How to Use Laughter to Strengthen Your Relationship

It is widely known that laughter can bring people together, yet many may not be aware of how it can forge new relationships and strengthen long-term ones. What are these benefits, and could they help your romantic life? If so, how might you start taking advantage of them?

4 Benefits of Laughter in Romantic Relationships

A growing body of research has uncovered the following insights into the relationship benefits of laughter….

Laughter is “an effective catalyst for new relationships,” according to researchers at Oxford University. They found that when study participants, all strangers, watched a stand-up comedy routine and shared laughs, they were also more likely to share more intimate information with one another. By helping people self-disclose, humor and laughter fostered connection and intimacy and encouraged the formation of new relationships.

Laughter is an excellent barometer of romantic connection, scientists at the University of Kansas found. When two strangers meet, the more times a woman laughs at a man’s attempts to be funny, the more likely it is that she’ll be interested in dating; and, if the two were spotted laughing together, that was “an even better indicator of romantic connection.”

The more people laugh with their partner, the more similar they feel to that person and the more supported by them. In other words, laughter strengthened their relationship. The same study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found gratitude fulfilled the same function.

Laughter is a buffer against stress, University of Basel researchers concluded in a 2020 study. In a relationship, that can come in handy—and, stress resilience is just one of the mental health benefits of humor.

How to Incorporate More Laughter in Your Romantic Life

Of course, not everyone has the same sense of humor, and some people are just more hard-wired to be serious. In this sense, cracking jokes to make someone else laugh or sharing a funny story can be an act of vulnerability, especially when that’s on a first date or in a new relationship. It’s okay to start small.

Here are some suggestions for how to incorporate more humor and laughter in your dating and romantic life:

Attend stand-up comedy shows, watch funny movies, and consume more humorous entertainment.

Seek out the company of people you can laugh easily with.

Practice deep belly laughs and notice how it feels.

Keep a laughter journal. In the same spirit as a gratitude journal, review the day and find 2-3 things that were funny. This may be challenging at first, but the more you sensitize yourself to humor, the easier it will be to recognize.

Explore what it might mean to take yourself less seriously. For some people that means using their bodies in playful ways or creating something new and different. For others, it is about being around the friends who know them best and who they can be themselves with.

These are just some of the ways to add humor and laughter to one’s personal and romantic life. If experts are right, the reward will be well-worth the effort.

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