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Humor plays a consequential role in humanity. It makes things lighter and is a means of seeing matters in an optimistic light. But is there such a thing as humor in conflict resolution?

Laughter is the best medicine.

It’s been centuries since humans have believed in the psychological benefits and relief humor provides. While it seems astounding for laughter to offer consolation aside from its temporary distraction, there would be reasons logical enough why this belief persevered.

Humor is something deemed essential in life. It’s not only to boost one’s attractiveness but also to boost their well-being. More than a means of expressing amusement, laughter is also a means of blowing off steam – a sense of relief from any burden people carry. Laughter is said to fit almost any heavy situation. But when it comes to conflict, jokes only seem to worsen things.

Is There Space for Humor in Conflict Resolution?

Humor is a powerful tool. In fact, people benefit from a joke or two and genuine laughter, even in funerals and other solemn situations. However, while this is true, there are still specific circumstances where people are reminded to approach their jokes better and avoid misplacing them.

One of which is during conflicts.

In a room filled with people figuratively steaming with anger, and the atmosphere shifts to a more serious air, heavy as people’s faces are drained of brightness, would there still be room for humor?

From an outsider’s perspective, that situation may not be the right time. It’s easy to conclude that humor in conflict resolution would be akin to adding fuel to the fire. To extract laughter during a dispute would seem like the wrong means of seeking laughter from the wrong audience. When there’s conflict, it’s expected that people remain serious. If they wish to address and resolve the matter, they’re expected to act in a way that reflects this. Else, they risk offending the other person.

However, with laughter having the power to disarm people and put their guard down, perhaps there’s a way to incorporate humor into conflict resolution.

Laughter Is the Best Way to Approach Situations

Renee Servello’s Humor All The Way best details the impressive influence of humor in life. It’s a compilation of anecdotes about the comical side of life despite its troubles and tribulations. The book aims to capture the flexibility of humor in people’s lives—how it’s in everything and a universal means for people to cope with most things.

Although humor plays an integral role in life, especially as a coping mechanism, it isn’t a magical device that would quickly resolve everything. It’s not something people are equipped with in any situation and expect to settle in any matter. However, when too deep into a conflict, humor can be the best approach to break the atmosphere and help people reel back into the moment.

Humor in conflict resolution doesn’t act as the answer. Instead, it can be a way to clear people’s minds, leading to a more grounded conflict management. It disarms people, temporarily distracting them from the situation’s intensity, which allows them to understand and process things better.

It Connects What Has Been Disconnected

Conflicts explode when people’s perspectives differ. They arise when people are disconnected. Hence, one fundamental means of resolving them is reconciliation or re-establishing the damaged connection.

This is precisely the role of humor in conflict resolution.

Aside from bringing light to the solemn atmosphere, invoking humor in disagreements diffuses the tension. It brings people back closer together by creating intimacy during the moment. Laughing at the same matter solidifies relationships through a common buffer against the conflict. Not to mention, laughter is contagious. If one creates light in the situation, they might prime the other to leave the heavy mental space and laugh with them.

People should remain considerate of the situation.

While humor can most likely diffuse tension, it can also tick people off during the worst times. It may be beneficial, but it can also backfire. Humor still requires careful consideration and the right timing, or else it can exacerbate the conflict instead of the other way around.

Humor in conflict resolution can be beneficial. However, it can still lead to misunderstandings and animosity when misused.