A good sense of humour is so important these days, ranking higher than good looks or intellect in must-have qualities in people we seek to engage with. We see it as a sign that people are happy, confident, and socially aware. But humour is not just a social way of communicating, it also reveals huge insight into peoples personality. For example people who have an aggressive side may be able to express this by using 'put-downs' or 'teasing' in a social group as a way of letting this aggression out in a less physical manner, while managing to avoid any responsibility for this invading behaviour, citing it as 'a joke'. Or those who have low self-esteem or anxiety using themselves as the joke, hiding behind a character for people to tease. But while this may start off harmless, others will begin to lose respect for the 'clown' and ultimately erode their own self respect.
Watching how people react and interact to humour can be very interesting, and tells a lot not only about the person performing, but the reaction from those around. A good, well-balanced social group also needs to be able to understand and gauge the humour of those around, and requires people with both similar and different humour types to ensure everyone gets the most out of the conversation and the humour. If all members of a group want to be, 'the spotlight' type this can lead to strong conflicting characters fighting to be constantly centre of attention, but one alone will not be able to carry the whole group and can lead to members beginning to find that person annoying. Equally a whole group of 'put-downers' can quickly lead to conversation turning nasty or serious, with some 'laugh at life' humour types needed to ensure the humour is kept, well, humorous.
To maintain a social group a good 'bonding type' humour is needed to keep the group together. A 'bonder' is really the glue to a social group and should be very much at the core, it reminds others of the humours times they have had together, and why they are socially invested in this group of people. Shared experiences makes people feel secure, and laughing enables them to feel relaxed, therefore laughing about shared experiences helps to settle people into a group and want to return to this social circle again. However, bonding types can also make new members to the group feel like outsiders, and make others feel they are not part of the social group; they are able to ostracise members and very much play the dynamics of the group. With new members, this can lead to one of two things. Firstly this may mean an individual no longer wishes to be part of this social group, especially if the bonders are also a 'spot-lighter' or there are strong put-downers in the group. They do not feel welcome to be part of the group, and therefore do not return. A second option may be that the new member feels as if they want to 'earn' their way into the group, they want to be part of the in-group, and will therefore start to join in, and fill in an empty dynamic of the group. Once they have earned a place in the group, that person is now very much invested in the effort they input to become part of the group, and will therefore value the membership of this group quite highly. In this situation if a new member is a bonder, they are able to fit in quite well bringing up or making new shared experiences, but this may lead to head-to-head type behaviour with an already established bonder bringing up situations the new bonder can not join in with. Saying this, a bonder mostly needs a second bonder in a social group to be able to bounce of each other, much like at least 2 spot lighters are needed. There also needs to be at least one laugh at life types when there are put-down or hate-me types, and the put-down or hate-mes really should not outnumber any other humour type.
Each social group also needs a few 'laughers.' These are people who do not really bring much humour to the group, but are vital as they are normally 'spotlight conversationalists' (those who lead a lot of conversation or are very knowledgeable or interesting) or 're-assurers'. They laugh at the humour, and keep the 'entertainers' in check. While the 'spot lighter' likes to think they are in charge, in fact it is the 'laughers' who direct conversation, as they can dictate who to laugh at and when to laugh, ensuring no one oversteps the mark or gets carried away. 'Laughers' police the humour, enabling people to continue to feel secure and relaxed in the situation without the worry of it becoming unbalanced. Without 'laughers' a bonder may start to purposely leave people out and make others feel uncomfortable or a 'put-downer' may turn nasty. Hopefully all members are able to read the situation, gaining social cues from the 'laughers,' knowing they will not laugh when they have gone too far and will therefore modify their humour to avoid similar behaviour, and adjust to the dynamics of the group. Therefore once the 'laughers' have set the boundaries for appropriate humour within the group, all can relax and the humour can ensue.
What humour type are you?? You might change depending on the situation or group of people. Sometimes it's just interesting to see how other people interact :)