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Sarcasm: Why It Hurts Us

Everyone has someone in their life—possibly a boss, colleague, friend or parent who loves sarcastic, passive aggressive, barbed modes of communication. They love to ‘tease’ and think sarcasm is well-meaning. However, new research says that sarcasm is merely thinly veiled meanness. In fact, a recent study shows that teasers usually believe their words are less hurtful than their victim thinks.

The dictionary defines Sarcasm as: “The use of irony to mock or convey contempt”

Sarcasm is a simply a way of covering contempt or hate. So, why do people adopt sarcasm in the first place?

Sarcasm happens for three reasons:

1) Insecurity

Whenever someone around me adopts a sarcastic tone I immediately try to gauge what they are feeling insecure about. For some, using sarcasm or teasing is a way of avoiding confrontation because they are afraid of asking for what they want.

  • Example: (Mother to Son who wants him to shave before visiting Grandma) “Wow you look like a mountain man with that beard. Your Grandma will barely recognize you.”

2) Latent Anger

Sarcasm can also be passive aggressive or as a way to assert dominance. For someone who is angry or upset, but is too afraid to bring it up will often use sarcasm as a disguised barb.

  • Example: (Wife to Husband after husband forgot to take out the trash) “You would think we are living like lazy trash beetles with the way this kitchen looks!”

3) Social Awkwardness

When people are not good at reading those around them, or are not sure how to carry on a conversation they will often employ sarcasm hoping it sounds playful or affectionate. This is another kind of insecurity, but you will often hear loners at parties or networking events use sarcasm as an attempt to lighten the mood or bond. Unfortunately it tends to have the opposite effect—teasees tend to rate sarcastic incidents as malicious and annoying.

  • Example: (Man at networking event) “This buffet spread is pretty weak, guess it mirrors this company’s portfolio, huh?”

Sarcasm is not only hurtful, it is also the least genuine mode of communication. What can you do if you have someone sarcastic in your life? First, you can try sending them this article or posting it on Facebook and see if they get the hint. If that is a little too direct, next time you are with the teaser, take what I call, the “Genuine Approach”. This is when you take everything they say as a genuine comment without the sarcastic tone.

For example, I was recently with a friend of a friend who constantly makes sarcastic comments—preventing genuine conversation. I employed the “Genuine Approach” here:

Her: “Hey I saw you on CNN the other day.”

Me: “Oh cool.”

Her: [Sarcastic Tone] “Yeah I could barely recognize you with all of that make-up on.”

Me: “Oh wow really? That’s not good at all. Do you think people in the audience didn’t know it was me? Should I email the make-up artists about it?”

At this she became flustered and said something along the lines of, “Well it’s not that I couldn’t recognize you, I mean it was, well, oh never mind.” I continued to do this throughout the night and eventually she started to have real conversation with us and make genuine comments—which we received warmly and with encouragement.

Is sarcasm ever ok? How about teasing? Some lighthearted teasing can be ok, but for the most part we should encourage genuine interaction in our communication and try to get to the heart of the person we are speaking with—what do you think they are trying to cover-up with their sarcasm?


David Dunning, Self-Insight: Road Blocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself: (Kruger, Gordon, Kuban).

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About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a published author and behavioral investigator. She is a Huffington Post columnist and her courses and research has been featured on CNN, Forbes, Business Week and the Wall Street Journal. As a published Penguin author, Vanessa regularly speaks and appears in the media to talk about her research. She is a sought after consultant and speaker.

  • Etty

    The voice of rationltiay! Good to hear from you.

  • Steve

    Theres a lot of things in life that suck, but instead of being negative about it you be sarcastic. Sarcasm is a creative way of giving your opinion, and people who can’t read sarcasm are the ones that lash out to it negatively. Honestly being literal all the time is extremely boring and seeing just how far you can go with someone sarcastically is a real art. I do not get offended by sarcasm but often there are times where I don’t know if someone is being sarcastic so I will ask them “was that sarcasm?”. Not that big of a deal. Instead of making assumptions that a person is hurting inside or you need to change the way they communicate try being sarcastic with them. You may find that you have closed yourself off to an adventurous and boundless avenue of communication. Also, stop being butthurt by sarcasm, it’s not always meant to hurt and more often than not the person who uses it the most should never be taken seriously. Sarcasm is an imaginative and hilariously ridiculous experience for those who can suspend their negative attitudes toward it. Sarcasm is so powerful it can build monumental significance out of thin air, and give meaning to the otherwise meaningless. Stay open minded.

