It’s that time of year. If you are in love, good for you. If you are not, good luck getting some. In any case, a good sense of humor (GSOH) is a highly-desirable quality in lovers and friends. Why?
Two (of many) reasons why a good sense of humor is so important.
1. Happiness: If you and your partner make each other laugh, it means that you will experience more joy in your life. And happy couples are more likely to stay together and have less conflict.
2. Similarity: If you and your partner make each other laugh, it indicates that you share the same values, beliefs, and interests. Sharing these qualities is a good predictor of relationship success.
GSOH and Benign Violations
Both a similarity account and a happiness account are consistent with the benign violation theory of humor. The account suggests that people experience humor when a situation is simultaneously seen as 1) wrong or unsettling in some way (i.e., a violation), and 2) okay or acceptable in some way (i.e., benign).
Benign violations & happiness: People who can readily transform the bad things in the world (violations) into things that funny (benign violations) are going to be good companions. They will make the world more pleasurable than it otherwise might be.
Benign violations & similarity: People who have similar values, beliefs, and interests share the same perceptions of the world. In that way, agreeing on what things are wrong or okay (or wrong and okay) indicates that two people will get along. It is problematic when one person perceives a benign violation and laughs, but the other perceives a (malign) violation and doesn’t. In short, sharing laughs indicates that people are compatible and will make good companions.