Penetrating Laughter

Penetrating Laughter“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

~ Victor Borge

I agree with the quote above, but it can be hard to let loose and relax into natural laughter when you are trying to make a good impression on a date.

When you are feeling inhibited (even if just a tiny bit) you are less likely to show emotion (good or bad). That is not great for showing off your personality.

Yes, there are some people who get fits of “nervous laughter” but that is not the norm. Most of us become more observant and less relaxed when we are trying to make a good impression.

Yet, if the quote above is true, then laughter is one of the best ways to break tension and build an instant bond. Is there a way to relax into laughter when you are not feeling it?

Something special happens when two people genuinely laugh together. It’s like a magic rain that showers feelings of comfort and belonging. Genuine laughter is like a vent for the soul.

If you cannot tell, I enjoy laughter. I have not always been good at embracing laughter in new social situations. I have discovered a few tricks though, and I have learned some valuable tips from others.

The first tip can be summarized in two sentences. Do not pursue laughter. Instead, allow your mind to drift to humorous thoughts. Forcing laughter just doesn’t work.

Do not try to induce laughter in someone else either. The easiest way to induce laughter in someone else is to begin laughing yourself.

But how do you get yourself laughing? Very often, laughter occurs when we are surprised by something.

Here is a quote by Rick Bernardo. “Rumor has it among linguists and word-doctors that this word [laughter] derives from the Sanskrit lokha, which meant trying to belch while riding on the back of a yak in full flight.”

There is something about that quote that surprised me when I read it. I laughed aloud because it was so bizarre. Others can surprise us into laughter, but it is rather difficulty to surprise yourself.

So we have to rule out the surprise method for evoking laughter. Let’s try something else.

There is something about trying not to laugh that evokes laughter. Here is a nearly foolproof way to move yourself into the kind of gentle laughter that can be contagious and quite fun for two people on a date.

You try to relay a story that you find humorous, but without even the hint of a smile. Try it with a friend. You will be amused at how quickly your mouth disobeys you, turning up at the corners before a giggle slips out.

Focus your mind on your intention to give your friend indication that you find the story humorous in any way. It won’t work.

You will see their mouth begin to twitch at the corners as their eyes dart from the sparkle of laughter showing in your eye to the twitching corner of your mouth. Seeing their reaction will likely destroy your composure.

This is not a method for everyone. Some people do not want to make a first impression that involves shared laughter over silly personal stories.

For those of you who do, I encourage you to use this method as only one small part of the overall self presentation you bring to early encounters. Those of you who follow my blog know that my primary advice is to mostly focus on the experience of the other person’s presence in the unfolding moment.

Since laughter can be a bonding glue for relationships, there is one more step I want to share in case you decide to purposefully invite laughter into your dating relationships.

Prepare ahead by thinking of at least one humorous story you could share with your date. It could be something silly you read in a Reader’s Digest, something silly from YouTube, or it could be a story from your past that would help him get to know you.

The key is, have at least one story that you can use as a spark. Other stories will naturally unfold between the two of you once laughter loosens the tension and reminds you of other funny stories from your lives.


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16 thoughts on “Penetrating Laughter

  1. Eniale said:

    Here, here, but your right. I’m usually thinking ahead and lose the moment. Just realizing that I should enjoy the moment not care so about where something is going in the long term. Be yourself. Enjoy. This is gpd energy.

  2. Odette said:

    As a young person I was always considered funny…. filled with colourful stories about rediculous experiences from childhood…. until I met the man that became my husband…. So focused on finding security, I chose a man that was serious and conservative; never a greater mistake was made!! 20 years on I have one criteria for choosing my perfect man….. a sense of humour!! My ex-husband was the only person who I couldnt get to laugh!! Strange, but it seems it indicated a self obsession he had; narcisism negates joint laughter because the only person he finds entertaining, is himself!!

    In the quest to avoid being in a relationship with a sociopath, ALWAYS CHOOSE A PARTNER WHO SHARES YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR….. AND LAUGHS!!

    Cheers to you James …… such a simple methodology, but so very important!!

    • Victoria said:

      Odette, I could have written that myself!!

  3. marie-anne said:

    Surrogate Laughter and its benefits: Your date tries to impress you with a (supposedly) funny story/joke which doesn’t even make you smile, let alone collapse into fits of giggles as he hoped you would….Now, just to be kind
    and not make him feel stupid, think of something hilarious that happened to you in the past and use the ha ha ha that comes to mind to burst into a hearty laugh to show him you appreciate his joke! In doing so, you will definitely have earned a special place in his heart which you can then choose to occupy or not!

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s very creative. Thank you.

  4. Janet Stretton said:

    All very true, I have a male friend, who I would just love to be a bit more than a friend but that is impossible I am afraid because I am much younger than him but when we do occasionally meet we have exactly the same sense of humour and I have laughed at times with him until I have cried. He seems to view everything in life as fun.

    • KAREN BIS said:

      Age is just a number…

  5. janet Stretton said:

    very true what you say. I have a friend,whom I would love to be more than just a friend but unfortunately that would be impossible because he is so much younger than me. When we do occasionally meet though we click exactly on our shared sense of humour, I have laughed until I have cried when I have been in his company sometimes and I understand what you meant when you said that laughter can bond people together. He seems to view everything in life as fun.

  6. Rachel said:

    Wow! I love to laugh, and I really like a man who likes to laugh. Laughter is so pure and inviting, it helps you forget your troubles for a while. True laughter runs the blues away. Laughter does the heart good like medicine. So when you’re feeling down, please find something funny, and laugh.

    • Julie said:

      I try to find at least one thing funny to laugh about each day. It makes people more attracted to you and makes you more approachable

  7. Rachel said:

    Always remember to laugh.

  8. Sue Bauer said:

    Laughter is good for the soul and heart! It’s like doing 30 minutes of aerobics, but way more fun!!!!

    • Rachel said:

      Laughter does the heart good like medicine; have a dose of laughter every day, and you will live longer.

  9. thank you, Odette, for that very insightful post. “narcissism negates joint laughter.” that is so true. the best men I have ever known laughed with me, for me and yes, even at me. we laughed together for a thousand reasons. these are the men who we want in our lives… they heal us and help us and we in turn help them. We share our best selves. “The world is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.” here’s to the comedy!

  10. jaap said:

    Wouldn’t it be better – than sharing ‘ experiences’ – share humorous stories?

  11. While I love laughter and enjoy it, I find intelligence and skills the things I most appreciate and admire in a man. I like to read together or watch a film even (but in reading there is often a turn of phrase that I love to share by reading aloud). Many things can be shared that bring laughter.

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