    • Vanessa Van Edwards

      Hi Steve,

      I do think one of my least favorite parts about sarcasm is that I don’t always know when someone is being sarcastic or not and it disrupts the flow of a conversation to say, “Are you being sarcastic?” Ugh the worst. But I understand how it can be used in humor and to build rapport with the right personality types. Thanks for adding!


    • anonymous

      Who in the world are you to tell the author of this article to stop being butthurt and stay open-minded? It sounds to me that you’re hypocritical because there are sarcastic people who are buthurt and closed-minded.

      If you’re sarcastic all the time, you could end up making many enemies.

      Sometimes negativity is important. If you don’t want lots of enemies, then you better lay off sarcasm by being more sensitive and considerate to other people who are different from you.

  • PCV

    can you cite or elaborate on this “new research”?

  • anonymous

    For your information, this gal is right. Sarcasm can hurt people who don’t understand. I mean, you have to know how to be sensitive and apply it. That’s what my dad taught me.

    • Tiffany Sondergeld

      If people don’t understand you’re being sarcastic or think it’s an inappropriate thing to be sarcastic about, it can be hurtful. It also goes back to communication and knowing the people that are hearing your sarcasm. On the receiving end of sarcasm it’s also important to ask for clarification if you don’t understand.

      • anonymous

        You maybe right.

      • Kacie

        I have a friend who is very sarcastic. I did tolerate it as light teasing but her comments got meaner (in my opinion) when she was sarcastic, I asked her what she meant and her reply was even worse and hurtful. I really did not like that. What should I do? I don’t think I can tolerate much longer.

  • Lisa Viger is Raw on $10 a Day

    Well aren’t you brilliant and insightful …

  • Ted Friedli

    Vanessa, can you fill in this following oversight? In the last sentence of the first paragraph you wrote, “In fact, a recent study by shows that teasers usually….”. By who?
    I agree with much of what you’re saying here. I have actually had conversations with many of my friends who use sarcasm, that the use of sarcasm is a sign of deeply hidden pain and a passive aggressive approach to dealing with issues they do not have the confidence to approach head on. Many people who habitually use sarcasm as a prefered method of communication are very defensive about this analogy. Perhaps it is just too much truth for them to handle.

    • Jan Marie Wall

      I agree with Ted Friedli. I believe sarcasm is a sign of a passive aggressive person who has pain and also does not have what it takes to be direct. In one experience I was the recipient of this type of behaviour. I was ridiculed, devalued and mocked with the use of sarcasm and unkindness. When I balked at this toxic behaviour and fled from it, I was told I was ‘too sensitive’ and further ridiculed and devalued. I believe this type of behaviour is the result of jealousy also. When a person cannot deal with whatever makes them jealous about another person, then attack is the easiest and most denigrating form of ‘getting even’ and a way to make the perpetrator feel better. But does it make the perpetrator feel better? I know one thing: Toxic people are not for me! I pride myself in being up front, polite, kind, and as asset to whomever is my friend. I do not want to hurt others and if this seems too pie-in-the-sky and unattainable – well that is how it is!

      • anonymous

        Because of that comment, I place you on my list of this article’s commenters who I respect and like.

    • anonymous

      I agree with you.

  • getmeakitkat .

    I used to have a best friend who was constantly sarcastic. He never smiled but smirked. I put up with it for about ten years. I noticed my self esteem had slowly dipped since knowing him.

    We used to laugh and have a great time sometimes and had a lot in common, but the sarcasm left a bitter after taste. Something in me snapped eventually and I chose the littlest excuse to end my friendship with him. My self esteem and feeling of self worth soared in the following years and I realised my friendship with him was toxic. I avoid making friends with sarcastic people now.

