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17 Good & Bad Types of Humor and How They Affect Your Relationship with Others

Can humor affect relationships? Read these everyday types of humor that can make or break a relationship over time.

types of humor

Did you know that there are many different types of humor? A sense of humor is a great trait to have. But having the wrong type of humor can do more damage than good, especially if you don’t know where to draw the line.

You may think you’re a funny person who is the life of the party, but are you pushing your lover away or annoying them without realizing it? [Read: Secret signs of a relationship that’s going bad]

The science behind humor

Humor is universal across different cultures. Researchers have also discovered that different types of laughter can serve as codes to complex human social hierarchies, and laughing in the presence of others indicates that the interaction is safe. [Read: How to be funny – 28 must-know tips to make everyone love your humor]

When it comes to comedy, however, the line between love and hate is quite thin. Philosophers have spent thousands of years trying to determine what characteristics make something humorous or not. Here are some interesting theories:

1. The superiority theory

According to this theory, we take our humor from the suffering of others, which gives us a sense of superiority. That undoubtedly explains why many of us find it amusing when others trip and fall. Even their ability to walk properly is subpar.

2. The relief theory

Sigmund Freud may be the origin of this theory, which asserts that this type of humor is often linked to the relief of stress.

In other words, the build-up of tension prepares us for the release point of comedy. Surprisingly, research has found that this release is beneficial to our health. [Read: 17 life secrets to smile more often, feel great & laugh your stress away]

3. The incongruity theory

The core of this theory is the unexpected. When something occurs that doesn’t match what we anticipated, we find comedy in it.

For instance, British-American comedian Bob Hope once made fun of a city he was visiting by saying, “The mosquitoes here are huge. Last night I shot one in my pajamas. They were tight on him too.”

4. The kick of the discovery theory

This theory is supported by extensive study and analysis, which included asking more than a million respondents to rank more than a thousand jokes. It comes to the conclusion that comedy operates by guiding our views in one direction before abruptly changing them.

5. The benign violations theory

The last theory appears to be an attempt by contemporary scholars to develop a “unifying explanation” of humor. It seems that something is required to bring the entire world together. According to this theory, humor comes from these necessary conditions:

First, there must be a breach of the norm, whether physical, social, or moral. It must cause us to pause and exclaim, “Hey, that’s not right!”

Second, there must be a safe context where the violation takes place, which enables us to chuckle at an otherwise not-so-funny physical violation. No one is hurt during the making of this joke, so go ahead and laugh your head off.

The types of humor

There are so many types of humor all around us, from sadistic to stand-up to satire. And they’re all great. Humor draws people and it can also make your personality feel more attractive. Think old-school Anthony Bourdain or Simon Cowell, they’re humorous albeit in their own ways.

Humor can be a great asset to keep a relationship exciting too. Together time can be fun and happy, and even when other couples say they have nothing interesting to talk to each other about after a few months into the relationship, you and your partner may still have a fun time in each other’s company after being together for years.

The benefits of using humor in your relationships

Since humor is so important in our lives, what are its benefits in your relationships?

1. Form a stronger bond

It’s inarguably that the healthier and happier you are, the better your relationship is. Therefore, using the right type of humor will strengthen your bond. [Read: 70 seriously deep questions to ask your boyfriend to form a real bond]

2. Smooth over differences

You can easily approach even the most sensitive subjects like sex or in-laws by using soft humor.

3. Overcome problems and setbacks

A well-timed joke can help you defuse a difficult situation and settle disputes. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy & dramatic life shift]

4. Manage and defuse conflict

The secret to resiliency is humor. It enables you to handle adversity well, endure disappointment, and recover from setbacks and loss.

When using humor to manage conflict, make sure you don’t use it to cover up other emotions. Develop a smarter sense of humor or it might just backfire.

It’s safe to start with self-deprecating humor because joking about other people might make them upset. Tap into your playful side and don’t be afraid to goof around or be silly like a kid. [Read: Happily ever after – the psychological benefits of marriage & commitment]

The good and bad types of humor people use with friends or in a relationship

There are many types of humor, but when it comes to relationships, they can be summarized into 12 big types.

If you want to have a happy relationship where both of you have a happy laugh all the time, then focus on the 7 good types of humor. And if you want to avoid any resentment or anger in love, learn to stay away from the 5 bad types of humor.

You may not realize this, but more often than not, you may find yourself using bad types of humor more often than any other kind. [Read: Things to talk about in a perfect relationship]

The good types of humor

Good-natured humor brings the couple closer together. There’s no fear of being judged, and there’s no need to be on guard when you’re around each other.

And most importantly, this type of humor can make the relationship more exciting and give you many more conversations to talk about. Here are 7 types of good humor that’ll help you be the perfect happy couple.

1. Self-deprecating humor

Self-deprecating humor is the type of humor where you put yourself down or accept a mistake gracefully with humor. It lightens the mood and lets your partner know you’re not upset or annoyed at the same time.

