Using humour to defuse a stressful situation - GulfToday

Using humour to defuse a stressful situation


This photo has been used for illustrative purpose only.

We have all been in a yelling match with a spouse, sibling or friend, and the worst of it is that the more infuriated we feel, the more inconsiderate we become.

We may use harsh words and call out the other person. We may tell them their bad habits drive us up the wall or how they never stop to think how their behaviour affects us.

However, before you start layering on more insults, stop to use some humour. Otherwise, you are digging your relationship grave. Slamming your friend, lover or family member with profanity, insults and shaming language can do a lot of damage.

“Once you’ve said something really stupid,” says a marriage counsellor we’ll call Charles, “you can’t push the rewind button.”


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Charles says he has plenty of clients who’ve uttered remarks such as these:

“I make twice the money you do, so don’t tell me I have to help with the housework!”

“Don’t make me choose between you and my kids. I’ll choose my kids any day over you!”

Well, you get the picture. These people have dug themselves into a hole. They have ripped a lot of heart right out of the relationship.

A sense of humour can deter the mental beatings you and your adversary might start to punch each other with. Once evil words have shot forth out of your mouths, they will live in infamy. Use laughter to dial a fight back to a civil exchange.

There tips can help:

— Agree quickly that there is a problem. You don’t have to admit any guilt, but do say, “Yes, we do have a situation we need to figure out.”

— Practice humorous exchanges. Do this routinely. No one can turn into a funny person without a lot of practice.

“One of the best ways to be funny is to do something outrageous,” says Charles. “For instance, I usually hug my wife in the middle of her crazy criticism of something. And, I once dressed up in a werewolf Halloween costume when we’d had a yelling match the night before.”

Keep in mind, however, that friendships and work relationships that land in hot water usually call for a sincere, formal apology. Lovers and married couples might just use humour. But, if you’ve got a co-worker or neighbour mad at you, it pays to be more contrite. Use humour more carefully.

“I once had a gorilla impersonator deliver balloons to my neighbour,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Mason. “I’d backed out of our connecting driveway and scratched his car the week before.

“The gorilla handed a big ‘I’m sorry’ sign to my neighbour. This guy is strait-laced, but he did laugh. I was watching him out the window.”

Humour only works if both people are laughing, though. The person you’re quarrelling with should find humour in what you say or do.

“I once threw my wife into the swimming pool to break up our quarrel,” says a friend of ours we’ll call Richie. “She was twice as mad then, because it ruined her hair. I was the only one laughing.”

Tribune News Service

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