Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Relationships Are a Laughing Matter

According to, the dating website polled 5,481 singles ages 21 and older that are not in a relationship on February 5. Fifty eight percent of women said that “has a sense of humor/makes me laugh” was a must-have quality in a romantic partner. Meanwhile 37 percent of men said that “has a sense of humor/makes me laugh” was a must-have quality in a romantic partner.

Dr. Gary Lewandowski, Chairman of the Psychology Department said that humor is well known as a positive trait for attracting potential mates, especially for men.

According to Lewandowski who has been married to his wife, whom he met in college, for 12 years, humor makes men more attractive to women. It can also tie to intelligence, he said.

Another positive of humor in college relationships, according to Lewandowski, is that it helps defuse arguments or disagreements. “In long term relationships, having a sense of humor is important. You can’t be right or perfect all the time so when you mess up, you have to be able to laugh at yourself,” said Lewandowski. He also said that humor helps people “takes things a little less serious.”

Lewandowski recommends that college-aged partners should be very careful in regard to sarcastic or mean spirited humor.

Michael Phillips-Anderson, assistant professor of communication, said that people should be aware of intentions of humor and the interpretation. “What I think is funny, the other person may not. Getting out of your own head to realize how it may be interpreted is important.”

Phillips-Anderson, who has been married for seven years, said, “Humor can serve as a way of unity and division in romantic relationships.” According to Phillips-Anderson, it can serve as a common bond or can become a destructive factor. “If I intend something to sound one way and it doesn’t get received that way, that’s when problems arise,” said Phillips-Anderson.

Marcie Aviva, sophomore music major has been dating her boyfriend for over a year and said that humor is one of the reasons she cares for him the way she does.

“Humor is always a good thing in a relationship. You want someone who can make you laugh, but at the same time, you want someone who knows when to be serious & when to be funny,” said Aviva.

Dr. Aaron Furgason, assistant professor of communication, has been married for 12 years to his wife, whom he met in graduate school. He was also involved in comedy as a graduate student. Furgason said that while humor is an attractive trait, one must be careful of the kinds of humor used.

Furgason explained that humor can cause pain and relationship issues if the partner ends up on the receiving end of a joke, if they are mocked or if someone makes an embarrassing comment.

Furgason said, “If someone makes an embarrassing comment, the partner is considered ‘attached to the stupidity’ exhibited by their significant other.”

Furgason recommends that people be aware of their surroundings before opening their mouths with a joke that may not be funny to anyone but themselves.

Another recommendation is to see how your partner’s parents react to humor. “That could be a key indicator of what your future may be like. If your partner’s parents are very serious, that may be what their child is used to,” said Furgason.

Furgason warns, while humor is a great asset to a romantic relationship, people need to know when to be serious too.

“The idea of laughing all the time is not healthy… there are times when you need to be serious,” said Furgason. “You also can’t force laugher.”

Furgason and Phillips-Anderson both mentioned that their favorite brand of humor was about the obscurity of everyday life. Furgason said, “You just can’t help but laugh at what people say.”


Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151