How to manage conflict with humour
Learn how to use laughter and play to resolve disagreements and strengthen your relationships.
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true. Laughter relieves stress, elevates mood, and makes you more resilient. But it’s also good for your relationships.
In new relationships, humour can be an effective tool not just for attracting the other person, but also for overcoming any awkwardness that arises during the process of getting to know one another.
In established relationships, humour can keep things exciting, fresh, and vibrant. It can also help you get past conflicts, disagreements, and the tiny aggravations that can build up over time and wreck even the strongest of bonds.
Sharing the pleasure of humour creates a sense of intimacy and connection between two people—qualities that define solid, successful relationships. When you laugh with one another, you create a positive bond between you. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, disappointments, and bad patches in a relationship. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing someone laugh primes you to smile and join in the fun.
Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with a romantic partner, friends, family, or co-workers, humour can help. Using these tips, you can learn to use humour to smooth over differences, lower everyone’s stress level, and communicate in a way that strengthens and deepens your relationships.
The benefits of using humour in your relationships.
Humour can help you:
Form a stronger bond with other people. Your health and happiness depend, to a large degree, on the quality of your relationships—and laughter binds people together.
Smooth over differences. Using gentle humour often helps you address even the most sensitive issues, such as sex or in-laws.
Diffuse tension. A well-timed joke can ease a tense situation and help you resolve disagreements.
Overcome problems and setbacks. A sense of humour is the key to resilience. It helps you take hardships in stride, weather disappointment, and bounce back from adversity and loss.
Put things into perspective. Most situations are not as bleak as they appear when looked at from a playful and humorous point of view. Humour can help you reframe problems that might otherwise seem overwhelming and damage a relationship.
Be more creative. Humour and playfulness can loosen you up, energize your thinking, and inspire your relationship.