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The Day I Realized I Was THAT Person

I told her I sat behind a woman who laughs like us at a recent comedy show and saw first-hand how much we can annoy others. We looked at each other, paused and then started laughing uproariously!

We have all sat behind that person with the obnoxious, loud laugh. Since another person’s laughter usually cracks me up, I laugh along with them, sometimes with a snort or two! And I can appreciate their chuckle because I also have a loud yet fun and infectious laugh. At least, that’s what I told myself for years.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I attended a comedy show at a beautifully restored theater. The venue was amazing, and the comedian was hilarious! Unfortunately, my friend flinched almost every time the woman behind us laughed. It didn’t bother me because I enjoy any kind of laughter. However, it did make me think. Is that how I affect people when I cackle at a funny show? Didn’t people love an infectious laugh like mine? Well, apparently not always!

All these years I thought everyone enjoyed my laughter and sense of fun, but they may have been flinching like my friend. Yikes! Part way through the comedy show, I tried to tone down my laughter, but it was very hard to do! I still enjoyed the show, but not as much as I usually did. It was frustrating.  How could I enjoy shows to the fullest without my spontaneous laughter so others weren’t annoyed?

I Love Laughing

I thought about all the fun times laughing at the movies or with a friend. Then, I tried to think of times where my laughter may not have been as funny to those around me. At one particular movie, my son was embarrassed by my laughter, perhaps cackle. And of course, I giggled about it because how could he be embarrassed by me, the fun mom? Shockingly, he was! Later, he took me to the sequel and made sure it was the earliest show on a Sunday at 10:30 am. With seven other people in the theater, it would be hard to embarrass him, right? Wrong. I still didn’t see the problem except that my son was easily embarrassed. A few times that I was with other loud laughers and talkers, we have been shushed at restaurants. However, it wasn’t all my fault because I was part of a group, right? I remember another time when a friend and I were enjoying ourselves in my hot tub outside, telling jokes and howling with laughter. The next day, our next-door neighbor thought we were having a party. Yes, a party of two, loud and fun ladies!

Apparently, I have been THAT person my whole life! None of the above scenarios changed the way I saw my laughter until I saw my girlfriend flinching when the woman behind us laughed.

The next week, I went to see a funny movie with a friend who has a loud laugh, perhaps cackle like mine. She was already seated in a partially-filled theater behind a couple of ladies. I whispered to her that we HAD to move. When we sat down in our new seats with no one in front of us, I explained that we should never sit behind anyone again. I told her I sat behind a woman who laughs like us at a recent comedy show and saw first-hand how much we can annoy others. We looked at each other, paused and then started laughing uproariously! Luckily, the movie was as funny as promised and we were able to laugh and enjoy ourselves.

Solution

I found my solution! My girlfriend and I will sit with empty seats in front of us at the movies, so we can enjoy the show AND everyone else in the theater can as well.  A win-win for all, right?

However, if you come late to the movie and sit in front of us, you have been forewarned!

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