Put Others at Ease by Laughing at Yourself

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

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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?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Put Others at Ease by Laughing at Yourself

  1. Dr Jim, I have never seen you do anything silly, except maybe once when you asked traci to close out the Sunday morning service with a prayer. I have told that story many times and you should know I laugh at you everytme
    Terry

    • Terry! So good to hear from you. You sound like you did years ago. Sure do miss you both. Good memories. 🙂

  2. Reader’s digest put out an article several years back saying self-deprecating humor is the only kind that actually is the best medicine.

    Churches are predisposed enough as is to place a minister on a pedestal. Ministers only encourage this exaltation when they take themselves too seriously and cannot laugh about their mistakes. This unnecessarily sets the minister up for a long fall to the ground when they do fail publicly.

    Also, If one is serious all the time, what does he or she do when it comes time to be serious.

    • Benjamin, you make such great points in your comment. You are right, too many of us who are ministers take ourselves way too seriously. There is something about being willing to laugh at yourself that can put others at ease. In fact, being willing to laugh at yourself can even help others relate to you better as a fellow human being.

      Thanks.

  3. Jim,
    Thank you for sharing such thoughts which actually puts one at ease. i am glad i stumbled upon your thoughts while thinking something similar.
    However useful i find this easiness to be it is very often that i also get very annoyed at some around me who are always laughing at others (myself included in this others).i keep reminding myself to take it with a pinch of salt and move on but it does leave me with some bitterness.i don’t react with a barb but i get cheesed off with such people who are always poking fun at others even when a praise or credit should have been more apt.
    Don’t know why i’m telling you this and hope u don’t mind my going tangent because it’s not what you are discussing. Nevertheless felt like sharing my angst.
    Thank you once again.

    • Shivani,

      Thank you for your comment. I am also glad that you stumbled upon this blog. I hope you will comment again.

      Yes, it is annoying to hear others laugh at people at their expense. Yet, I think that at times, Shivani, your irritation may actually reflect that you care about others and do not like to see the insulting and humiliation that sometime passes for humor. Then there are other times when something may be irritating because we realize that we sometimes do the same and it makes us face our own shortcomings.

      Again, thanks so much for your comment.