Elle Ayres discusses why it’s really important to have a laugh sometimes…
Maybe it’s because I’m British, maybe it’s just the kind of person I am, but if you don’t make me laugh and I don’t make you laugh we’re never going to get past being acquaintances (probably a lucky escape for most).
Meaning in the shape of a genuine connection between fellow human beings seems to be a phenomena we elevate in society. Something we yearn for but at the same time, with commercialism trying to manipulate our natural condition to be social, we can’t help but be sceptical about. Can such a connection truly exist or is it really just an illusion we tell ourselves to keep us going when things are tough? Maybs I should just ditch it all and look at my phone. And what’s a girl to think? Look at past experiences: your ex repeatedly cheated on you, your best friend just cut you out. It’s easy to see why we can be suspicious. You thought they got who you were, you thought they could see you, actually see you, and more than that, liked what they saw – hell – loved what they saw. Where did it all go wrong?
So whilst human relationships will remain a mine field of miscommunication, insecurity and just plain confusion, there is some respite. Humour.
Humour works on multiple levels, that’s what makes it funny. When someone makes you laugh – and I mean genuinely laugh, not that high awkward polite giggle you give to fill the silence; there’s a lot going on. There’s an element of trust and a leap of faith; they’re putting something out there into the world hoping you’ll get it and enjoy it. It’s a delicate balance of nuances, tone, context, an idea of your personality and what they want to communicate. This is what makes making someone laugh a beautiful thing; because in this comedic relationship you get each other, you’ve got a connection and this can’t be doubted (unless you’re an impeccably good psychopath wanting to create vivid illusions but, maybe because I’m ever the optimist, I’m just going to place that possibility to the side). This is why so many long lasting relationships are built on laughter.
The philosopher Alexander Herzen commented that “only equals may laugh” and this is another facet to humour. The boundaries are gone, no one is better or worse, when you’re having a laugh you’re all on the same level. Humour is a uniting force, something that stands the test of time and the societal shift to an individualistic culture that can easily take hold.
However these little comedic moments can happen with anyone, anywhere. Funny knows no boundaries. A look shared with a stranger on a busy train as you both overhear “Oh my god shut up! He did not, that is mental babes.” Phil who you always bump into at the library printers and who always mocks your inability to print double sided whilst simultaneously doing it for you. You never see each other anywhere else and he doesn’t have your number. The person at the work party who you don’t even know the name of, but their impression of your boss is on point. They’re all funny. They all brought a smile to your face. It was nice. No you’re not best friends now but that doesn’t take away those moments in the slightest because when you shared that comedy it was a perfectly ambiguous insight into the other person. The fact that can happen is surely something to fill us with hope when everything and everyone else seems to be going wrong around us, the collateral of life flying dangerously close. It’s shared laughter that helps.
I’m not saying that the people who break your heart be it romantically or platonically won’t also make you laugh, in fact the opposite, in order to break it they have to have made it in the first place and being funny is a quick catalyst. Humour is possibly one of the most potent avenues to falling in love and/or becoming best friends with someone because humour necessarily needs at least two people, and they need to get each other.
Yes some use humour as a defence mechanism, something to hide behind, but even so, in the moment when the joke is made, the laugh had, it’s you and them without boundaries. There’s something beautifully vulnerable about finding something really funny no matter how you got to the joke. It’s a look at another person, something public and private.
So next time you find someone really funny, savour the memory and remember that the next time life is hard there is always another laugh to be had and you wouldn’t want to miss it. Go on, have a laugh.
Follow Elle on twitter: @AyresElle