You’ve probably heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It might actually be true, at least when it comes to sparking a new May-December romance. A new study published in the journal Human Nature found that sharing a laugh with someone makes you (and them) more likely to open up about personal things without even realizing it. Self-disclosure is important, because getting to know each other is essential for building new relationships and setting the proper foundation for a new May-December romance.
Researchers arranged to have groups of four participants, all strangers to each other, watch a video together without speaking. Three videos were selected based on how many positive emotions and how much laughter they invoked—one was a stand-up comedy show, another was just a golf lesson, and a third one was a clip of an episode called Jungles from a documentary series about planet Earth.
The participants’ emotional state and level of laughter was measured after watching. All of the participants were also asked to write a note to another participant telling them about themselves. It turns out that the groups who shared more laughing together also shared a lot more personal information compared to those who didn’t watch a funny video. In other words, the more they laughed, the more they shared.
It’s a very simple study, but it reveals a lot about how our minds work and offers great insight into how we form new relationships. And although it doesn’t directly discuss intimate relationships or refer specifically to forming a new May-December romance, at the end of the day, all relationships start in the same way—by getting to know each other on a more personal level. The findings of this study show that something as simple as laughing together can encourage people to open up and divulge more personal and meaningful information about who they are.
In fact, the researchers found that the participants who shared more information almost did it instinctively and didn’t even realize they were sharing so much; it was the listeners who realized what was happening.
If you’re interested in forging a new May-December romance, sharing a laugh is a good way to start. Something as simple as playing a fun game or watching a comedy show or movie together can do wonders for taking your relationship to the next level.
Nauert, R., “Laughter Can Spark New Relationships,” PsychCentral web site, March 19, 2015; http://goo.gl/WGXUV8.