    • anonymous

      I’m glad that you gave up on sarcastic people, whom I loathe as much as you. If anyone’s sarcastic to me in real life, I’d be openly mean to him or her.

    • anonymous

      Just so you know that I don’t loathe you because you and I hate sarcastic people. You see? Anyone who’s against sarcastic people are cool in my book.

    • Mike Indiola

      Pretty much exactly what I go through with someone who is very close to me. My self esteem really has plummeted and she thinks it’s okay to make these types of comments and in fact she’s even proud at her use of sarcasm seeing herself as being witty. If only she knew how much it hurts and how it makes me feel. It’s Like no… saying you’re joking or stating that you’re merely being sarcastic doesn’t make it hurt any less and like this article points out what an ineffective way of communication. It pretty much sets the tone and makes the communication worthless. God I wish I could show her this without starting a war.

  • getmeakitkat .

    Has she struck a nerve or challenged your male ego?

    • anonymous

      I’m certain that I know what you mean by that question.

  • Bea

    Sarcasm does not have to be about or directed at another person. It can be applied to almost any situation. The type of sarcasm you are referring to can indeed be a form of mocking but whether it can be viewed as truly offensive or not entirely depends on the context in which it is spoken as well as the intent. I am not ashamed to admit that I use sarcasm on a daily basis, in fact, if I am opening my mouth, I am probably being sarcastic. Even my thoughts are sarcastic. That does not mean I am incapable of being sensitive and only set out to mock other people. I tend to mock myself more than others, there’s the insecurity you mentioned. . . and there I detect a tiny hint of sarcasm. Did it hurt anyone? I doubt it. So what we have learned? Kids, play nicely! Don’t pick on your friends, and if you do, just be blatant, it saves a lot of trouble!

    • homasapiens

      I want to say that i thought the same way as you, for many years– especially the eighties. I thought– I turn it on myself, my friends don’t mind, they know I would never hurt them, I can be sensitive when it’s appropriate…

      eventually i realised that my self-assessment was completely out of touch with what my friends were seeing, and that I had a repustation for being insensitive, bullying, and egotistic.

      Ask your friends, is my advice. But– if you’ve beendoing this for a longtime, be aware that you might not get an honest reaction for a while. You may have taught them not to trust you.

      • helena

        Hi…you hit it on the head! Using sarcasam teaches people not to trust you. Thats why its so damaging.

        • anonymous

          Right you are.

      • anonymous

        I’m glad that you changed.

  • Amanda Daley

    I agree with the main idea in this article – that sarcasm comes from insecurity, anger, social awkwardness, and that it can be hurtful to people. But, I don’t agree with the examples you used to illustrate sarcasm. Saying someone looks like a mountain man when they have a lot of facial hair, or that someone looks so different with lots of makeup on you’d hardly recognize them, seem like direct and sincere statements. They are slight exaggerations, but exaggerations of a sincere sentiment. On the other hand, sarcasm is insincere compliments, when you mean the exact opposite, couched in an exaggerated tone because vocal inflection upon delivery is key to making it understood that it is sarcasm. Example: After son fails at a task, father says to son “You REALLY hit the ball out of the park on that one, son.”

    • anonymous

      Thank you for agreeing with this anti-sarcasm article like I do.

  • Jack

    “What a great article”

    • Danielle McRae

      Hi Jack, thanks! Hopefully, that’s not sarcasm ;) -Danielle and the Science of People Team

    • anonymous

      Since I’m guessing that’s sarcastic, I don’t think that you should be commenting on tihs article because it’s against sarcasm.

  • Mary Koepke Fields

    are you being sarcastic?

    • anonymous

      If he is, then he shouldn’t be on here at all.

  • Apple Seed

    Every can be a little sarcastic sometimes, it’s good to be a balanced individual. But there are a few people who are overly sarcastic with sarcasm as their only means of communication, and that’s not only
    annoying, which hampers good conversation but also hurtful which in turn affects the relationship.

