Is there such thing as just not funny or is it totally subjective? My recent post about depth and meaning in conversation has converged with another topic which fascinates me - the role of humour in conversation and what happens when humour is not your thing.
My husband, and I have quite different views on humour. Often he will comment that I take myself too seriously and that I should lighten up. My view is that he sometimes makes a joke of things that I think need to be discussed seriously.
I get frustrated when I am trying to make a serious point and someone makes a joke of it before I have been able to get my thoughts out. I am not a naturally funny person. I can have great fun (particularly if there is dancing involved!) but I wouldn't say that I am naturally funny. So once the conversation turns to humour I feel left out, I feel dull and boring. As a teenager I would have termed it "daggy".
Perhaps the same happens in reverse. Perhaps others make their point best with humour and so they feel isolated and cutoff during serious or deep conversations. By denying them humour is it having the same restrictive impact on their ability to contribute that the addition of humour has for me?
Perhaps humour acts as an important circuit breaker, providing a pressure release. The challenge is, how do you know when the pressure needs to be released or when it should be left to build to really get to the nitty gritty of a topic?
It strikes me that knowing and understanding that there are differences in the way we each behave in different situations is important but what is more important is really knowing yourself, really knowing your own preferences for communication style, self awareness of what floats your boat and what gets you fired up. Once you become clear about your own style - humour vs serious - you can then ensure that there is a balance, being open to humour if it is not necessarily your thing, being willing to go deeper if you have a tendency for keeping things light, but also being able to reflect back to others this need for balance. If someone is dominating the conversation with their preferred style it is important to be able to reflect this back to them in a manner that helps achieve balanced conversation - this to me, is where the magic lies.