Laugh at your friends misfortune

banter
noun
  1. 1.
    the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.

A friend of mine came on a trip to the north with me last year.  I told him what to bring with him and although it was the tail end of the summer, it can get quite chilly up there, especially in the mornings.

I had anticipated this so I spent a while making a list of things to bring, even including links to purchase cheap items.

Naturally, he ignored this list and arrived about 100Km north of the Arctic circle with some lightweight trouser, a couple of t-shirts and some swimming shorts.  No hat, no jumper, no jacket, no warm socks.

Within moments, while collecting water from a stream and recoiling at how cold the water was, he realised his error.

We had quite the trip ahead of us and he was not going to be able to wing it.  He was in trouble and the look on his face made me burst out laughing.

I cannot explain it really but men laugh at other men´s misfortune and the more misery that they have to endure, the funnier it is.

Men are terrible people, obviously, however there are some very useful reasons that laughing at your friends is more helpful than taking it all too seriously.

Some points about laughing at the misery and misfortune of your friends

  • It defuses a tense situation.  Laughing generate feel good chemicals, endorphins and dopamine.  Those are the natural feel good chemicals and when you laugh, others tend to laugh too and everyone gets a dose of these chemicals.
  • It also helps your friend to know that the situation is not as bad as he might think because if it was a really bad situation, people would not be laughing.
  • Laughing is a great distraction
  • It immediately causes peoples barriers to drop and creates a level playing field.
  • Laughing at misery is of course a temporary fix, it does not work if you keep it going all day, you get about 3 or 4 minutes and then it´s time to move on.
  • Remember that nobody is immune and your turn will come too and you have to take it when it comes.
  • Laugh at yourself too

There is a time and a place for this type of laughter thought and it should not be motivated by malice.  We want to help our friends and that is why it is funny, we are going to help them once we have regained our composure and stopped laughing.

In the above story, I lent him my spare clothes and everything was fine so there was no need for a big drama about it but for some reason the thought of it made me smile for the next few days and even now as I am writing this.

When you are facing hardship, long, uphill walks with a heavy pack or you have had no sleep for days and it is cold, wet and depressing, moments like this can turn your moral around and brighten up the day.

Putting a heavy rock in somebody´s backpack on a long walk is hilarious, especially when they find out, the later in the day they find it, the funnier it is.