    I once had a friend who was sarcastic all the time, and she was proud of it. Whenever I talked to her it left a bad taste in my mouth, and it’s hard to trust her now.

    Now I see (overly) sarcastic people as insecure wimps who can’t say genuine things and mean it, instead they hide behind the veil of sarcasm and say they are just being funny. Pathetic.

    • anonymous

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • guest

      Sounds exactly like my best friend :/ im seriously thinking of letting go because instead of being funny I felt worst after meeting up with her. It’s very disappointing cause while she has always been like that, it became too much it felt so hard to keep up a convo with her. Everything I say is returned with something sarcastic, disrespectful and offensive. I don’t even feel like talking to her anymore. I just hope she gets out of that habit real soon or I have to let her go :(

      • Apple Seed

        I thought the same, but then I decided not to take crap from anyone, not even “close” friends because it sends out the message that it’s alright to treat you bad and ultimately lowers one’s (self)worth. So I dropped her. Maybe talk to her and let her know what you feel, if she doesn’t change her behavior – move on.

        • anonymous

          I’m glad that you made a sensible choice.

    • objkshn

      Bears repeating:

      “Now I see (overly) sarcastic people as insecure wimps who can’t say genuine things and mean it, instead they hide behind the veil of sarcasm and say they are just being funny. Pathetic.”

  • Jan Marie Wall

    I agree with Ms. Edwards. Her experience with the person who made the ‘makeup’ comment was not meant to be helpful or kind in any way. It was a direct snipe at her. I feel that the way she came back with her comment about contacting the make-up artist was brilliant!!! Comments like this are not meant to make the recipient feel better or good about herself. They are meant as a low-ball snipe and probably out of jealousy. Why not say, “I saw you on CNN and enjoyed what you had to say” for example. Or………..if the sarcastic person has nothing good to say, then say nothing whatsoever. It goes back to basics and the Golden Rule!

    • Eric

      The origins of Sarcasm are ‘a tearing of the flesh.’ It is employed by insecure people who hide behind it.

      • anonymous

        Very true.

      • anonymous

        You bet that it does.

    • anonymous

      Well posted, my fellow sarcasm hater.

  • Caroline

    I really like this article. I did a search on “husbands who use sarcasm”. It feels so lonely sometimes as if there is a lack of communication. There is no real bonding because the moments and decent conversations are cut off and spun into mindless banter. No one is suggesting to remove humor or sarcasm completely; this is more for people who continuously do this as their whole convo routine. Here is an example of today…(I have a business and was thinking to change the name after moving to a new location).

    me “Im changing the name of the store so get ready”

    him “Get ready to hear a stupid name you mean?”

    me “I won’t try to have a conversation with you anymore. ”

    him “I was just joking geez calm down”

    Things like this consistently all day is very draining. It leads to absolutely no substance at all. Ten years later, I am going to try out the method suggested. It sounds brilliant.

    • Danielle McRae

      Hi Caroline, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. Sarcasm is incredibly destructive, especially when it is used as the primary mode of communication. We truly hope our suggestions will help improve communication in your marriage. Don’t give up! -Danielle and the Science of People Team

  • Taylor

    This is an extremely closed minded argument that blatantly forces her perspective on the reader. Very poorly written article that is conveyed with the undertones of a personal grievance rather than reasonable argument.

    • anonymous

      You’re such a liar. If you don’t like this article, don’t comment on it.

  • KingreX32

    I love people who can respond to sarcasm with sarcasm. They are the best kind. I hate overly sensitive people. They are the worst kind.
    I knew an overly sensitive person when I was younger. he would cry for everything. I hated her. Could never take a joke. Uuggh.

    • anonymous

      FYI, sensitivity is important. If you go around being sarcastic all the time, you could make many enemies with them.

    • Ian Foote

      What about people who respond to sarcasm with a closed fist? I’m a busy man, and passive aggressive confrontations take forever… I much prefer to escalate things to violence quickly so the issue can be swiftly resolved and I can get back to what I was doing before I had the misfortune to bump into a shithead like yourself.

