The Clown Personality

I have been writing a personality column for Natural Health, where each month I provide some insight into different personalities. Here is some insight into The Clown. Does this sound like anyone you know?

Meet the Clown, the person who never runs out of jokes, humorous observations or pranks. We like the clown because they make us laugh and feel better about life. They surprise us by what they do or say, and their unpredictability and spontaneity attract us to them, especially their ability to help us laugh at ourselves. Clowns use humour to connect with others, which is an effective tool for social survival because we like people who can make us laugh. Other identifying traits include:

 

  • They like to make fun of themselves and others to provoke laughter.

  • Making fun of themselves is a way of showing they don’t take themselves too seriously.

  • They sometimes use sarcasm or put-downs to mask their aggression.

  • Everyone knows the Clown as the office prankster.

  • They have the ability to laugh at how ridiculous and absurd life and people can be, including themselves.

  • People like inviting them to their parties due to their spontaneity and need to entertain.

 

Positives

Due to their humorous take on life, including its sad moments, people love to be around the Clown as they help us cope with challenging situations. Some other positives about this personality type include:

  • They are great at lightening stressful situations at work, including making fun of tyrannical bosses.

  • Since they can laugh at their own flaws, they inspire others to laugh at theirs.

  • Where there is tension, the Clown can lighten the mood instantly with witty and insightful sayings and tales.

  • Their humour is contagious; they can put almost anyone in a good mood.

  • Their mere presence sometimes brings relief during a crisis.

 

Negatives

Not all humour is positive or healthy. Indeed, the Clown can also use their wit and banter to mask feelings of insecurity and aggression. Some of the negatives to the Clown personality include:

 

  • Misplaced humour can sometimes cause more stress or disrupt already fragile relationships.

  • While the Clown can use humour to make people feel included in a social circle, they can also use it to alienate and exclude others.

  • Not everyone likes sarcastic wit, teasing or ridicule.

  • The Clown has a tendency to use inappropriate humour to place a negative light on someone perceived as a threat, while also trying to gain more status for themselves (i.e. at work).

 

How Do I Deal with a Clown?

  • The Clown is on a mission to make people laugh and enjoy life. As a result, they may not know when their wit and pranks are offensive or hurtful. However, when dealing with a Clown it is important to remember that:

  • Clowns are emotionally sensitive and might feel offended when told they are not that funny, or that their humour is unwelcome. On the other hand, the well-meaning Clown will apologise instead of showing aggression in return.

  • When suspecting that someone is using humour to escape the reality of a painful situation or through lack of self-confidence, gently remind them that it’s okay and necessary to accept and allow hurtful feelings to be experienced.

  • It is best to speak up when you suspect the Clown of using humour as a tool to express aggression against you or someone else; it will force them to face their anger instead of avoiding it.

  • Clownish humour can be overwhelming, and sometimes the person has difficulty stopping themselves; if you cannot leave the room, stop laughing and smiling at their jokes or try to find a distraction.

 

Am I a Clown?

Everyone is capable of humour. There is, however, the potential danger of using humour too much or at inappropriate times. You are like to be a Clown if you:

 

  • Feel empty and think you are a failure if you cannot get others to laugh at your jokes or clownish behaviour.

  • Most of the time you express your dislike of someone through put-downs or sarcastic humour, usually behind their back, instead of expressing your misgivings openly and directly.

  • You spontaneously look for a funny angle in almost any and every situation.

  • People like having you at parties or fun events.

  • You sometimes use humour to put yourself down.

  • You make fun of yourself regularly to amuse others.

  • You are emotionally fragile and use humour as a way of connecting with the world.

  • Humour feels safe to you and helps you to form satisfying social bonds.

 

“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit” (Shakespeare)

 



Categories: Psychology

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16 replies

  1. ”Clowns are emotionally sensitive and might feel offended when told they are not that funny, or that their humour is unwelcome. On the other hand, the well-meaning Clown will apologise instead of showing aggression in return.”
    I agree with you in this term.

  2. Thanks for dropping by raihan – do you know a clown or think you are one?

  3. I know people like this! They really do get very defensive when someone does not think they are funny. They also carry their humor too far at the expense of other people’s feelings. (making fun of them). It is very difficult to live with a person who has a true clown personality. Very difficult.

  4. Hi, I was searching on Google because I was looking for a good description of my personality type. This fits quite well!

