In revealing material that serves as inspiration for a blog post (or, in this case, and perhaps a little unimaginatively, a straight couple of quoted paragraphs), one might be expected to draw on sources a little less obvious than the BBC News website. When something strikes a chord, however, it shouldn’t matter where it comes from, and I would urge you to read the following:
If you don’t feel so inclined as to read the entire piece, then two paragraphs I particularly liked are quoted below. Hopefully you will read the whole thing, because it’s easily one of Alain de Botton’s most accessible articles since he started writing on the BBC site (perhaps because the theme is such a universal one). I like de Botton, and his book A Week At The Airport was the non-fiction highlight of last year’s reading, but it must be said that I don’t always have the mental faculty to follow the entire course of an opinion or argument he might be expressing.
On the topic of requited love, then:
“Humour renders direct confrontation unnecessary, you can glide over an irritant, winking at it obliquely, making a criticism without actually needing to speak it ("By this joke I let you know that I dislike X without needing to tell you so, your laughter acknowledges the criticism").
“It is a sign that two people have stopped loving one another (or at least stopped wishing to make the effort that constitutes an astonishing degree of what true, mature love appears to be), when they are no longer able to spin differences into jokes. Humour lines the walls of irritation between our ideals and reality. Behind each joke, there can be a hint of difference, of disappointment even, but it is a difference that has been defused and can therefore be passed over without the need for melodrama.”