When it comes to dating and relationships, we all know that a sense of humor and shared laughter is extremely important. According to our eHarmony members, a sense of humor is the overall number one thing that a match must have.
In a previous blog, we’ve seen that there are 4 styles of humor, and that each of the styles can reveal a lot about your personality. In another similar blog, we’ve also learned that men and women can use humor differently throughout their relationships, based on evolutionary psychology. But what about in the first few dates, how important can laughing together really be?
Recent research investigated how laughter can affect interactions between strangers. The researchers grouped students from Oxford University into groups of four, and had them watch a video together. Some of the groups were shown a stand-up comedy video, others an instructional golf video, and others an excerpt from the Planet Earth series. Once the videos had ended, each group member was asked to write a message to another group member to help get to know them better.
What the researchers found was the participants who had watched the stand-up comedy video were more likely to share more revealing and intimate information than those who watched the other videos. But why is that? Not only are those participants sharing a positive experience, but that laughter causes the release of endorphins, which have been known to have a role in the formation of social bonds. So the researchers theorize that laughter may increase a person’s willingness to reveal intimate information, because of the effect endorphins has on a person in that they are more relaxed about what they communicate.
So what can this mean for the dating community? Sharing laughter experiences on a first date can be enormously rewarding for the potential relationship. If you and your date laugh together in the first few dates, the two of you will be more relaxed in sharing more intimate details about yourselves, which can create a stronger bond quickly.
The next time you’re planning a first or second date, have some jokes or funny stories lined up and ready to go, or take the date to a stand-up comedy club, and get to know one another with some questions like these after sharing some laughs.
Alan W. Gray, Brian Parkinson, Robin I. Dunbar. Laughter’s Influence on the Intimacy of Self-Disclosure. Human Nature, 2015; DOI:10.1007/s12110-015-9225-8