The interesting bit about the circle of sarcasm is that the person on the receiving end may not enjoy it but everyone else surely does. What many of us are unaware of is that the idea of sarcasm originates from the concept of irony! The word sarcasm originated from the Greek language but the concept has existed since time immemorial.
Mankind has been using sarcasm in their communication – sometimes to convey an opinion, to push back others or even make them laugh. Therefore, just like any other form of communication, this is an art that can be mastered of course with a little bit of practice.
The circle of sarcasm can be deadly or friendly depending on who is trapped inside. In this article, we try to understand what is sarcasm and perhaps the right amount that can catapult the effectiveness of your communication skills.
What is Sarcasm?
In its simplest terms, sarcasm is when the person is saying something but means something else. The receiver needs to be smart enough to read between the lines else he or she will end up missing the sarcasm.
Many people believe that sarcasm is a tool used by men mostly among their peers. However, there is no concrete evidence to establish the truthfulness of this statement.
What is the Circle of Sarcasm?
A circle of sarcasm is like a verbal form of aggression that the speaker uses intentionally. The purpose is to have a lasting impact on all listeners (including the person who is at the receiving end of the communication).
This impact has to be different from the traditionally perceived response and therefore will last longer. Interestingly, there is research that suggests men look at sarcasm as lighthearted humor and nothing serious.
Sarcasm vs. Irony
So we told you that the idea of sarcasm originates from the concept of irony. After all, irony also happens when you don’t mean what you say. But the emotions governing both these responses are very different.
The irony is usually an unconscious effort. For example, you realize the irony of the situation only after you are in the midst of it. You do not plan the circumstances that lead to the ironic situation, do you?
Sarcasm, on the other hand, is very different. If you intend to use sarcasm in your communication, it requires some amount of thinking. Additionally, sarcasm is used intentionally or willingly, not unconsciously.
Now, ask yourself this question. Can situations be sarcastic or people be ironic? The answer is obviously no. Therefore, in spite of the same origin, these words have distinctly different meanings.
What Affects Sarcasm?
If you thought that the tone of sarcasm is always the same, you are mistaken. In fact, ask yourself, if the tone was the same, recognizing sarcasm would be so easy. It wouldn’t require much effort because you would have to look out for the same set of signs. But the degree of sarcasm that one uses depends on various factors.
Thankfully, all the factors that impact the level of sarcasm can be broadly categorized as mentioned below:
The inherent nature of the speaker
If the speaker is addicted to using the circle of sarcasm as a verbal form of communication, he or she is likely to spare no effort to make it as bitter as possible. This is also applicable if the person has a short temper or thinks very highly of themselves.
The relationship with the speaker
This is also an important factor that tends to have a deep impact on the degree of sarcasm that the speaker intends to use. For example, if the speaker holds a grudge against the listener, he or she may want to use sarcasm to convey the bitterness and push back the listener. A good example of this situation would be the sarcasm that bosses often use against non-performing employees.
The severity of the matter
This factor is all about the criticism that you want to convey to the listener. For example, the sarcasm that you may direct towards your employee for regularly being late to the office will be very different from the one that you will use for your friend who is late at your party.
The surrounding environment
You need to understand that the tone of sarcasm used in a private gathering is very different from the one used in public. There is a possibility that the sarcasm used in a public gathering may be more hard-hitting considering the larger number of listeners.
Circle of Sarcasm: 5 Key Identification Traits
As mentioned previously, it is often difficult for the listener to identify sarcasm. But there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you identify the sarcasm quotient in a person’s conversation:
1. He or she is not a people’s person
Those who love to use sarcasm as a communication tool are usually never extroverts. Yes! Such people prefer to talk less. And why not? After all, they can have a greater impact with the lesser conversation, that is what sarcasm is all about!
2. They are over-expressive
People who use sarcasm in their daily conversations are often known to be extremely expressive. You may think there is nothing wrong with being expressive. Of course, expressing your emotions is beautiful and people are encouraged to do it. But the ones using sarcasm will be overtly expressive at the most inappropriate times.
3. They can make people laugh very easily
Sarcasm is often a mix of humor and criticism. Therefore, those who master the art of using sarcasm can easily make their friends laugh even in the simplest of scenarios.
4. They are brutally honest
Sarcastic people love to be shamelessly honest. They will not hide facts or feedback, no matter how much it could hurt the listener. The brutal honesty is something they are proud of and display it as their prized virtue.
5. They crack jokes without a filter
A sarcastic person will find it easy to crack jokes / give feedback without any filter. Also, they are the kind of people who will not regret what they say. If there is something they want to say, they will say it, no matter what the listener feels.
Avoid asking a sarcastic person how they feel when they are not in the mood. Because if you do, you are likely to be greeted with a nasty one-liner!
5 Rules When NOT to Use Sarcasm in Business Communication
Sarcastic people may find it challenging to manage their professional lives given their exemplary display wit. Do not worry. It is good to use sarcasm in business communication as well.
All that you need to do is adhere to some basic rules to ensure that your sarcasm is well within the limits. This will add to your communication skills and your overall personality. Here are some basic rules:
1. Avoid sarcasm when meeting leaders
Senior leaders do not appreciate the circle of sarcasm. If you want to tell them something, be upfront and speak-up politely.
2. Do not use sarcasm with external people
If you have a meeting with external clients or vendors, using sarcasm is a bad idea. These people are extremely important to your business and in most cases, you will not have a clue as to how they perceive your sarcasm. Therefore, it is best avoided.
3. Limit your sarcasm with internal teams
No one appreciates repeated sarcasm in a professional environment, not even your internal teams. You can be sarcastic with them, just remember to tone it down a little and keep it playful.
4. No sarcasm in virtual meetings
The impact on a sarcastic comment is a mix of what you say and how you say it. However, when you rely on virtual meetings, you should cut out the sarcasm. This is because there is a high possibility that the sarcastic comment may not be conveyed as you want it to.
5. No sarcasm in mixed company
Irrespective of the type of mix-be it gender, race, caste, color, etc., you must avoid sarcasm in a mixed company.
Why is Sarcasm Good?
A lot of people do not appreciate sarcasm in their daily conversations. They find it hurtful. Interestingly, many people are subjected to sarcasm without even realizing it. Clearly, the story has two extremes. But, sarcasm is not all that bad. According to experts, sarcasm exercises the brain. If you are wondering how to, let us tell you.
For those who like to use sarcasm in their communication, the exercise happens when the brain learns to analyze scenarios and convey the criticism/opinion under the garb of your wit. In fact, according to research, sarcasm is a catalyst of creative thinking.
The brain of the receiver is also exercised. Since sarcasm is not a direct form of communication, the brain has to spend more time to understand the hidden meaning. If this exercise happens regularly, your brain becomes sharper and gradually you end up becoming smarter.
Once you start understanding sarcasm, you will evolve into a more creative person. Your problem-solving skills also improve.
On a Concluding Note
The circle of sarcasm is viscous if you do not know where to restrict yourself. For instance, people love to hear sarcastic comments when others are the victims. However, in the process, the person delivering the comments also gets addicted to using sarcasm. The trick lies in controlling the tone of sarcasm, depending on the situation.
A freelancer by profession, Kavita writes on a variety of topics, mental health being one of her favorites. Fond of traveling, socializing and meeting new people, most of her inspiration for writing comes from real-life scenarios as well as experiences. Her motto in life has always been to look for a reason to smile.