Use Inside Jokes to Strengthen Relationships

Use Inside Jokes to Strengthen Relationships

Posted by Dr. Julie Kinn, Deputy Director of T2’s Mobile Health Program, on July 5, 2017

Once, my youngest child woke me up in the middle of the night to ask a very disturbing question.

“What do slugs taste like?”

I was annoyed (I need my sleep), but the interruption gave me a funny story to tell the rest of the family the next morning. So now, about once a week, one of my kids asks, “What do slugs taste like?” which makes us all crack up. The saying is more than a disgusting question; it’s a reminder of a funny moment our family shared.

Like the slug story, a quick and fun way to help you connect to your family is to bring up things that made you laugh in the past. There was actually a study done on this. Researchers had 52 couples in a long-term romantic relationship reminisce about a nice experience they had shared (like their wedding or visiting a beautiful place). Talking about these times helped the couples feel better about their relationship. But what helped them bond even more was talking about times when they had shared a laugh.

While the research focused on romantic relationships, it can apply to other relationships, too. Laughing about shared circumstances builds a sense of connection. Just be sure the shared memory is one that everyone finds funny (and not one that will make someone feel embarrassed or ashamed).

How to keep sharing a laugh:

  • Write down funny quotes and stories. You can keep them in a book or journal, or email them to yourself so you have a record of them. Every winter, I compile all the silly quotes from my kids and give them to their grandparents. My kids love re-reading these with me.
  • Use as bedtime reminders. As you tuck in your children or kiss your partner goodnight, take a minute to say, “Remember when the dogs were being goofballs at dinner?” Just that quick reminder about when you laughed together will increase your connection and will give your loved ones a nice thought as they go to sleep.
  • Download the Virtual Hope Box mobile app. In the “Remind Me” section, you can store funny stories as voice recordings or take a picture of a note. You can also add these to the “Quotes” section and see them rotate on a random display along with quotes by famous people. Reading funny and inspiring anecdotes can boost your mood when you’re having a tough day.

So now when things go sideways, think about how it will make a good story. Oh, and with regard to, “what do slugs taste like?” Fortunately, I don’t know the answer and I hope I never will.

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