    I consider myself a “clown”, I have been all my life! However, I have become considerate and more careful over the years, and I don’t try to mask my true feelings with jokes. I learned to “snap out” of the humor to talk in a more serious tone.

    Also, I am not clownish all the time. Only when I am in social situations. If I am alone or just with one other person, I always adapt to their needs.

    There are a few more issues I perceive, at least in my own experience:
    1. I sometimes genuinely don’t understand whether people are laughing honestly or whether they might have been offended and are pretending to find it funny. I always try to avoid being inappropriate, but sometimes it’s really difficult to read people’s minds…
    2. I sometimes feel that people, especially newly made friends, who were starting to get close to me loose their trust and distance themselves after they see my “clownish” behavior.

    I sometimes fear that people might not take me seriously anymore, on issues that are actually important.

    • Thank you for sharing, Robin. I think so many people see the clown as a positive thing (which it can be), but it can clearly cause social problems too.

      • Thank you for this article, and also thank you for this comment. I just spent a weekend away with two fairly new friends, and I left feeling rather miserable because the two of them were joking and bantering together all weekend long and I felt like I couldn’t keep up, and i started to think I must be really unfunny and boring. I am a highly sensitive person and I just didn’t know how to deal with all the joking when I wasn’t in a joking mood. Reading this comment was helpful for me to see things from the other person’s perspective. It is totally true that all the joking (although it never was at my expense) has caused me to lose a sense of trust that I had in these people, especially the bigger joker of the two, and i am planning on distancing myself. It’s a shame because I really like this person, but the resulting feelings of low self esteem were really just too much for me. If you have any advice about how to handle feelings of inferiority that come up when you’re around really jokey people, I would appreciate it!

    • Yes, I have exactly this problem. It’s really annoying, as it can be so wonderful and fun, almost seeming to take on a life of its own. But then you can find yourself being sort of marginalised. My first intuition is to just try to see everything from everybody else’s point of view… and hope that this will balance it, but it seems such a shame to repress jokes when they are constantly swarming in my mind… Such a shame… I don’t know… I mean people say they love it, but it still seems to have this unfortunate branding effect… : ( got to temper it???

  5. I am a complete clown. Trying to be funny constantly. Hit or miss is irrelevant. I don’t care if people know I’m a clown or not.1. Everyone laughing in unison I am silent. 2. I’m laughing completely alone. <—- My life 50/50 as well as my clown outlook on the social situations of life.

  6. Nice article! I identify with Robin Hood above. I, too, am a clown and have found my identity wrapped up in making people laugh. I, too, have had to learn to be aware of social cues and learn to be more thick skinned. Probably my biggest lesson learned is that my ultimate worth is not derived from getting a laugh–that is performance based worth which is dependent on results. Everybody is different, not everybody thinks the way I do. The same remark or comeback may be funny to one friend but not another. I see my clownish personality as a true gift–I really do feel joy in making people laugh. But at the same time, it is not all of who I am. I find it important (and stress reducing) to dole out the humor in measured doses and let other parts of my self shine through.

  7. Great article on the psyche of a clown

  8. Er hi, well, I have this personality, but I’m certain it disadvantages me. It is addictive, and seems to take on a life of its own. It’s almost as though everything I do somehow becomes funny. I think it means people don’t respect me… I think it also ruins my chances with women… Well, is there any other literature you know on this, the cover up issue of clowning, and how to stop it?

    • I agree with you. I am a clown at all. But recently I have realized it has a big disadvantage. I have noticed I don’t have the respect I would like to. I am trying to change but it is not aesy. Sometimes I can not stop. After that I feel bad bad

      • I agree with you Marilyn, clowning might be on the expense of respect and be included in serious devotions. I clown about myself and expose my weaknesses which make me feel really bad afterwards.
        I am an impulsive person, most of the time my humor is not funny to strangers and people that don’t know me very well.
        I find this even disastrous after I moved to the US, because of the culture clash. I find it frustrating when not able to crack a joke in the bus or so. I am trying very hard to stop, but It’s very hard at 56 years old.
        Any suggestions?

  9. This was a outstanding article. This is the life I face everyday. I try to control myself, but when I see someone down it just ruins my mood as well. I have a unnecessary need to try to make people smile. What is worse it I’m a clown who actually takes life seriously. I have a demanding need to succeed/excel in everything I do, but at the same time it forms a issue where no one takes me serious enough to respect when I need space to focus on the important things in my life.

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