      • KingreX32

        So I guess your in the Latent Anger phase then?

        I guess I would just avoid violent dickheads like you.

        • Ian Foote

          Good idea. Because, I don’t choke my anger down when people mistreat me and poke them when I feel safe. I force them to either treat me properly, be destroyed by me, or destroy me. Most passive aggressive types choose to hide, just like you. And, I like it that way.

          • KingreX32

            You seem like one of those losers who get off on starting fights with random strangers on the internet. So im going to be the bigger man here and employ a tactic I like use when my dog is abit too excited or my little brother is throwing a temper tantrum (terrible twos its nuts), im just going to ignore you and perhaps you will go away.

            Or go into the corner and suck on your pacifier, or whatever you do. Dont care.

          • Ian Foote

            “I’m just going to ignore you” the child responded…

          • Fishbeans

            Raar! I’m Ian Foote and I threaten people on the internet, because making threats you know you can’t possibly be called on is the bravest thing you can do!

            Honor! Respect!


          • anonymous

            Big talk for someone who thinks that he’s all that.

          • Fishbeans

            You’ll need to contribute something more substantive to the discussion if you want me to take you seriously.

          • Fishbeans

            Do you know what the funniest part of all your blustery posturing is? The fact that it is abundantly obvious to everyone that you’re taking advantage of the fact that there is no way you’ll ever have to make good on your threats. None whatsoever. This is a well known property of threats made over the internet, something cowards like you have been taking advantage of since it’s been around.

            You can scream about how manly and scary you are all you want, it changes nothing. Your threats are insipid and hollow and mean exactly as much as the average 11 year old pretending to be a Navy SEAL. You’re a garden variety coward, a stereotypical internet tough guy. You’re not even interesting, just loud and stupid.

            If you’re really so goddamn tough, go join a gym and learn to box like a real man and stop pretending you’re going to hurt people over the internet. It’s pathetic.

            You are pathetic.

          • Ian Foote

            Nah… I think Wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ and Capoeira are sufficient for now. I won 4 provincial gold medals on the mat, I have nothing left to prove.

            How about you? You ever going to do anything but spin bullshit stories about people you disagree with?

          • anonymous

            I’m with you.

          • Ian Foote

            Thank you.

          • Fishbeans

            Congratulations, Innie! You finally found somebody just as bugnuts crazy as you!

            Are you two going to have a little coward’s party where you brag to each other about all the people you’ve threatened but never followed through on? How about all the times you bragged about not being anonymous while simultaneously shielding your offline life from your online actions? Maybe you’ll go to the gym and win some provincial gold medals?

            By the way, neither of you have refuted anything I’ve said. So you’re still a lying coward and everyone still knows it. Now there are just two of you.

            You know what you need to do to crawl out of your cowardly little hole, like a real man would. But you’re not a real man, just a cowardly little weasel, so keep on hiding.

            We all know you will, coward.

          • Ian Foote

            And, this is why Charlie Hebdo deserved to die.

          • Fishbeans

            Why? Because if we don’t murder people into silence, then people will *gasp* insult each other? The horror! It’s much better to commit mass murder than to expect people to be able to handle being mocked.


          • Ian Foote

            I’m still going to kill you.

          • Fishbeans

            Good luck, coward.

          • Fishbeans

            I also just wanted to point out that I could actually get you into a fair amount of legal trouble for this sort of thing. You’ve attempted to get my personal information repeatedly for the express purpose of doing me harm. “But he said hurty things at me” isn’t exactly sound legal justification.

            You’ve also repeatedly and explicitly offered support to terrorists, something law enforcement in both our countries frowns upon. This combined with explicit death threats would probably be enough for me to get the police to pay you a highly inconvenient visit.

            I just wanted to point out how little power you have, and how much I have. Not only have I boiled your blood with the power of my mind, I could at any time I want, head on over to Vancouver’s online crime reporting page (convenient guys, thanks) and report you. Did you know that Canada doesn’t have nearly as strong of protections on free speech as America does? So while everything I said was perfectly legal (you bet your cowardly ass it’s legal to call you a coward with micropenis), the same is most assuredly not true of what you have said.

