Using Humor to Describe Someone
Humor or comedy is the tendency for experiences to elicit laughter and offer entertainment. The word derives from the classical medicine of the ancient Greeks, who taught that the harmony of bodily fluids, called humours, controlled emotional mood and overall human health. Ancient societies realised that if they provided people with funny things to laugh at – like jokes, poems and comic strips, that would take their minds off the serious business of daily life.
So funny is a way of expressing feelings, thoughts or emotions. To describe someone as having a funny bone is to describe someone with an unusual sense of humour. It’s like the difference between the run of the mill humours we experience everyday and the uniquely individual humour of somebody who we consider to be funny. Humour allows us to enjoy the comical side of life, but just how does it help us? For starters, laughter helps relieve stress. Scientific research now shows that stress causes a large amount of illness and disease.
Another great reason to laugh is that it improves your immune system and blood pressure levels. A third benefit is that regular laughter allows you to release endorphins – natural pain killers similar to morphine, that actually act as natural mood enhancers. A fourth benefit is that it helps you relax, which in turn, makes you more alert and better able to fight off illness. So there are lots of links between laughter and health.
But what exactly is funny? Well there are many different kinds of humour, but perhaps the most popular is humor that relies on exaggeration. Some examples include stand-up comedy, satire and irony. There are also forms of real humor such as humorous books and movies. One form of real humor that doesn’t rely on exaggeration is sarcasm. Sarcasm can be a difficult skill to master, but the humor relies on exaggeration too much, so both types share the same flaw: relying on exaggeration.
Real life funny situations occur all the time. Even everyday events can become funny when the event or people involved has gone awry. For example, if a boss becomes angry with his employees, the event may even become hilarious if one of the employees started a fit because he or she felt slighted or belittled. Or if a couple goes out on a date and realizes that they are really not compatible, their situation might become funny if they both start making fun of each other. The same can be true for family members and friends who get a little funny when they are compared to their relatives and friends.
The above examples show that it is easier to describe someone as having a sense of humor when compared to when they actually have a sense of humor themselves. When you think about it, we notice that we make judgments about others based not only on what they do or say, but also on our reaction to them. By describing someone as being funny, you are also indirectly giving yourself credit for the success of this person. Laughing is a natural mechanism to counteract incongruities or even to diffuse tense situations. If you find a situation funny, you are indirectly giving yourself points for being an effective communicator.