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Relationship conflict management with humor

Relationship conflict management with humor

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true. Laughter relieves stress, elevates mood, and makes you more resilient. But it’s also good for your relationships.

In relationships, humor can be an effective tool  for overcoming awkwardness and keep things exciting, fresh, and vibrant. It can also help you get past conflicts, disagreements, and the tiny aggravations than can build up over time and wreck even the strongest of bonds.

Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with a romantic partner, friends, family, or co-workers, these three (3) humor tips can help smooth over differences, lower everyone’s stress level, and communicate in a way that strengthens and deepens your relationships.


  1. Make sure you’re both in on the joke

Like any tool, humor can be used in negative as well as positive ways. Making snide, hurtful remarks, for example, then criticizing the other person for not being able to take a joke will create even more problems and ultimately damage a relationship.

If your partner, co-worker, family member, or friend isn’t likely to appreciate the joke, don’t say or do it, even if it’s “all in good fun.” When the joking is one-sided rather than mutual, it undermines trust and goodwill and can damage the relationship.


     2. Don’t use humor to cover up other emotions

Humor helps you stay resilient in the face of life’s challenges. But there are times when humor is

not healthy—and that’s when it is used as a cover for avoiding, rather than coping with painful emotions. Laughter can be a disguise for feelings of hurt, fear, anger, and disappointment that you don’t want to feel or don’t know how to express.

You can be funny about the truth, but covering up the truth isn’t funny. When you use humor and playfulness as a cover for other emotions, you create confusion and mistrust in your relationships.

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     3. Develop a smarter sense of humor

Some find it easier than others to use humor, especially in tense situations. If your efforts aren’t going over well, the following tips may help.

  • Monitor nonverbal cues.
  • Avoid mean-spirited humor. 
  • Create inside jokes.
  • It’s safe to start with self-deprecating humor. Even if the joke falls flat or comes out wrong, the only person you risk offending is yourself.

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