Lesson 41: Be serious when it is time to be serious

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love to laugh.  Joking around has gotten me through many difficult times.  The main language of the military was sarcasm and innuendo so I became fluent in it.  It is OK to have a good time.  It is fun to goof off and be silly.  Not only is laughing fun, it is medicinal.  I highly encourage letting loose and having a good laugh as often as possible.  That being said, like all things, there is a time and a place for it.  There is also a time and a place to set all kidding and goofing off aside and to act like an adult.  A time where the laughter and fun need to be put on hold so that you can take care of the important things.

It can sometimes be difficult to identify when these times are.  Sometimes, even when you know it is time to be serious, you can’t help but try to slip in a little laughter in an effort to ease some of the tension.  I get it.  Guilty as charged on plenty of occasions, many of which I ended up paying dearly for.  In a lot of instances, sarcasm and a semi-serious attitude were how I learned to deal with a lot of things because facing the reality head on might have been a little too much for anyone to handle.  That rarely applies to a relationship.  If you are in need of sarcasm or jokes in order to deal with your significant other, there are likely other issues that you need to address.  Learn the times and places to be serious and act accordingly.

Being around your romantic partner is not the same as a beer with the guys or wine with the ladies.  Never treat it that way.  Any time there is an argument or disagreement taking place, fun and games need to be set aside.  This is not the time for jokes or sarcasm.  It doesn’t matter if you are presented with the best opportunity of all time to slip in a witty and humorous comment.  You need to holster it and stay focused.  It may seem like a good idea or a good opportunity in that moment, but I can assure you that it is most likely not going to go the way you are hoping.  It will likely have the opposite effect.

You need to know your audience and how to correctly behave around them.  The last thing you want to do during a serious situation or conversation is give people involved the impression that you are not taking things seriously.  It isn’t just immature and rude, it can also end up being offensive and end up making what is already a difficult situation or problem worse.  All you are doing is adding to the problem at hand and prolonging the resolution.  Take a deep breath if need be and focus.  That laugh you are aiming for is not worth the possibility of making things difficult or worse.  Ask yourself what the objective of the conversation is and consider what will be the best route towards achieving your goal.

Unless you are a comedian or actor and the scripted situation involves humor, hold off.  I consistently preach that communication is critical.  I have said time and again that you cannot communicate enough and I stand by that.  Without constant and efficient communication, things will inevitably fall apart.  That does not mean that your communication can’t be destructive.  Just because there is an exchange taking place, doesn’t mean that communication is efficient or helpful.  The content of the exchange is just as important if you want things to work.  Think before you speak and ensure that, no matter what, your communication efficiently demonstrates your priorities in a way that others will understand.

Takeaways:

  1. Know when it is time to be serious.
  2. Your attitude reflects your priorities.
  3. Understand who your audience is and the context of the exchange.
  4. Focus on the objectives of the conversation and don’t deviate.
  5. Think before you speak.

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