            Isn’t that funny? I think it is.

          • Ian Foote

            Yes. That’s true.

            So, you go down to the courthouse, identify yourself, and fill out the paperwork.

            Then, I will know who you are, and I will come kill you.

          • Fishbeans

            My plan is thwarted! You are too smart for me! Alas, anonymous crime reporting is impossible, and I don’t currently have a tab open to an anonymous online crime reporting tool for the city of Vancouver, BC.

            My hat’s off to you, Innie. I underestimated you.

            Christ you’re stupid.

          • Ian Foote

            Please, do go ahead. That is why I threatened you in the first place.

          • Fishbeans

            …you threatened me so I would produce inconvenient consequences to you without any consequences to myself whatsoever?

            Not a great plan, Innie. I think you’re confused again. Have you been taking your pills?

          • Ian Foote

            No, I threatened, first, so that you would act, creating a trail of evidence that I can follow to track you down, and second, because it’s not good enough to just quietly kill you, or to kill you and then claim afterwards that I did it. I am proclaiming publicly my intention to find you and kill you, and when I achieve this, I will make the world aware that I did it, and defy them to come for me.

            I am not interested in just killing you. I am going to make a lesson out of you.

          • Fishbeans

            “No, I threatened, first, so that you would act, creating a trail of evidence that I can follow to track you down”

            Oh, sure, sure.

            You see, the problem with this is that you started throwing around threats literally immediately. I wasn’t even the first person you threatened. So saying you did it as part of some master plan (lmfao, seriously, a master plan from YOU?) is just more of your obvious lies. There are no depths to which you won’t sink, are there? You are completely and totally lacking any honor whatsoever.

            And if I grant you this “plan”, then you’re still a moron. What have you learned? That I’m smarter than you? Braver than you? More respected than you?

            How about my name? What’s my name, Innie? Have a picture? Address? Of course not, because you’re a fucking twat and this “plan” is just a diversion from how completely and totally I have owned you again and again.

            ” I am proclaiming publicly my intention to find you and kill you, and
            when I achieve this, I will make the world aware that I did it, and defy
            them to come for me.”

            That’s adorable. Tell me, in this fantasy world of yours, how do you avoid spending the rest of your life in prison for murder? Do you tell the police that the big mean Fishbeans said hurty things, and then they pat you on the back for making the world less sarcastic and more violent, and thus better?

            “I am not interested in just killing you. I am going to make a lesson out of you.”

            Ahh, hollow internet threats. The moronic coward’s best friend. Somebody laugh at you for threatening them on the internet? Just threaten them over the internet! It’s bound to work better this time than it did all those other times.

            Huff and puff all you want, Innie. My house is made of brick and I am completely unafraid of half brained wolves who think they’re going to blow it down.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting for the cops to show up.

          • Fishbeans

            So we’re just going to drop the whole master plan thing, then? Christ, Innie, you lie so very, very badly. I can see why you crow so loudly about honor. It’s because you have none, you’re too worthless to earn it, so you just scream and shout and flail in the hopes that people will be too busy not interacting with you to notice how cowardly you behave.

            And by the way, I said the police was an option. You think I’m going to give something like that up immediately? Please, the statute of limitations is YEARS on stuff like this. If I’m going to do it, it’s going to catch you by surprise, dumbshit. But really, right now I just like you knowing that I have that power over you. You scream and shout about the power you wish you had, while I sit calmly with the knowledge of my own superior position.

            I hold all the cards, I have all the power. You’re just some idiot with a chip on his shoulder and too much to prove. What, were you not manly enough for daddy? Got a complex about it now? Christ, you’re positively pedestrian.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting for the cops to show up.

          • Fishbeans

            Translation: “I have nothing of value to say, but I can’t let Fishbeans have the last word, so I’ll be obtuse and repeat what I last said. I’ll probably do the same thing again, because I have a defective brain.”

