Sarcasm is not always welcome. It is a sly way of subtly making fun of someone, and because it is wrapped around humor people often get away with it. But sarcasm is not always amusing.
I find it funny that when I am a motivational speaker at a conference (talking about humor) audiences commonly inquire about how to deal with sarcasm.
Some forms of sarcasm are ok, even mildly funny. If it is good natured teasing meant to highlight the levity in a situation, sarcasm can create a light moment with everyone. Sarcasm goes awry, however, when it is meant to put someone else down or make them feel bad. Repetitive insults veiled in sarcasm can shape a relationship in a negative, conflicting way, allowing condescending remarks to seep into everyday interaction.
For some humorless people, the only way they have learned to inject levity in their lives is to cut other people down. When sarcastic comments fly as a regular form of communication, the relationships need adjusting.
How to deal with sarcasm
- A silly response trivializes the remark. When i was a speaker for a healthcare conference a delegate said she deals with her boss's sarcasm by throwing it back at him and downplaying the insult by making jest of it.
- Ask for change. If sarcasm is continually used as a put down, the only way to help the relationship evolve is to put a stop to it. The more you put up with it, the more it will run rampant in your interactions.
Say something like... Mike, I know you think you are being funny but when you make fun of my weight that way, I find it offensive and condescending. I value our relationship. Will you stop joking about my weight?
- Laugh at it. Sometimes sarcasm actually is funny. Laugh and diffuse potential conflict while showing that you are good natured and can take a bit of slack.
- Ignore it. It may not even be worth your effort to respond. Ignoring someone allows them to get away with it- this time.
- Don't fight back. You will add fuel to the fire if you show that the insult offends you. The best defense is to confidently ask them to stop.
For more funny motivational speaker resources to deal with conflict here
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