My friend Mike, over at Ten Thousand Pots of Soup had a great post last week about humor.
As someone who has never been the fastest, or the strongest, the most talented or the best looking, I’ve always gotten by with a quick wit and the ability to stay ahead of people. I have always felt underestimated, and therefore I was trying to prove (at least to myself) that I was the smartest and the funniest. And if I was able to make a joke that went over people’s heads, that just made me feel all the better.
This is familiar to me. I have always (and too often still do) used humor as a defense. It’s a common problem for people who are fall into the Enneatype Six. We are naturally quick-witted and often feel under attack, even when we aren’t really. When we are going well our humor disarms and charms people, opens people up to new ideas and brings groups together.
I won’t speak for all Sixes, but I know my humor often strays into biting sarcasm and hurt people before I even know it. It can come as a shock to both me and the people (whom I am usually close to) I am “joking” with. I can try to justify it as “just being funny” all I want, but I know I have damaged some relationships this way.
I like Mike’s Boy’s Town Model of “deliberately saying two or three positive statements for every negative or neutral statement.” As he points out, it feels awkward at first. Which is a shame, when you think about it, that something as simple as saying something nice can feel awkward. But like any practice, it begins to feel natural and soon it is changing not only how we act but how we are.
But Mike has already said it so much better. Swing over there and read it for yourself.