Humor in Relationships
Most people, when asked what they look for in a partner, rank a “good sense of humor” right up near the top of their list. In fact, you’ll often see the acronym GSOH listed in dating ads. But “sense of humor” actually means something different when it comes to men and women. Women are attracted to men who can make them laugh. Men are attracted to women who laugh at their jokes. The basic difference is that men tend to use humor to compete with other men, they show how witty and smart they are with barbs and taunts toward each other. Women, on the other hand, use humor to bond with other people. Studies show that men often use humor to kind of jockey for position with other men when they are in the company of women. When a woman laughs at his jokes, males often perceive this as a sign of sexual interest, as a flirting behavior, and they are attracted. However, when a woman is too aggressive with her own humor, taking a kind of male role, men are turned off. Women like men who are funny because the humor helps them to relax, and they sense an ability on the man’s part to understand another person’s point of view. In long-term relationships, men who appreciate their female partner’s humor are more secure and mature than the average man. Humor plays a big role in diffusing tension and conflict in a relationship, and marriages last longer when couples appreciate each other’s playfulness.