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Most of the Times People Aren’t Boring, They Just Lack a Sense of Humor

Most of the Times People Aren’t Boring, They Just Lack a Sense of Humor

Do you ever find yourself in a room full of people laughing at something someone said, only to realize you’re the only one apparently not in on the joke? It’s an interesting problem to have, and one not many people are aware of.

I’ve always been a smart-alec, it’s just in my blood. But I’ve definitely felt weird before when I say something clever and everyone laughs except one person. Did I offend them? Did they just not get the joke? Sometimes it could be that person doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Maybe you don’t find people to be all that funny. That’s okay. But studies have shown that having a sense of humor and laughing often can extend your lifespan. In fact, having a good sense of humor increases your chances of reaching retirement age. But after 70, those benefits can decrease. So until then, get to chuckling![1]

Laughter really is the best medicine!

It turns out that old cliche is an accurate one! In fact, learning to laugh more and loosen up can actually alleviate stress. Letting go of anger through laughter can help you release all that pent up anxiety and help you to be more balanced. This doesn’t just mean laughing at other people’s lame jokes or forcing yourself to smile when someone says something they deem witty; it also means laughing at yourself.

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In today’s world it can be so challenging to just let things roll off our backs and keep our heads up. But learning to laugh at our own mistakes can go a long way in helping us in our happiness.[2] When I feel stressed, I like to find a good pun, like this one:

    When you laugh at yourself, you radiate positivity.

    In 2011, a study was conducted to determine if laughing at ones self impacted character perception. Sixty-seven undergrads decided to rate their ability to laugh at themselves and had a couple witnesses come up with their own ratings. The undergrads essentially tricked the witnesses, as they took pictures of them as they filled out a questionnaire. The participants were shown numerous pictures later, including their own which had been wildly distorted and stretched. The photos were so distorted, in fact, that the participants didn’t recognize their own faces. While they rated the photos in terms of humor, they were filmed so the researchers could analyze their reactions to determine genuine happiness and smiles.[3]

    Although 80 percent of participants flashed a genuine smile at least once on seeing their own distorted image, it was those who claimed to be able to laugh at themselves, and whose peers agreed with this verdict, who showed more frequent and intense smiling and laughter in response to the distorted self-images, and fewer signs of fake smiles or negative emotion.

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    While no real correlation was determined between the ability to laugh at ones self and the amount of laughter triggered by the funny images of other peoples’ faces, there does seem to be evidence that proclivity for laughing at ones self really is a distinctive trait. So basically, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’ll like yourself more and be more enjoyable to others!

      There are actually many types of humor.

      Laugh-at-life humor. So far, we’ve really focused on the ability to laugh at yourself and at life. This is a specific type of humor that is usually related to not taking life too seriously. If you have this kind of humor, you probably know when to take a deep breath and let stress and anxiety melt away. There’s also a good chance you’re the friend people turn to for some positivity and motivation [4].

      Sarcastic humor: This is me. 100%. And if you’re also sarcastic, you have a dark, biting sense of humor and you’ve probably been told before that someone found you offensive. Sarcasm is usually associated with being quick-witted, and that can make it dangerous to speak without thinking. When people understand your brand of comedy, you’re golden. But when it comes to getting to know people, or wording an important work email, think before you speak/type.

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      Self-deprecating humor: This is a lot like laugh-at-life humor, but you’re basically always the root of the joke. You like to be the class clown, but too much of it can make people a little uncomfortable. There’s a line between dark and funny and dark and depressing.

      The giggles: A case of the giggles is typically suffered by kids and teens, but adults can certainly find themselves wheezing with laughter. Usually this is caused when something is so funny in a trifling way that you laugh and just can’t stop! This tends to happen to me pretty regularly, and I’m often the only person who thinks it’s as funny as it is![5]

      Highbrow/witty humor: I love having conversations with people who have this brand of wit. Basically, your jokes show intelligence. You catch on to the subtle allusions in movies and books and you’re careful to be witty but not a know-it-all.

      Bathroom humor: If you’re anything like me, you have a friend who sends you the poop emoji way too often. That friend has bathroom humor! If it’s gross, gory or mildly taboo, they think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. While these kinds of jokes can be hysterical, there’s a time and a place for crude jokes. Take it easy.

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      Jokes at others’ expense: You like to pick, prod and tease other people. This kind of humor walks a very fine line. After all, saying something bordeline cruel isn’t okay just because you say, “I’m kidding!” afterward. It’s okay to be sarcastic and give a friend a hard time, but make sure it’s not going to hurt them emotionally.

      Healing humor: This one’s important. This is the kind of laughter that is shared with someone, not aimed at them. When we laugh with others, we release frustration and stress. This can be a transformative experience and so very healing.

      Dry humor: This is one of my favorite types of humor, and I am so envious of those that have perfected it. Dry humor means having the ability to say something outrageous and funny but in an expressionless, matter-of-fact kind of way.[6]

      Everyone has their own brand of humor, you just have to find it.

      Unfortunately, you can’t just develop a sense of humor overnight, but luckily there’s a good chance you already have one. You may just not know how to allow yourself to laugh. Once you’ve determined what your brand of humor is, or at the very least believe you think you know what you want it to be, the tips below can help you grow your funny bone and get you giggling.

      • Laugh at others, but not in a hurtful way. When you laugh at something, it can sometimes be a domino effect. Allow yourself to laugh at any and everything you want, just avoid cruelty [7]!
      • Actively look for jokes every day! I know, I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. So much humor is all around you if you’re only willing to look for it. If you can force yourself to be actively aware of all the silliness you encounter 24/7, soon you will be able to laugh passively [8].

        • Recognize the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor: If you’re funny, you can express humor. But if you have a sense of humor, you can laugh with others, too!
        • Take cues from those around you: What makes your family laugh? Your best friend? Try watching moves with all kinds of different humor to determine what makes you smile and laugh. And remember, the idea is to learn from people, not copy them.
        • Practice self-love. If you love yourself, you’ll be able to joke at yourself. Good-humored individuals embrace all their faults, and even openly laugh about them. If you can accept yourself for all the good and the bad, you’re that much closer to having a great sense of humor.[9]
        • Stay Healthy: Humor is beneficial both physically and emotionally. If you develop a better understanding of humor, you’ll be better at coping at everything from dealing with pain to easing your own stress. Giggling can actually stimulate organs and improve your immune system. Again, it really is the best medicine!

        Images courtesy of Kicking Cones

        Reference

        [1] Science Daily: A sense of humor helps keep you healthy until retirement age
        [2] Don Connelly: Learn to Laugh at Yourself when It Is Called for
        [3] Research Digest: The first ever experimental investigation of laughing at oneself
        [4] Lauren Ware: The 10 Different Types of Humor
        [5] Psy Central: 7 Kinds of Humor and What They Mean
        [6] Daily Writing Tips: 20 Types and Forms of Humor
        [7] http://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/sense-of-humor/
        [8] http://www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Sense-of-Humor
        [9] HuffPost: 6 Signs You Have A Good Sense Of Humor

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        Heather Poole

        Technical writer

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        Last Updated on May 7, 2019

        How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

        How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

        Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

        The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

        The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

        Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

        People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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          They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

          Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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              1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
              2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
              3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
              4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
              5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

              How to Spot a Wolf

                Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                Ask Questions, the More the Better

                There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                Wolves Are Everywhere

                As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                Reference

                [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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