Vulnerability: to laugh or not to laugh?

I noticed an interesting juxtaposition of defense mechanisms.

A few people I know don’t laugh or joke with people they don’t know, or people they don’t feel comfortable with. Laughing is vulnerable, and they’re not comfortable with that level of intimacy without a corresponding level of trust.

Quite a few of my students laugh and make jokes to avoid being vulnerable. “I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m going to cover that up by making a joke and getting some laughs instead of admitting I need help.”

(Students are not the only people I’ve seen that defense in.)

Of course, plenty of people fall into neither category as well. This isn’t a statement of all people, just two opposite behaviors I found somewhat fascinating.

I have no mind-blowing conclusion. These people are never in the same place at the same time, and so it took a while before I put their behaviors together … and it intrigued me.

People are so interesting.


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