Autism and Misapplication of Humor

Here is the pattern:

  • I see someone do or say something, and it makes another person laugh.
  • If the person is laughing, they must be happy.
  • If they are happy, that’s a good thing!
  • I don’t want people to be sad.
  • If I see someone I want to make happy, I do or say what I’ve seen others do to get people to laugh.
  • The person gets mad at me, and I’m confused and upset.
  • Sometimes, this attempt to make someone feel better has made them ignore me, make me feel ashamed, or run me down to other people.
  • The person I wanted to help has been hurt, and now I’m hurting too.
  • Nobody else seems to understand, and I isolate to avoid more problems.

HYPOTHESIS: If I do the same thing as another person, I should expect the same result.


My humor gets the opposite result when I do what I think I’ve seen someone else do with a positive result. People get upset when I’m expecting them to be happy.


  • My humor is not funny, and it sometimes upsets people.
  • People laugh at me, not with me.
  • My autism makes all of this difficult and confusing.
  • I really don’t understand humor as well as I thought I did.
  • It’s probably a misapplication – wrong time, manner, way of speaking.


Where h=humor, r=expected response, M=me, and A=another person:

M(h)xB(r)= -((A(h)xB(r))

(My humor is the negative equivalent of the other person’s.)

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