STUDY: Physical and Self-Deprecating Humor Make Best Online Matches

It’s most common for singles to say they’re looking for someone with a good sense of humor who can make them laugh, while looking for a date or for love online, but do you know what your humor type is?

Online Dating Site eHarmony took a deep dive into what types of humor singles find appealing, or not, based on a study of 1500+ singles viewing 32 memes in six categories. After scoring the most and least popular humor types by gender, the survey followed the online communications of the singles who participated, to measure their behavior after viewing a profile.

Topping the list, singles found physical humor to be the funniest, followed by bodily humor, and self-deprecating humor. What’s not surprising in their data, is that men enjoyed physical humor significantly more than women did.

Let’s face it. It’s hard to be funny solely in the written word or in a digital chat. Since you can’t hear someone’s voice when you type in a humorous message and hit send, the recipient might find your wit to be an insult. I know, as I’ve been the recipient of some bizarre digs, when deep down I knew that someone was just trying to make conversation and didn’t have the benefit of a dating coach to provide a list of ice-breakers.

eHarmony's CEO Grant Langston knows the importance of humor in relationships. He’s been with the company since the site’s launch in 2000. "Sense of humor – and not having one – has always been one of the biggest deal breakers for eharmony users,” said Langston.

Langston added, “Having a shared sense of humor with your partner gives some insight into how you will deal with the ups and downs of your lives together. In the end, it comes down to the core desire to connect with someone on things you both genuinely enjoy.”

To better understand how you’d react to a humorous introduction online, here are the six humor types, along with a sample of associated memes presented in the survey, in order of popularity.

1. Physical Humor

In the category of physical humor, users viewed five animated gifs that included scaring others, pranks, or falling. This was the most popular category of the six presented, as singles felt they were the funniest. Men ranked this significantly higher than any other humor category in the study.

2. Bodily Humor

Bodily humor involved toilet humor, body parts and bodily functions, or humor that was sexual in nature. This was the only category that both men and women rated the same. Perhaps it’s the familiarity, or maybe the basic nature that sex does sell.

3. Self Deprecating Humor

The survey results showed that women found self-deprecating humor, where they made fun of themselves and their shortcomings, significantly funnier than men. Other memes included the verbiage of “I’m just going to put an ‘out of order’ sticker and call it a day” and “I think senility is going to be a fairly smooth transition for me.”

4. Worldplay Humor

Wordplay humor included puns with an emphasis on unexpected meanings and usage of certain words. Other memes presented included a dinosaur sipping a cup of tea captioned with the words “tea-rex” and another which posed the question, “what do you call a fake noodle?” with the answer being an “impasta.”

5. Surreal Humor

When your cat is wearing your lingerie, and it makes absolutely no logic or sense at all, it falls into the category of surreal humor. This type of humor is predicated on deliberate violations of casual reasoning, producing events that are illogical. The survey showed that singles who were higher-educated with bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees had a lower tolerance for this type of humor.

6. Dark Humor

Dark humor included making light of people and subjects that were generally considered taboo or serious in nature. Another meme said, “People are like trees. They fall when you hit them multiple times with an axe.” Ouch. Participants found dark humor the least funniest. Swipe left.

Analyzing the Research

In conversation with eHarmony’s Senior Research Scientist Jonathon Beber, we discussed the six humor types and how that affects love.

Beber stated that participants who found Wordplay Humor the funniest, actually sent out more messages and received more responses that those who didn’t enjoy Wordplay. Think of it like the clean or G-rated jokester. Beber believed that if you study humor based on Wordplay, it will be more likely to translate into a successful message.

Beber noted that singles who enjoyed wordplay humor tended to be more educated than the other categories.

He added that sharing a similar style of humor with a romantic partner could lead to more chemistry and better relationship quality during the course of the length of the relationship. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Cut to laughter and a smile.

At the end of the digital day, laughter has always been the best medicine.

Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may swipe or roam.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, and as an early adopter of the Internet, has been coaching singles on finding love online for over 20 years.

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