I ate lunch and then played pool with a co-worker after lunch today at our office. We get along quite well and talk often. Yet while socially engaged, instead of professionally, I found myself laughing disproportionately at things that were only moderately funny. I did my best to suppress it because it would have been embarrassing to laugh too hard.
After we finished I returned to my computer and began to work on some programming tasks. A few minutes later my wife sent me a funny picture on social media. I could barely control myself and almost burst out loud laughing. Had I seen the image later on in the day I would have not almost gone into a laughing fit.
I noticed this behavior much more often as an adolescent in similar situations than I do now. It seems to be related to my comfort in social situations which has changed as I have grown older.
Why do we laugh harder and more often in social situations? Also, does suppressing laughter bottle it up? Why does this improve as we grow older?
(I may also be interesting to note that he is not my superior. I am a partner in the company and oversee him, so its not related to his having a higher social status in the workplace.)