Being Funny vs. Having a Sense of Humor

What’s so funny?

The world we live in is filled with hardships.  Every one of us faces unique struggles catered to our lives.  Amid all of this, one of the most common pieces of advice is to not take life too seriously and learn to laugh at ourselves.

Some may interject with “I’m not funny – how am I supposed to lighten up amid my struggles?”.  There’s a misconception that one has to be funny to enable the lighter side of life.  In reality there’s a difference between being funny and having a sense of humor.  By differentiating these two concepts, you’ll come to realize all you need is a sense of humor.  No “being funny’ required.

Being Funny – External

According to, the word funny is defined as “providing fun; causing amusement or laughter; amusing; comical“.  Being funny is the ability to make others laugh.  You tell a joke and others laugh.  You tell a comical story and others laugh.  Being funny is an external act.  How funny you are has no bearing on whether you make yourself laugh.

Sense of Humor – Internal defines the term sense of humor as “the ability to find things funny, general enjoyment in doing so, or the particular types of things one finds funny“.  Having a sense of humor means only making yourself laugh.  Unlike being funny, you don’t have to worry whether somebody else is laughing.  Maintaining humor is an internal act.

There are plenty of ways to seek out humor.  Watch a TV show and laugh.  Watch a petty argument between two strangers and laugh.  Most importantly, observe your own life as if you’re in a sitcom and laugh.  Only with a sense of humor can you laugh off your day to day mishaps.

So What?

Hopefully now you recognize the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor.  It’s critical to have a sense of humor.  And the good news is having a sense of humor doesn’t require one to be funny.  Even if you’re the least funny person in the world, you still have the ability to maintain a sense of humor.

Why is it important to have a sense of humor?  Humor allows us to lighten up and put things in perspective.  We all can relate to moments in our lives where we felt embarrassment.  If something was truly embarrassing and you don’t want to think about it, I’m truly sorry.  But if something happened worth a dose of humor then by all means embrace that humor.

Additionally humor creates some of our greatest memories.  These are the moments we laugh so hard we can hardly breath.  The funniest moments occur when something is unintentionally funny.  Unintentionally funny moments are those in which something seemingly serious or mundane turns out to be so funny you can’t help but laugh your socks off.  Unless you have a sense of humor, you won’t recognize those unintentionally funny moments.  What a shame that would be.

Don’t worry about being funny and making others laugh.  As long as you can laugh at yourself and look at the world through a humorous scope, you’ll be well on your way.

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