What do you think about when you hear the phrase "conflict resolution?" Do mediators come to mind? Perhaps law offices, tense conversations, or even timeouts for toddlers who have a real penchant for conflict sometimes. Many of us tend toward thinking of conflict (and the ways to resolve it) as a very serious endeavor, one rooted in difficult conversations and maybe even arguing. And of course, that is very true! But conflict can also benefit from humor and laughter. And a good laugh may even resolve your conflict. Below, we've compiled some interesting and hopefully useful information on using humor to help with conflicts in your life.
You may not think of it this way, but humor is a tool you can use in conversations. Whether it's connecting with someone new, rekindling a friendship, or finding common ground with a coworker, humor is a great way to make all of those things happen. Who doesn't like to laugh at a well-timed joke? And humor is a great way to engage with people in a non-violent, non-threatening way. A useful tool for conflict, especially.
This article from Daily Good tackles just that--using humor as a tool--and does so within a political setting, too. And it shows how a little bit of laughter can quickly ease tension between people. But it also reminds us that humor can go wrong, if you're not careful. You must be sure you are making fun of a situation, not a person. Because personal attacks will quickly escalate any conflict you may be in. If you can remember that you care about a person's well-being, and that you want to be able to laugh about a situation you're in, then you should have success when trying for a joke to ease a conflict.
What of the best things about shared laughter is its ability to quickly break down the barriers between people. Think back to moments when you shared a laugh with a stranger and how you felt a quick connection. Or perhaps when seeing a funny movie and the camaraderie that happens when the entire audience all laughs together. It's a great feeling and a great way to dispel conflict. Or at least get people to relax and listen a bit better to each other.
This article from Mediate talks about laughter in relationships and how it can bring down barriers. Whether it's between a couple who are fighting or a pair of friends, laughter can be a real help in an argument. The author notes that humor is a great way to defuse tensions and also create perspective. Because if you're a couple in an argument, remembering that you can (and do) laugh together is a great way to remember why you're together. Laughter will bring down walls and defenses, but just be sure you're laughing about a situation and not the other person.
The next time you find yourself in conflict with someone, try to find a way to laugh at the situation your in and connect with others through a good, shared laugh.