Almost always, you tend to get angry with the person you’re around when you make a mistake because you don’t want to accept your own fault. But by using this kind of humor, you can acknowledge your faults and make the whole episode feel funny at the same time. [Read: How to use self-deprecating humor to impress a girl]

2. Bitchy humor

Have you ever whined about how annoying a TV show is, or how annoying a friend of yours is? Well, these bitchy jokes are nasty and mean. But as long as your partner feels the same way about the situation or person, they’ll join in the joke.

Both of you would end up having a fun conversation bitching about someone else. And gossiping about something both of you find interesting will always bring both of you closer. [Read: Girly things – what your girlfriend’s really gossiping about]

3. Practical humor

When was the last time you played a prank on your partner? This one’s a laugh that’ll always be funny each time you talk about it. But it all depends on your lover’s mood. If your partner’s fun and forgives you quite easily, practical humor may be the best remedy to keep love exciting and young forever.

4. Childish humor

Childish humor is silly and even borderline stupid. But as long as both of you enjoy it, knock yourselves out.

Call each other silly cute names, smack your lover on the butt and run away to the next room, sprinkle a few drops of water when your lover’s asleep… you know the works, don’t you? It’s silly and annoyingly funny, just as long as it doesn’t get wicked. [Read: How to find the perfect cute pet name for your partner]

5. Situational humor

Situational humor is the kind of humor where you use the situation to create a funny circumstance out of it. It can help ease out awkward situations in public, and make your partner feel grateful to you too.

The more both of you use situational humor to support each other, the closer both of you will get over time. [Read. 20 relationship problems that push a couple apart or bring them closer]

6. Bathroom humor

Have you ever shared dirty jokes about wood or something feeling too wet? Double entendre, or double-meaning jokes, is a perfect example of bathroom humor.

If your partner’s saying something to you, and you respond with something sexual in a funny way, it may end with a slap on your arm, but it’ll make conversations a lot more fun. [Read: 30 dirty truth or dare questions for a sexy night]

7. Take-it-easy humor

When your partner’s feeling down, share your own awkward, funny story about how you screwed up in a similar situation. The take-it-easy type of humor is best used when you want to make awkward situations a little less awkward.

Use the circumstance to relate with your partner and say something to them that’ll make them feel better about themselves, and your partner will love you for always having a way to cheer them up.

The bad types of humor

While the good types of humor can bring couples closer, the bad types will distance you and your lover, leaving both of you feeling guarded and insecure and most of all, annoyed. [Read: 24 sad signs of an unhealthy relationship that ruin love forever]

And these types of humor, you definitely need to avoid in a relationship.

1. Sarcasm

Sarcasm comes really easily when you’re annoyed with your partner. For most of us, sarcasm is a shield we use to defend ourselves or try to hurt someone while trying to appear calm.

But sarcasm, as funny as it may seem, is not a good kind of humor to use, especially in love. It’ll only end up leaving your partner bitter and angry because they can’t even argue back with you.

However, using sarcasm as an inside joke shows that you and your partner understand each other on a deeper level, so it also helps you two grow closer together.

You must be careful though – the line between being funny and being offensive is extremely thin with this type of humor. [Read: How to fight fair in a relationship and end an argument pleasantly]

2. Insulting humor

Have you ever used a joke to poke fun at your partner or anger them, perhaps by speaking badly about their family or some particular incident? Never use veiled humor to insult the one you love. It’s true, you’re only joking, but you’re still leaving a deep impact. [Read: Couple goals – 58 fake & real ideas you MUST add to your relationship goals]

3. Cocky humor

Are you too full of yourself? Well, then you’re probably familiar with the cocky type of humor. Do you answer your partner’s questions with a line that compliments yourself all the time?

Your lover says, “How do I look?”

You say, “You’re with me, of course you look good!”

If your partner knows you well, cocky humor may be cute. But if you use cocky humor in excess, you’d only make your partner roll their eyeballs in annoyance. And over time, they may even start hating the traits about you that you constantly brag about. [Read: Biggest problems in a relationship and how to fix it]

4. Flawed  humor

If you don’t like something about your partner’s behavior, tell them about it. Don’t use humor to reveal a flaw. When you try to reveal your partner’s flaws by using humor, it usually hits them harder because it seems like criticism and yet they can’t argue back with you because you’re only joking.

5. Picky humor

Have you ever teamed up with your friends to pick on your partner just for the fun of it? When you gang up and tease your partner, it may feel like fun to you, but it makes your partner feel weak, lonely, and miserable. It’s high school bullying all over again. [Read: The types of love all of us experience in our lives]

If your partner buys a new shirt you don’t like, and another friend of your partner says the same thing, don’t constantly pull your partner’s leg in front of friends reminding everyone about how awful that shirt was. That’s definitely you picking on something and turning a joke into a miserable feeling.

[Read: 25 relationship rules for successful love]

Humor is always a good thing in friendships, love and romance, but there’s a thin line between the good types of humor and the bad ones. Keep an eye on these types of humor and you should never have a problem with humor again.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...