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How Sarcasm Affects Relationship


The use of sarcasm has become second nature to most of us. I’m not sure if we are truly aware of what we are doing. It has become one of those habits and we think this is just the way we are. Well I would like to challenge that thought.

The meaning of sarcasm is the use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Now I believe that most of the time, if we thought about what we were saying, we would not choose to mock or convey contempt. I believe we use this to cover up how we truly feel. We are afraid of showing a softer more vulnerable side. Most of us, especially those 35 and above were not encouraged to share our feelings, and if you are male and were a little sensitive, well that was just not acceptable. The more “Masculine” trait of strength (and the belief that part of strength was the ability to hold in or control your emotions) was more revered and so it became very popular to use sarcasm.

The questions that come to mind are; should it still play such a role in our society? Is there a time and place for sarcasm?

Can we become aware and conscious of how we are operating to see the truth? Can we find a way to start to show who we are, feelings and all, in a compassionate, kind, loving way? This would mean we would have to become more vulnerable, we would have to know ourselves and be in touch with our feelings.

I encourage you to look at your use of sarcasm and what feelings it hides and why you used it in that specific spot or instance.

Sarcasm looks like, sounds like

Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed it.

Not the sharpest tool in the shed are you?

Nice perfume! Did you bathe in it?

That’s just what I need! Great! (Meaning the opposite)

Because I need more of that in my life!

Just notice how these are designed to put down another fellow human being and or ourself.

Using sarcasm is missing the opportunity to take a risk to say how you truly feel or is covering up a part of you not yet discovered or accepted.

Sarcasm can often be hurtful, shaming, demeaning to you and the ones on the receiving end.

Sarcasm kills relationship, trust, and brings moral down. Thinking in aspects of a team, if one member is usually the brunt of the joke or sarcasm the team is not as effective as it could be.

In a work place and as a team, trust and relationship is priority. Emotional intelligence is necessary for a well functioning team.

I believe most people can identify someone they know who uses humor or sarcasm to confront another about something he finds disagreeable. If the individual is then challenged about his confrontation, he likely backs off and says he was just kidding. This is used to deflect responsibility back on the person who was the brunt of the joke, stating that he is just being sensitive. In this manner those using sarcasm in a hostile manner are able to express displeasure without taking responsibility for it.

Sometimes this passive-aggressive maneuver is successful in that the other takes the hint and changes behavior. Other times it is not successful in facilitating change in behavior. When using sarcasm in this way is anything really resolved? It leaves little opportunity for growth for either party. Does it leave both people better off for using it? One of the benefits of proper, clear communication is taking ownership for your own stuff and the win would be the growth for all and leaving it better than you found it.

With the use of sarcasm, things do not get resolved, healed or worked out. This is the cost of using sarcasm. I understand that in some circles it is a way of relating and a way to have fun, to lighten the mood. I often wonder if one took the sarcasm out of the way of relating if you would then have a deeper more profound relatedness, where everyone feels loved, cared about, respected and heard which brings about healing on a whole new level.

I encourage you to look at when and why you use sarcasm. Just notice! Deepen your level of understanding yourself, your relationships and your emotional intelligence.

#Relationship #leadership #communication

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Marie Tindall 2019

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