Just Get Some Bad News? Use Humor To Soften The Blow

It provides “packaging”

There’s nothing worse than looking forward to getting a package in the mail, only to find it broken upon arrival. This is the shipping and handling equivalent to receiving bad news from a friend, coworker, or family member. Using humor to find the bright side of a situation doesn’t solve the problem, but it provides bubble wrap to soften the blow when this bad news comes.

It creates an instant perspective shift

When we laugh at something, it’s our brain’s way of saying, “I’ve never thought of it that way before.” Looking to discover the humor when receiving bad news is one way to deliver a very important message to yourself: there’s more than one way to look at this.

It serves as a connector

In many cases, jokes are able to connect two completely unrelated things, which, when the audience figures out the punchline, creates a new neural pathway that will connect the two ideas together. For example, when the FDA put a temporary hold on romaine due to e.coli contamination, I wrote the following joke:



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