My best friend and I haven’t been in the same state since college. He went away to graduate school in Pennsylvania and me not too far away. Back in college we used to meet up in the campus library all the time, cranking out those term papers and talking each other through hook-ups gone wrong. We would link up for midnight snacks and I’d drag him out with me to the gay club near campus, and we’d scarf down 10,000 calories of pizza at two in the morning after. But that was almost a decade ago, and our friendship could have easily flamed out. The distance could have become too much, and we could have moved on with our lives and away from each other.
But the thing that kept us together, I think, is laughter. When we talk on the phone or see each other in person, it’s always one giant LOLathon. The conversation is spicy, fast paced, and we’re telling joke after joke, inserting humor wherever it fits. Now I know that the laughter keeps us close and reminds us why we’re friends in the first place. And when I look back on my previous relationships — friendships, hook ups, and past boyfriends — the ones that always took were the ones where we were always laughing. Even when I go home and see my relatives, it’s always one giant comedy show.
Laughter makes relationships work because when we laugh, we let our guards down. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable, even if only temporarily. If you go to a comedy club there are always those people sitting in the front row with their arms crossed who are absolutely determined not to crack a smile once during the comedian’s entire set. Those people have their guards up and their chastity belts fastened baby, and they ruin the mood.
Laughter is tricky because not everyone laughs at the same stuff. I think Chelsea Handler is freaking HILARIOUS but you might hate everything she has ever said. Or you might think X thing is funny and your friend maybe just doesn’t get it. So, sure, we all laugh at very different things, but when you can actually get a person to laugh it shows that you connect to their spirit and soul. You have a connection that is deeper that sex — no puns, people. Most people can get to an orgasm. But getting someone to laugh? Good luck with that!
That’s why I’ve always thought that the key difference between someone you’re close to and someone you barely know or maybe don’t get along with so well is laughter. Haven’t you ever been on a date with someone and the conversation just felt so stale, like it was going nowhere, and there were all those uncomfortable silences? Yeah, that’s a person you’re probably not going to call back for a second date.
If a person or a love-interest can’t get you to laugh so hard you feel like you’re dying, maybe they’re not worth your time. They’re not worth your time because they don’t really know you the way they should. And, anyway, life is too short to take everything so seriously.