Using Humor to Resolve Conflict in Your Relationship

By Roz Jones

As caregivers sometimes conflicts can brew all day between you and the one you are providing care. There are times when as a caregiver the combatants are at a crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words. 

The last thing they expect is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouth and… make a joke?

Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’  How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which exactly is what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences. 

How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?

1. Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’ By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!

2. Check to make sure that you’re using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool. If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why. 

3. Work on that sense of humor. Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.

4. Most importantly, be Playful! A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun. 

And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!

Using Investments to Augment Income and Medical Care Expenses

There are lots of ways to save for the future. From a simple savings account to a retirement fund, there are benefits and disadvantages for every plan. The best scenario is a diversified plan that covers a wide range of savings options. 

Investments are a savings strategy that can grow income that augments your retirement income and helps pay for out of pocket medical expenses. As we age, the bigger issues become health related. Having adequate coverage for a wide range of possibilities is valuable. We never know what sort of medical and other expenses we may have but some include:

  • Long-term hospital stays
  • Medication and ancillary equipment needs
  • Out of home placement
  • Estate management 
  • And more 

Making investments can help grow income passively while you earn income throughout your career. Once you retire, your sources of income work in conjunction with one another to preserve your standard of living. 

If you have medical coverage in place after retirement, there may still be out of pocket expenses. Leveraging investment income can help offset those costs and may have fewer penalties than accessing other sources of income. Your financial planner can help you evaluate the best investment plan for your budget. 

If you start investing in your younger years, you have a great chance of growing your income with simple and consistent investments. If you are starting later, no worries you can still grow your income and use strategies to make up for lost time. Either way, investing will help you generate income that supports your needs later in life. 

Here are some simple investment ideas for your consideration: 

  • Invest in the stock market
  • Invest in commercial property
  • Invest in tax-deferred plans
  • Invest in insurance products

Some investments can be liquidated faster than others when you need income. Others have penalties depending on when and how much income you collect. Your financial planner can help you diversify your investments so you have an assortment of options to grow your money and collect it when you need it. 

Investments are one of many tools you can use to secure your income for the future and plan for your end-of-life needs. Making small, simple investments over time will render big and important rewards when you need them most. These investments become assets that add to your estate and become part of your legacy from a life well lived. 

Finishing Well – Don’t Leave Things Unsaid with Those You Love

Moving through life, we bump up against people and situations that bruise. Being offended, hurt, and misunderstood takes a toll on friendships and family. Before long, time has gone by and it’s just normal to be disconnected. Sure, regret pops up from time to time and memories of how things were or could have been creep into your thoughts. 

Why not take action to make things right? 

Once someone is gone there’s not much that can be done to undo what’s been done. Up until then, there’s much that can be done – forgiving, moving forward, and beginning anew. 

We all want to finish well. To come to the end worn out and having used everything we were given before our time comes. This should include repairing and restoring relationships whenever possible. Of course, there are times when people are too toxic to engage with but for the most part there’s nothing too far gone that can’t be revitalized with effort. 

If you are at odds with someone and really want to recapture your relationship, it’s a great time to do some planning and reach out. Here are some simple ideas for repairing relationships and making sure nothing is left unsaid with those you love. 

Idea: Get some counseling. Sometimes an issue has festered for so long it is a wound that can’t seem to heal. This may be a good time to get outside help. Working through your feelings can help you sort them out and a neutral counselor can help you see all sides of a situation, not just the side that justifies your negativity. Once you’ve worked things out you may be in a place to revive your relationship. 

Idea: Ask for forgiveness. Sometimes we do things that hurt others. We all make mistakes and blunders and people are caught in the crossfire. Relationships can become fractured and friendships lost because of something we have done or said. If you are repentant and want forgiveness, ask for it. Own your mistake and ask for grace and a chance to make things right. Say what needs to be said to make things better. 

Idea: Offer forgiveness. In the same way we make mistakes, others hurt us too. Offering forgiveness and compassion can change things from uncomfortable to finding common ground. Even if the other person isn’t sorry for their offense, offering forgiveness can leave things in a better space than they were. 

Finish well and make sure there’s nothing left unsaid with those you love. Be willing to open up and have tough talks and loving talks that create bonds and come from a place of love.

Protecting Dignity and Values During an Accident or Illness

Having a debilitating illness or injury can be devastating. Not only is your health fractured, your dignity can be in jeopardy too. Being sick subjects us to medical procedures that leave us feeling exposed physically and mentally. It can be hard to feel secure and in control of our person when we are being put through the medical gauntlet. 

Likewise, supporting someone who is going through tough medical issues can feel uncomfortable. Being exposed literally and figuratively to procedures and losing independence can be isolating and disrupting. Being able to protect dignity and values during an accident or illness is an important part of the process. 

Medical providers and first responders see people every day who are at their worst. They are providing care to people who are injured, sick, and sometimes dying. It can take a toll on them and they tend to compartmentalize their feelings so they can do tough work without showing emotion. This can adversely affect patients who often times feel like they don’t matter outside of being a body that needs medical attention. 

Sometimes the practical side of medicine collides with the intimate side of dignity. Finding the balance is important. Here are some reminders to help maintain dignity and keep your values when you are sick or have an accident. 

Remember: Communicate- You are in the driver’s seat of your care. Communicate your beliefs, preferences, and boundaries if you feel your dignity is being affected. Though some procedures and side affects of an illness may be undignified, you can manage to protect what little dignity is available. 

Remember: Advocate- If you are someone supporting someone else with an illness or injury, you can advocate for their dignity. Lead by example and make sure their feelings, values, and person are respected and protected under every circumstance. 

Remember: The golden rule- Being nice generally brings about compassion in others. Even if you are gravely ill or chronically sick you can control how you treat others. Being kind to medical providers and those supporting you will encourage them to be kind right back.


Having an accident or illness can render people helpless and put them in tough situations. It’s important to preserve dignity and hold to values even under these circumstances. There are simple things you can do to protect your dignity and that of those you love.