This article appeared in the May 11, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Can what makes you smile help you find a soul mate?

Courtesy of Smile Technologies Corp.
The Smile dating app finds matches based on your sense of humor.

In high school, when I started dating the woman who would become my wife, I was immediately attracted by her hilarious, off-color quips. And she totally got my wry jokes. Neither of us would make it on the stand-up comedy circuit. But a shared sense of humor, according to a new dating app, is key to a good relationship.

The Smile app identifies your style of humor by showing video clips of say “The Office,” “Friends,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” If you laugh, tap the heart. After creating a humor profile – using eight styles ranging from sarcastic to self-deprecating – you’re given possible dating matches.

The app taps research done by Jeffrey A. Hall, a professor at the University of Kansas. Dr. Hall’s findings say that humor underlies successful relationships because it confirms to your partner that you “get” them. “When people have a shared sense of humor, they reveal themselves as having a similar outlook on the world. Perhaps just as importantly, it opens them up to playfulness,” says Dr. Hall, an adviser to Smile. 

Dating apps, Dr. Hall suggests, are often based on the applicant’s not-quite-accurate self-descriptions. But humor, he says, is hard to fake. A 2019 Pew Research study found that while 30% of U.S. adults have used a dating app or website, only 12% said they found a long-term relationship via online dating.

The founder of Smile, Melissa Mullen, who has a background in physics and software development, says she has been an active – and disappointed – user of dating apps. Her epiphany came when she realized her most successful dates were with men who could make her laugh. She’s been working on the Smile app for more than a year. The official launch is June 1. 

Does laughter really lead to lasting love? We’ll see. But I can confirm after more than 40 years, my wife still makes me smile. 

This article appeared in the May 11, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/11 edition
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