is humor a character trait?

Is Humor A Character Trait

Is Humor A Character Trait?

What is humor? Is humor a character trait? According to the dictionary it is:

noun: humour; noun: humor; noun: cardinal humor; plural noun: cardinal humors
  1. 1.
    the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.
    “his tales are full of humor”
    synonyms: comedy, comical aspect, funny side, fun, amusement, funniness, hilarity, jocularity; More

    absurdity, ludicrousness, drollness;
    “the humor of the film”
    • the ability to express humor or make other people laugh.
      “their inimitable brand of humor”
  2. 2.
    a mood or state of mind.
    “her good humor vanished”
    synonyms: mood, temper, disposition, temperament, nature,state of mind,frame of mind;

    “his good humor was infectious”

The definition says nothing about character. The ability to laugh is a gift. Being able to laugh at ourselves means we do not take ourselves to seriously. Laughing at others, and not with them, displays a lack of character if the reason for the situation involves misfortune. Our question remains. Is humor a character trait?

A lot of good comedy is situational. Look at this old BBC clip by Dave Allen and you will find almost no words spoken. The humor is in the situation. No mocking or maligning occurs. It is simply a funny situation. We all find ourselves occasionally wanting to laugh at someone’s misfortune. Do so only if the other person can laugh about it as well. It will reflect highly on your character.

Humor is not a character trait, but good character allows us to appreciate humor in the right situations. We should never laugh at someone, only with them. Where the line falls is not easy to tell, but if the other person is offended or humiliated, then it’s not humor.


2 thoughts on “Is Humor A Character Trait

  1. masodo

    Ha ha – great sketch!
    I think it would be fair to say that someone who finds it rewarding to make others laugh and smile has compassion and empathy and these would qualify as character traits expressible as humor. LOL 😉

    1. shawngriffith Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree. Compassion and empathy are necessary for humor to be a good character trait. Without them, humor could easily be at the expense of the other person.


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