If you've been looking to the ~stars~ when it comes to love, you might be able to look at something much closer to home: your Netflix queue. An upcoming paper in the psychology journal Personal Relationships that analyzes studies that have focused on the role of humor in relationships reveals that, at the end of the day, what we really want is a partner who laughs at the same jokes that we do. Suddenly puts a hell of a lot more importance under your "favorite TV shows" on your dating profile, huh? (Sidebar — Parks and Rec fans, hit me up, yo.)
Of course, this isn't entirely surprising — "good sense of humor" is on most people's bae bucket list. But what the study finds is that we all have extremely subjective ideas of what a "good" sense of humor is, and that subjectiveness comes down to this: when other people laugh at the same things we find funny, we categorize them as "people with good senses of humor".
Jeffrey Hall, a communications expert at the University of Kansas and the author of the paper, said in a statement, "It’s not about being a great comedian, but finding what’s funny in the everyday and enjoying it together, whether that’s The Simpsons or repeating funny things your kids say or The New Yorker cartoons or relishing in the absurdity of life.”
The meta-analysis includes data from 39 different studies and 15,000 participants over the course of 30 years, which is a heck of a lot of social science to tell us something us simple as "go date someone who laughed as hard as you did at that GIF of the dog trying not to eat a cupcake". Of course, it's not quite as simple as that, and Hall emphasizes in another statement about the study that not only is the material of the humor important, but where it is aimed — namely, that the humor is most successful in a relationship when you're laughing at the same things, and not necessarily at each other's expense.
“Having an aggressive sense of humor is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if the style of humor is used in the relationship. If you think that your partner tells mean-spirited jokes, then it's likely you’ve seen that firsthand in your relationship," said Hall.
So there you have it — no need to go out of your way with shenanigans to impress your date with your sense of humor. As long as you have a similar one, you'll be A-OK. (Unless you don't like Parks and Rec, in which case, who hurt you?)