It's not unusual to hear people say that one of the traits they value most is a good sense of humor. In fact, it's something that a lot of us look for in a partner. And it's easy to see why — laughing together can be incredibly soothing and help you connect with another person. But a good sense of humor means something different to everyone. And according to a recent study in the Journal of Research in Personality, being on the same page can help your relationship — especially when it comes to your ability to laugh at yourself.
The researchers conducted online interviews with 154 heterosexual couples, asking them about their relationship happiness levels and about how they handle being laughed at, as well as how much they like laughing at others. The researchers found that often the couples did both have the same attitudes toward teasing and, when this was the case, they were more likely to report themselves as being content in their relationship. Overall, those who were happy to have people laugh at them and be teased were more likely to report being happy in their relationships — and their sex lives, while those who viewed being laughed at negatively were less content in their relationships and more likely to report mistrust of their partner.
"While we expected that those high in the fear of being laughed at would be less satisfied in their relationships, we were quite surprised that the joy in laughing at others is widely unrelated from being romantically satisfied," Kay Brauer, one of the study authors, tells Bustle. In fact, couples where one or more partners reported enjoying laughing at others were more likely to report having arguments.
While the researchers were quick to acknowledge that being able to be teased or having the same since of humor is not enough to make a happy relationship, they did also point out that there are other benefits to understanding how each person responds to laughter and teasing. It could be helpful in couple's counseling, when dealing with disagreements, and for general understanding of the other person's point of view. There are so many different ways our sense of humor can develop and it's important to understand that not everyone is wired the same way.
"We assume that different factors may play a role for how people deal with ridicule and being laughed at," Brauer says. "Studies of families have shown that gelotophobic [fear of being laughed at] parents have children that are also high in being afraid of being laughed at. Maybe physiological components such as genes may a play role as well as experiences of being ridiculed throughout childhood might contribute to the development of how we deal with laughter. "
Your sense of humor can definitely affect how well you click with the people around you, so it makes sense that it would have a big impact on your relationship. It's an important reminder not to take yourself too seriously, because taking a joke can pay off big for your relationship.