Ending Sarcasm

Sometimes if feels like society accepts or even glamorizes sarcasm.

The problem is that sarcasm hurts everyone – the giver, receiver, and any witnesses.

People who are routinely sarcastic have a problem.  As suggested in this blog post, “show me a sarcastic person and I will show you a wounded person.  And I can tell you where their wound is too.”  I have a sarcasm problem.  My surest trigger is the presence of mansplaining.  My second-surest trigger is the presence of impenetrable lingo.  However, I also use it anytime  I’m feeling insecure, angry, and socially awkward.  And I don’t just use it on assholes, but also the people who love me and whom I love the most.


Sarcasm is not a great form of protection.  It hurts the people we love and our relationships.  It highlights our vulnerabilities like a flashing neon sign to anyone who cares to pay attention.  And it leaves us feeling not so great about ourselves after we use it.

So I made a pact with myself.


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I’ve started trying to take care of myself from the inside-out.  Rather than doing what is “right” because of what my parents taught me or what society tells me is right, I’m doing things that feel good and right to me – things that make sense to me.

Given all the reasons I’ve listed, sarcasm does not make sense to me.  I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m going to break the habit and walk away.

Featured Image: Marcus Depaula, unsplash.com, unsplash.com



2 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve described myself since being a teen as being sarcastic. Someone once told me that it comes from the Greek word “to tear flesh” which as pretty visceral.

    I lacked Wikipedia as a kid, but it turns out they were right – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

    But I think it depends on how you describe sarcasm and what the intent is. I’ve always frames it more as exaggeration or as described in the Wikipedia article, being similar to irony. Or I use it on myself.

    There it’s definitely meant to use word in a way that go counter to how they appear on the surface, and explicitly to hurt another

    The use of strategies which, on the surface appear to be appropriate to the situation, but are meant to be taken as meaning the opposite in terms of face management. That is, the utterance which appears, on the surface, to maintain or enhance the face of the recipient actually attacks and damages the face of the recipient. … sarcasm is an insincere form of politeness which is used to offend one’s interlocutor.

    So I see I do use it in attacking companies and people that I feel malign me, like recently a web hosting company that engages in spam but skirts responsible.

    I appreciate thinking this, but I guess I am also not clear on the kind of sarcasm you are referring to. It’s not something I see as firmly defined, a lot of grey,

    But congrats for ending it.


    1. Laura Gogia says:

      Hi Alan,
      I did a lot of thinking and research before writing this up (“a lot” is a relative term – I searched the web for different types sources for a couple of days) and sarcasm seems to be the source of some controversy in pop psychology and leadership development. If you fish a bit, you’ll find articles that say it’s the lowest form of humor (Oscar Wilde). You’ll see articles that say using it will make you more creative. You’ll see articles that say that it’s less confrontational than just yelling at a customer service agent and more likely to get you what you need, so if you can’t be nice then you should be sarcastic before you yell. Do with all that what you will.

      I’m talking about sarcasm in the context of your personal and close professional relationships – the people you work and live with every day. And there is plenty of psychology to support that people use sarcasm in these contexts when they are insecure, feeling awkward, or angry. And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this sarcasm is harmful to its victim (and that includes self).

      Sarcasm is firmly defined. Its typical impact is pretty well described in plenty if not all contexts. Obviously impact changes depending on the situation and the users, so if you want to call that “grey” then, sure, that’s grey.

      I’m announcing that I’m going to practice getting rid of sarcasm because I need to find better ways to deal with insecurity, awkwardness, and anger. I will feel better if I do and so will all the other people around me.


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