Sarcasm is one of those tricky forms of humour. Using irony as a way to prove a point can be a skillful way of bringing some laughter to the moment; however most people will use sarcasm as a way to mask their hostility. Those on the receiving end of a sarcastic remark will feel the put down; you can say something but because it’s masked in “humour,” you will most likely be accused of not being able to take a joke.
Using sarcasm consistently as a way to get a message across to others is a form of anger and can lean into bullying behaviours. The intention of using sarcasm, then, becomes not to look for a solution, but rather to feel justified or right, to prove a point, or to “get back” at someone. No clear communication there.
So let’s move instead, to clever wit; being able to use humour when communicating can be very productive. People will know when you’re using humour because of your non-verbal signals; sarcasm almost always brings with it an underlying look of anger, being witty will have your face open and smiling. And if you are on the receiving end of a sarcastic remark? Call them out on it:
“Hmmm, that sounds a bit sarcastic. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to take that.”
“Geesh, can’t take a joke or what?”
“Sure, I can take a joke when it’s funny.”
Short and sweet; delivered calmly. It will carry more weight than trying to just ignore it or getting angry in retaliation.
Bottom line? Use caution when choosing sarcasm as a form of communication. Being witty is more effective and will not hurt those to which you’re teasing 🙂
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