Humor as a reaction at awkward situations

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Humor as a reaction at awkward situations

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Humor is just a reaction at awkward situations and when humans do not know what to say in conversation

Awkward situations always happen without warning. The automatic responses of the victims distinguish the emotions involved after the awkward moment. Various awkward situations demand for various reactions depending on the people involved and the prevailing circumstances (Byrne). People may react to situations with anger, humor or other mixed reactions. Sometimes, people may remain nonchalant of the awkward moment, ignoring it altogether. Humor may not be humorous at all times. It can embarrass, demean and make the lives of other people uncomfortable. Furthermore, it can create awkward moments which may hurt victims of circumstances such as cultural stereotyping. This essay explores these aspects of humor as a reaction at awkward situations and when humans do not know what to say in conversations.

When people talk about humor, they inadvertently think about funny moments which elate the spirit and leave people laughing (Moalla). According to Moalla, only a few people have stopped to think about the effects of humor to the audience. While many people may love humorous words, actions or events, some people may be stressed to the point of depression by the same things. The satirical turn of events is worth investigating and it forms the basis of this paper. The essay draws evidence from philosophers such as Plato, Freud and Grotjahn. According to Freud and Grotjahn, humor is a redemptive, ennobling, and imaginative force which helps develops societies (Moalla). On the other hand, Plato opines that humor reveals the ugly, destructive, degenerative and poor morals of society and should be avoided by civilized man. It is evident that humor can be used constructively or destructively. The following paragraphs give further evidence on the destructive nature of humor.

One of the dark sides of humor is social exclusion in the use of humor. As stated before, not all people may find the humorous aspect of humor at any given time. When humor is not inclusive, it automatically leaves the other participants out of the topic. They feel alienated and culturally excluded from the perceived humor. Carty and Musharbash prove that social rapture or the alienation of people from a funny moment can separate people along other lines (Carty and Musharbash). Laughter may provoke those who are not part of the comedy into fear, anxiety and embarrassment. A good example of the use of humor in creating cultural divisions is in racial jokes. If a white person makes a joke that all black people are monkeys, the white people may find it funny while the black people in the group find it offensive and embarrassing.

Another common problem with cultural stereotypes is the danger of trivializing important issues (Mayer and Davies). Various things are important to different people depending on their educational backgrounds, religious affiliations and way of upbringing. Similarly, various communities value different things. Humor is the exact opposite. Humor exploits cultural, communal or intellectual loopholes by belittling or magnifying their values. For instance, some people believe that the world was created by God. They are strongly convicted that a force beyond the natural forces is responsible for their existence. If a person starts creating humor on how there is no God, others with similar opinions may find it humorous while the strong convicts may feel dejected. Any comic talks on the contrary may elicit anger, embarrassment, anger or even chaos from people who have a contrary opinion.

Some people tend to derive their happiness by embarrassing others. Overconfident people like making fun of everything and everybody around them. If faced with unfavorable conditions, they may hit back by embarrassing their colleagues by using humor (Clegg). Introverts, on the other hand try to remain calm and nonchalant of other people’s affairs. Due to their calm and shy personalities, introverts end up falling victims of their humorous colleagues. A sanguine can ridicule and trample upon an introvert because they believe that the later can do nothing. However, when such behavior is extended, the oppressed develop resentment and start waging war against their bullies. The struggle results in enmity, fighting and even the loss of lives. Humor when wrongly used can be more deadly than it is humorous.

This paper has shown that humor the destructive nature of humor. If it cannot be used to build good relationships, humor is better left out. Although humor creates fun and makes people happy, there are other people who find it offensive. Naturally, the comedian will always make fun of a place, a person, a topic or an object. While those of similar opinion may laugh off the joke, the victim of circumstances or those of different opinions find such humorous talks offensive. Humor has a relationship with hostility (Byrne). Offended victims may become even more infuriated when the comedians realize their mistakes and remark that “It was only a joke”. Why should anybody joke about important issues? Since humor can build and destroy at the same time, it is always important to choose when, where and how to create fun.


Works Cited

Mayer, David R., and Christie Davies. “Ethnic Humor around the World: A Comparative Analysis.” Asian Folklore Studies 50.1 (1991): 231. Web.

Carty, John, and Yasmine Musharbash. “You’ve Got To Be Joking: Asserting The Analytical Value Of Humor And Laughter In Contemporary Anthropology.” Anthropological Forum 18.3 (2008): 209-217. Web.

Clegg, Joshua W. “The Importance Of Feeling Awkward: A Dialogical Narrative Phenomenology Of Socially Awkward Situations.” Qualitative Research in Psychology 9.3 (2012): 262-278.

Moalla, Asma. “Intercultural Strategies To Co-Construct And Interpret Humor.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics 25.3 (2014): 366-385.

Byrne, Donn. “The Relationship Between Humor And The Expression Of Hostility.” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 53.1 (1956): 84-89.

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