Why Should You Use Humor to Manage Conflicts

4 minutes

In our previous post we have talked how and why we should change our mental lenses to see the lighter side of life. In this post we look at  how humour and laughter can be used effectievly to manage conflicts, and spread the warmth and love

I didn’t know how powerful a tool humor could be till the day I accidentally discovered it. I remember I was 16 years or so, and as most teenagers, I too was a rebellious kid. My careless attitude would get on my mom’s nerves leading to a huge fight, which at times dragged for a day or two, but the yelling just wouldn’t end. For me, it felt like she hated me and picked on every move I made. It had become a routine and as much as she hated it, I hated it too.

It was on a regular day, in the middle of the days fight, when my mom yelled at the top of her voice as I had again forgotten to wipe the floor after my shower. And not to my surprise she had again slipped on it. As she came to me yelling I remember having held her face in my hand all of a sudden and expressed as I teased her, “Oh, did you fall again? Sorry!” to which she exclaimed, “of course I did..!!”. Looking at each other for a second we burst out in a fit of a laughter and that was the first time our fight ended on a good note. It was that day that I realized how my harsh words were only adding fuel to the fire when all it needed was a little humor to peace it out.
Conflicts are inescapable when talking about a relationship. Although it does spice up the relation, but just like too much of anything is bad, too many conflicts can lead to a distorted relationship. This is the time when humor can play its role to ease out the situation and help share some lighter moments of fun.

Humor is no magic but is a way to approach the situation, a way that helps us be in the moment, off guarded and spontaneous.

So how does it work? Talking from a biological front, laughter helps in expanding the chest cavity making the place for more oxygen. This exercise, in turn, decreases the heart rate making the person feel calm by bringing the body and mind back to its balance.
Having to use humor in a conflict shows the openness, comfort, and commitment people have towards each other that they are able to deal with the tension in a more constructive manner. Although laughter or humor is said to be the best medicine but there are two most important things that need to be kept in mind during its use.
  • Humor should be used in a playful manner, not as an act of mocking the other person. The aim of this is not to attack the person but to hit the conflict and neutralize it. Therefore saying hurtful things that are not appreciated but the other should be avoided.
  • Do not use humor as a cover for ones feelings. Its good to let the conflict not get into the sanity of the relationship but using it as a tool to avoid emotions like anger, fear, pain might be dangerous and, in turn, might just distance the people involved. For example, Jack might not be committed to one person but jokes around with everybody for he fears intimacy and the feeling of being vulnerable.

To sum it up: humor has its own positives and negatives. It makes us feel at peace both physically and mentally hence when used in the right manner and direction can help resolve difficult situations in life.

Swekriti Bhatnagar

Swekriti Bhatnagar is your special friend from YourDOST team. She is a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Christ University. She is experienced in dealing with adolescent and relationship related issues. She believes in the power of communication and that everyone has the ability to change. Through YourDOST she wants to help people vent out their worries and wishes to make a difference in the lives of people