Humor Takes the Sting Out of Disappointments

Fulfilling the duties of the numerous roles we take on frequently requires doing more than is humanly possible. It’s no surprise that some things fall through the cracks and we make an occasional mistake. The disappointment we feel multiplies when others get upset with us.

Humor offers an opportunity for us to take ourselves lightly, and to remind others of how many things we do accomplish expertly.

Here are three questions you can ask that will trigger a giggle, release tension, and provide that new perspective:

1) “Shall I start interviewing for my replacement?” (“When shall I start ..?”)

2) “Does this mean you won’t be nominating me for ________ of the Month (or Year)?” (Insert any roles, titles or professions.)

Examples: Employee (or Boss) Mother/Father; Mother in-law/Father in-law; Stepmother/Stepfather; Sister(in-law); Brother(in-law); Daughter(in-law), Son(in-law); Wife/Husband; Ex-wife/Ex-husband; Partner; Companion; Grandmother/Grandfather; Aunt/Uncle; Cousin; Volunteer; Friend; Neighbor; Member; Golfer; Cook; Gardener

3) “Does this mean I won’t be getting that ________?” (Insert something outrageous … like a raise, all expense paid trip, bonus, time off, new golf clubs, maid, personal assistant … the more outrageous, the funnier it will be.)


OPTION #2: You can turn these questions into statements and use them to lighten up someone who is being too hard on themselves for making an error:

1) “I’ll start interviewing for your replacement immediately.”

2) “Looks like you’ll miss out on the nomination for _________ of the Month (or Year).”

3) “Guess I’ll have to return the ________ I planned to give you as a bonus (reward).”

SPECIAL NOTATION: When ribbing anyone, it is important to know them well, understand their unique sense of humor, and be sensitive not to poke fun at their sensitive areas. AND make sure that they know you are kidding.


OPTION #3: You can also use these statements under your breath (privately) … in reference to yourself or about someone else … to help you cope with your own frustration. After you relieve some tension, you will be better equipped to deal with those difficult situations.

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