“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
~ Victor Borge
I agree with the quote above, but it can be hard to let loose and relax into natural laughter when you are trying to make a good impression on a date.
When you are feeling inhibited (even if just a tiny bit) you are less likely to show emotion (good or bad). That is not great for showing off your personality.
Yes, there are some people who get fits of “nervous laughter” but that is not the norm. Most of us become more observant and less relaxed when we are trying to make a good impression.
Yet, if the quote above is true, then laughter is one of the best ways to break tension and build an instant bond. Is there a way to relax into laughter when you are not feeling it?
Something special happens when two people genuinely laugh together. It’s like a magic rain that showers feelings of comfort and belonging. Genuine laughter is like a vent for the soul.
If you cannot tell, I enjoy laughter. I have not always been good at embracing laughter in new social situations. I have discovered a few tricks though, and I have learned some valuable tips from others.
The first tip can be summarized in two sentences. Do not pursue laughter. Instead, allow your mind to drift to humorous thoughts. Forcing laughter just doesn’t work.
Do not try to induce laughter in someone else either. The easiest way to induce laughter in someone else is to begin laughing yourself.
But how do you get yourself laughing? Very often, laughter occurs when we are surprised by something.
Here is a quote by Rick Bernardo. “Rumor has it among linguists and word-doctors that this word [laughter] derives from the Sanskrit lokha, which meant trying to belch while riding on the back of a yak in full flight.”
There is something about that quote that surprised me when I read it. I laughed aloud because it was so bizarre. Others can surprise us into laughter, but it is rather difficulty to surprise yourself.
So we have to rule out the surprise method for evoking laughter. Let’s try something else.
There is something about trying not to laugh that evokes laughter. Here is a nearly foolproof way to move yourself into the kind of gentle laughter that can be contagious and quite fun for two people on a date.
You try to relay a story that you find humorous, but without even the hint of a smile. Try it with a friend. You will be amused at how quickly your mouth disobeys you, turning up at the corners before a giggle slips out.
Focus your mind on your intention to give your friend indication that you find the story humorous in any way. It won’t work.
You will see their mouth begin to twitch at the corners as their eyes dart from the sparkle of laughter showing in your eye to the twitching corner of your mouth. Seeing their reaction will likely destroy your composure.
This is not a method for everyone. Some people do not want to make a first impression that involves shared laughter over silly personal stories.
For those of you who do, I encourage you to use this method as only one small part of the overall self presentation you bring to early encounters. Those of you who follow my blog know that my primary advice is to mostly focus on the experience of the other person’s presence in the unfolding moment.
Since laughter can be a bonding glue for relationships, there is one more step I want to share in case you decide to purposefully invite laughter into your dating relationships.
Prepare ahead by thinking of at least one humorous story you could share with your date. It could be something silly you read in a Reader’s Digest, something silly from YouTube, or it could be a story from your past that would help him get to know you.
The key is, have at least one story that you can use as a spark. Other stories will naturally unfold between the two of you once laughter loosens the tension and reminds you of other funny stories from your lives.