3 Memorable Ways You Can Nail a Difficult Conversation With Humour Without Burning Bridges
Say no to rage, sage.
A perfectly timed sense of humour is a powerful skill that differentiates you from the mediocre crowd and may even put you on an unsolicited pedestal by your people.
It places you as a symbol of uplifting emotions — a rare sensation nowadays, with digital screens being the constant barrier against emotional transparency.
I began strengthening my funny muscles seven years ago when I started college. Since I was terrible at interacting with strangers, the purpose of developing my humour aptitude was the same reason I wasn’t willing to admit it back then: the people-pleasing mindset.
But after seven years of countless hit-and-trial jokes — some perfected with the proper timings — you’ll be surprised to know that humour makes you an excellent conversationalist.
A conversationalist is a person who is brilliant at navigating meaningful discussions with people and leaves them energised after the talk is over. You always experience at least one lightbulb moment after meeting someone who knows how to enlighten a conversation.
Humour helps you break the ice and direct difficult conversations that would otherwise end in a long awkward pause. Not to mention, ghosting is the given aftermath you can avoid.
Here are three science-backed ways humour helps you nail any difficult conversation.
#1. Objectify the problem.
Sometimes when the problem is too complex to solve on the first attempt, we tend to catastrophe the consequences of failure and go hellbent on solving it with the same mindset that led to disappointment in the first place.
The negative loop repeats unless we find a new way of approaching it.
When I see my friends stuck in a problem tearing their neurons, I urge them to take an objective angle by taking a break from the issue by cracking a relatable joke.
Although the intention is not to make fun of their failed attempt, the aim is to take the problem less seriously, treat it like a game and return with a new perspective.
Just like walking in nature or disconnecting from technology can open the mind to new ideas, humour also helps you look at the problem from a unique vantage that generates a solution that the old framework would never do.
#2. Element of surprise.
Novelty is a drug that keeps the mind alive. If we keep experiencing new adventures, the brain gets so addicted to them that it subconsciously forces us to seek novelty in everyday experiences.
The ability to make people laugh without going berserk is a sign of intelligence that comes with an addictive element of surprise. It shows you can make anyone smile without burning bridges.
The element of surprise comes from the power of creativity to look at the problem from a new angle. When you provide more than one way to approach a problem that no one in their right state of mind can imagine, the element of surprise is unforgettable.
I always do it with my friends, especially when I have the solution, because I also want my homies to put in some effort by not giving away the farm.
#3. Sign of intelligence.
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.”
— Oscar Wilde
Although Oscar’s quote puts the talent of sarcasm in a debatable position, science agrees humour and intelligence have a strong positive correlation.
The talent to enlighten anyone with a funny muscle is the attitude that benefits more people than it hurts.
Until I graduated three years ago, I was a professional introvert who struggled to make conversations with people even when someone approached me first.
My phone was my go-to saviour. I faked an incoming call ( or SOS text ) and escaped the ongoing in-person chat.
But when I started taking the first step by initiating the conversation with a funny tone to lighten the mood for an engaging discussion, I ended the conversation in a way that made me recall the memorable moments.
Humour is an unforgettable way to remember new knowledge because it comes as a packaged deal with a bundle of positive emotions that leave us wanting more of it.
Being funny is an art which involves taking life less seriously than it already is.
If you look at a five-year-old, they can laugh any time they want. Even if a kid just injured their leg while tripping, if you give them some sugar, their mood immediately uplifts. They start laughing and jumping on an imaginary trampoline.
I learned about the power of humour when it helped me make friends after moving to Bengaluru for the first time three years ago. I was new, lost, confused, and had only a few familiar places to build social connections.
Now that I’m moving to a whole new country in April 2023 for higher studies, the lessons in this article are what will help me thrive in a new place with new people by practising the art of conversationalist.
Here is a recap for your memory:
- Humour objectifies the problem and shifts us to a solution-driven approach by providing a new overdue perspective.
- Humour involves an addictive element of surprise that makes you unforgettable in people’s eyes.
- Humour and intelligence have a strong positive correlation. You are wiser than you think you are if you can direct the conversation to a meaningful destination while entertaining your people without going cancer loud.
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Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students in solving their doubts or busy writing, he’s sweating either in a workout, vlogging or playing with his cat, Jim. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.