Everyone loves to laugh, and pretty much everyone laughs with the person they love. But did you know that the way you laugh with your significant other might impact your love? Recent research suggests that may indeed be the case.
The October 2018 study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, analyzed interviews with 154 couples about their relationships and the ways they laugh together. Results showed that if partners handle laughter or being laughed at in a similar way, they were more likely to be content with the relationship. However, people in relationships who were afraid of being laughed at tended to be less happy in their relationships — which also affected their partners.
Of course, a sense of humor is one of the main qualities that pretty much every person looks for in a significant other. But it’s worth keeping in mind that how different people react to being laughed at varies quite a bit. For example, some folks absolutely hate being the subject of laughter — even if it's just for fun. However, other people thoroughly enjoy being laughed if it's in the right situation. Yet others enjoy taking on the role of the clown and making others the butt of the joke.
"These three characteristics are personality traits that can occur at the same time, to varying degrees, and in different combinations," said study author René Proyer, PhD, in a press release. "They can range, for example, from making harmless jokes to ridiculing others. All of these characteristics are normal, up to a certain point — including being afraid of being laughed at."
However, being too afraid of being laughed at in a relationship pointed to negative effects in this research: People who had this phobia were not only less content with their relationships but also tended to have less trust in their partners. Luckily, most partners in this study were matched with similar traits in regard to laughter — and they were usually more satisfied with where they were in their relationships.
Of course, there are many more factors than just laughter that determine whether a relationship is a "good" one or a "bad" one. But it’s worthwhile to pay attention to how you and your partner laugh together the next time you do — and to make sure your significant other enjoys the joking as much as you. After all, what's laughter without a smile?