Advice for awkward people

Dear Matt,

I don’t really understand most of your jokes. I mean, I do, but it usually takes me a while and you just sit there with this blank look on your face like, “Holy crow, I just made the best joke of my life and you’re not laughing in support of it.” To be fair, I don’t laugh that hard at jokes anyway, but I feel there is a distinct disconnect between your punchlines and my comprehending them (maybe I’m not always sure when you’re joking). I do get your jokes in the end, and that’s what counts, right?

Really Yucks Afterwards, Nonvoluntarily

Dear RYAN,

It’s not you; it’s me. Wait, are we breaking up? You always seem to have seen all the goofy stuff that I’m exposed to. I thought we shared so much knowledge of Internet and television pop culture that at any joke or reference I make, you will catch the line and rib on it further. If I can’t show you funny Internet cats, maybe I can make you laugh about what happens when a room temperature superconductor walks into a bar. The bartender tells him to leave, and he does so, without putting up any resistance. No? Okay. I’ll go for slapstick next time.

Everybody laughs at people slipping on banana peels, right?

Dear Ryan,

I can never seem to get you to laugh at my jokes. I don’t know what’s wrong; do they just go over your head? I suppose we need to do some impedance matching because I am an ECE major and you are a physics major, but I thought we were both sufficiently nerdy that the relationship would work. Do you not value all the time we’ve spent together?

Meaning Absent, Truly Tried

Dear MATT,

That right there is a loaded question. Of course I value the time we’ve spent, but … maybe … maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s me. You know? Because you … you’re a really funny guy. Like, seriously. You tell really good jokes.

But, I don’t know … maybe I’m just not attuned to your sense of humor. Or maybe … maybe I just don’t like your sense of humor. I know that’s hard to hear (or rather, read), but it could be true. Regardless, I’ve been trying hard to understand your jokes, and I think I’ve been getting better at getting them sooner, so … bear with me.

I still don’t entirely understand the hydrogen joke,