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Post by Guest on Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:53 pm

reboot wrote:If you just want to be funnier, one tactic is to become a good storyteller rather than attempt jokes. Personally I can not advise how to do this because I can not do it, but the funniest people I know tend to have this kind of humor (or maybe this is the humor type I appreciate most?)

Seconding the storytelling. My favourite comedians and funny friends are all storytellers.

I can't tell a story for shit, but I seem to work better with dry and/or dark humour. A naturally monotonic voice lends itself to the former at least.

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Post by Stumbles on Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:13 pm

Oh humor. I love making an ass of myself for a good laugh. I'm also the type of asshole who laughs at her own jokes. My take: as long as I amuse at least one person, it's a solid joke--even if it's just lil ol' me.

As long as our senses of humor align, it's generally a great time. Guys need to remember girls like to be funny too and get the same rush from a well delivered joke/story/quip/what have you.
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Post by Jayce on Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:25 pm

Most of the time I don't really seem as someone that is funny. Most of my humor come in the form of cheeky comments which is the preferred type of humor that I'm willing to deliver. The other one is recounting funny stories. Unfortunately I'm not good at both of those. I don't really like telling jokes much or being the clown.

So I'm not funny, what do I do? Well when I think about funny I see it as a form of entertainment. I entertain people with my curiousity, game playing (ex. whats your favourite band? Wait let me guess...), willingess to go on adventures, willingess to have fun. When I meet people I try really hard to give a "I want to get to know you" vibe. Have these strategies worked out for me so far? Kind of, sometimes people are entertained by it. It's no substitution for humor since it dosent create laughter. But it does keep people engaged in their interactions with me.

The saying what you think out loud has worked for me sometimes though. Last week I was in a conversation about helping other people. So I just said what I honestly thought in my mind about helping other people. I said "thats pretty cool, helping other people is like the closest thing we can get to becoming superheroes". Apprarently that was funny to the two other people I was talking to. I didn't see how it could be funny.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:36 am

For me a lot of what people mean in terms of "has a sense of humour" tends to be more about being fun, enjoyable and relaxed in the company of others. Being able to not take yourself or the situation too seriously - I don't mean intentionally humiliating yourself for the entertainment of others, but just being able to handle happenstance in a way that reduces tension.

So for example, you're on a date with someone and manage to miss your chair when trying to sit down, landing on the floor. Laughing that off, acknowledging and being okay with the fact that what happened was Not Suave, shows both that you have a sense of humour and that you're not lacking in confidence - that incident doesn't feel like it "ruined" the date for you.

The rest of it that others have mentioned is good, too - telling jokes, being able to gauge which jokes are the right ones to tell this particular audience, saying your in-the-moment thoughts out loud, making other people laugh, being able to laugh with/at the humour of others... laughter is disarming, relaxing and ice-breaking. It's funny - I've never thought of "being funny around others" as being about performing or being the entertainment. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I've always seen humour - whether dry or physical or punny - as just a sort of social lubrication that lots of people use in tiny ways basically continuously.

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Post by KMR on Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:25 am

Like others have said, having a good sense of humor in a dating context usually means having a compatible sense of humor with whomever you're dating. In fact, this could apply to the opposite end of the humor spectrum: if you're the more serious type, you may find that you're more compatible with others who are serious-minded, as opposed to those who highly value humor as a social lubricant. It just depends on what your style and preferences are.

When I think about what it is I personally mean when I say I'd like a partner with a compatible sense of humor, I can break that down several different ways:
1. A partner who will laugh at my jokes and generally find me funny when I am meaning to be
2. A partner who can make me laugh (i.e. when he means to be funny, I actually find it funny)
3. A partner who does not take everything too seriously, who can find the lighthearted and humorous side of a situation, when appropriate. (Knowing how and when to switch between being humorous and serious when a situation calls for it is an important skill, by the way. It gets very irritating when you're trying to have a serious conversation someone and they keep cracking jokes.)
4. A partner who has similar taste in humorous media to mine, so that we can enjoy some of the same forms of funny entertainment.

As you can see, many of these don't actually require a person to always be cracking jokes and feeling like they have to perform. #1 and #2 just mean finding each other funny if and when one of you is trying to be, however often that may happen. #3 is more about worldview--how often do you tend to find the humor in a situation--and again is something that should be compatible with your date/partner. #4 is shared laughter over humor that comes from an outside source, which helps people bond and connect with one another, just like having shared interests or personality traits does.
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Post by Olmajor on Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:37 pm

UristMcBunny wrote:For me a lot of what people mean in terms of "has a sense of humour" tends to be more about being fun, enjoyable and relaxed in the company of others.  Being able to not take yourself or the situation too seriously - I don't mean intentionally humiliating yourself for the entertainment of others, but just being able to handle happenstance in a way that reduces tension.

So for example, you're on a date with someone and manage to miss your chair when trying to sit down, landing on the floor.  Laughing that off, acknowledging and being okay with the fact that what happened was Not Suave, shows both that you have a sense of humour and that you're not lacking in confidence - that incident doesn't feel like it "ruined" the date for you.  

The rest of it that others have mentioned is good, too - telling jokes, being able to gauge which jokes are the right ones to tell this particular audience, saying your in-the-moment thoughts out loud, making other people laugh, being able to laugh with/at the humour of others... laughter is disarming, relaxing and ice-breaking.  It's funny - I've never thought of "being funny around others" as being about performing or being the entertainment.  Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I've always seen humour - whether dry or physical or punny - as just a sort of social lubrication that lots of people use in tiny ways basically continuously.

What you wrote is a new way for me to see humor. It feels so right! It makes sense that it's about feeling comfortable and signaling that comfort outward.

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