            What’s next, Innie. Schoolyard jeers? At this point you have to know that you are intellectually overmatched and that your positions are literally indefensible. Why do you persist? Are you a Dunning Kruger case?

          • Ian Foote

            I’ve been forthright and spoken plainly. You’re still hiding behind a cartoon picture and spending all your time speculating about me instead of saying anything of substance.

            You would like to play mind games and paint me as a braggart, but people do have the capacity to read, and they can clearly see that I do nothing but correct your false statements, I do not attempt to puff myself up.

            In all this time, you have made one single solitary concrete statement, and you have failed to live up to that statement.

            Frankly, I’m disappointed. For a moment there, I thought you might actually do it.

          • Fishbeans

            “I’ve been forthright and spoken plainly.”

            Like when you lied and said you first threatened me to find my location, something you would have no reason to do if this were true. It’s also not supported by the facts.

            Try again.

            “You’re still hiding behind a cartoon picture”

            Your refusal to acknowledge that my anonymity is required as per my employment contract doesn’t change the fact that it is. I’m hiding behind nothing, I’m fulfiling contractual obligations.

            Furthermore, as I have explained over and over again (and which you have failed to acknowledge even a single time) you are the one hiding, refusing over and over again to allow your online actions to come into contact with your offline life.

            Try again.

            “spending all your time speculating about me instead of saying anything of substance.”

            If you want to claim my words are false or have no substance, then you need to respond to them. So far you haven’t even attempted to, you just pivot from hollow threat to shitty lie and back to hollow threat.

            Try again.

            “You would like to play mind games and paint me as a braggart”

            Mind games? What mind games? Are you so simple that you think being mocked is a mind game? Jesus, Innie.

            And I called you a braggart for bragging about your three provincial gold medals from the mat. That’s bragging, thus you’re a braggart.

            Try again.

            “people do have the capacity to read, and they can clearly see that I do nothing but correct your false statements”

            Yeah, clearly you have the high ground here, that’s why you had such great luck with this argument in the Charlie Hebdo thread. Because people agree with you so much. Delusional twat.

            Try again.

            “I do not attempt to puff myself up.”

            Says the guy who claimed people are afraid to look at you. Says the guy who repeatedly threatens violence. Says the guy who immediately bragged about having three provincial gold medals the second the word “gym” came up. Literally all you do is try to puff yourself up.

            Try again.

            “Frankly, I’m disappointed. For a moment there, I thought you might actually do it.”

            I am not nine, Innie. Your feeble attempts to manipulate me are, and I fear I’m overusing this word, pathetic.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting for the cops.

          • Fishbeans

            Translation: “I have nothing of value to say, but I can’t let Fishbeans
            have the last word, so I’ll be obtuse and repeat what I last said. I’ll
            probably do the same thing again, because I have a defective brain.”

            Called it. Defective brain.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting for the cops. You said you were going to call them, that you had the page open on the next tab. It’s the only concrete statement you ever made, and it was apparently bullshit.

            When you are harassing me a week from now, I will remind you that I’m still waiting for the cops.

            When you are harassing me a month from now, I will remind you that I’m still waiting for the cops.

            And, when I find out where you are at some indeterminate time in the future, I will get on a plane and come visit you personally.

          • Fishbeans

            “You said you were going to call them, that you had the page open on the next tab. It’s the only concrete statement you ever made, and it was apparently bullshit.”


            You know people are free to read what I wrote, right? It’s on this fucking page, Innie. Why don’t you go back and read what I actually wrote. Because what I said is that I COULD do it, and that I had the tab open.

            Both those statements are true, moron. I looked up the page to see if I could do it online or if I’d have to call in.

            Your stupidity is truly staggering. I mean, holy shit, dude. You really thought you had me here, didn’t you? Christ you’re a dimwit. Sorry, a COWARDLY dimwit.

            “When you are harassing me a week from now, I will remind you that I’m still waiting for the cops.

            When you are harassing me a month from now, I will remind you that I’m still waiting for the cops.”

