There are some people I don’t kid. I don’t joke with these people. I don’t think I have permission to do so.
Perhaps you know people like this. They are deeply serious people – especially about themselves. They might tell a joke or tease someone but
you don’t feel as if you have the permission to do this with them. It’s not that these people are unpleasant or mean. No, they are just serious – deadly serious!
You can quickly put people at ease by laughing at yourself.
I love to be around people who laugh at themselves. These people don’t mind telling you stories about silly things they have done. They tell stories on themselves and then enjoy the laughter of other people. They have a way of putting others around them at ease. I feel so comfortable around such people.
I mention this because sometimes I do and say silly things as well. I can tell you numerous stories about the occasions I have misplaced my keys. I have lost my keys at the meat counter at the grocery store. I once lost them in the dean’s office in graduate school. At a Hardee’s in Atlanta, I once put them on a tray along with my trash from breakfast and then accidentally tossed them into the trash can. I then had to put my arm into the trash can and fish them out. Why do I tell this? It is just part of being human. We do silly things at times.
Yet, there are people I don’t feel comfortable with. I don’t tease them or use very much humor with them. I don’t feel at ease around them. They take themselves far too seriously for that. I recall once watching a friend trying to playfully tease such a person. The guy got tense and then shot back some sort of barb. It was an awkward moment. I think my friend learned that the other guy was very self-conscious and took himself very seriously. I doubt that he was playful with the guy again.
Again, put others at ease by laughing at yourself. I’ve taught classes before when I have said something incorrect. Maybe I got a Bible reference wrong. Maybe I passed out class notes and made an error in the notes. Perhaps someone caught the error and brought it to my attention. When this happens I try to smile and say something like: “Thanks for this. I need all the help I can get.” Such a statement has a way of putting others at ease.
This is just a suggestion. But, why not give it some thought this week?