            You may want to check into a remedial reading course. Because I clearly said my window of opportunity on this was years. I’m pretty sure I even used all caps.

            Also, mocking somebody for stupid shit they say in a public forum isn’t harassment. Making death threats is, though. Just thought you’d like to know that, because you seem to know nothing about anything. Do you even know what a book is?

            “And, when I find out where you are at some indeterminate time in the future, I will get on a plane and come visit you personally.”

            Good luck, shit for brains.

            You’re too fucking stupid to mount even a feeble defense of your words, but somehow you’re going to turn into Sherlock Fucking Holmes and dox me? Seriously, I want to know. How do you think you’re going to find my identity? Because fantasizing about something that’s never going to happen is fucking sad, dude. Do you even have a halfwit plan in store, or are you just jerking off to make yourself feel better? Because people who have a chance on following through with their words tend to have some kind of idea on how to do it.

            What is it we call people who make threats that will never be carried out? That’s right, cowards.

            You’re a fucking coward, and continuing to make your coward threats just makes you that much more of a coward.

            I’m happy to point out your moronic lies and inconsistencies all day long, Innie. Feel feel free to walk away any time you like. Anyone with half a brain would.

            But you don’t have half a brain, do you? Not even that much.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting.

          • Fishbeans

            Maybe if you post that a fifth time it will work.

            What is it that Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Was it that the people who did that were very smart?

            I don’t recall, Innie. Can you help me with that one?

          • Ian Foote

            Sure. Here’s your help:

            I am offering a reward of $500 in cash for whoever identifies Fishbeans.

            Message me on FB if you want the money.

          • Fishbeans

            Nice. We’ve just crossed the line into conspiracy to commit murder! Congratulations, Innie, it’s a felony!

          • Fishbeans

            Also, is that $500 USD or CAD? Interested parties need to know!

          • Fishbeans

            So, I looked it up, and it turns out, when I decide to report you, I don’t call the Vancouver police, but the US police, and the laws which apply are US laws. Which is great for me, because the US police force really loves chasing down “terroristic threats” these days. Hell, I think they probably do it without even being asked.

            Did you know that conspiracy to commit murder is something they extradite for? Did you know that the maximum sentence is life? I’m not sure your statements in support of avowed terrorists would do you a lot of favors in sentencing, either.

            I’m being deadly serious here, Innie. You’ve crossed a serious line, and the repercussions for you might be very sudden and very severe.

          • Ian Foote

            Hey, there’s a knock at the door!

            Oh, wait, there isn’t.

            You wanna be a celebrity?

          • Fishbeans


            You really did say the same dumbass thing for a fifth time. Holy shit, you did.

            Here’s a tip, when somebody says they may do something at some point in the next few years, making a huge deal about how it hasn’t been done within an hour just shows off how stupid you are. The average six year old would understand the logical failure you’ve made here.

            Please, continue. Show us all how spectacularly one can fail. Because before this, I didn’t think anyone could fail this hard at anything.

          • Ian Foote

            I’m still waiting…

          • Ian Foote

            You’re losing this little battle for hearts and minds, you know that, right?

            The more you try to break me down, the more you focus peoples attention on me, the more human I become, the more powerful my voice becomes.

          • Fishbeans

            “You’re losing this little battle for hearts and minds, you know that, right?”

            Evidence? Oh, that one anonymous person who said they were with you? How many dozen people were with me in the Charlie Hebdo thread? You’re still losing, and badly. For all we know it was just a sock puppet.

            And like I said, you’ve still completely and totally failed to actually refute anything I’ve said. Nothing has changed. You might want to ask Charlie Sheen about what happens when you declare yourself the winner while the world is laughing at you. Turns out we just laugh harder.

            “The more you try to break me down, the more you focus peoples attention
            on me, the more human I become, the more powerful my voice becomes.”

            Now this is just rich. You think your reprehensible ideas are becoming more palatable because I’m heaping scorn on them? Christ, what the fuck is wrong with your brain? I’m serious, your reasoning is so fucked up that I’m genuinely concerned that I may be picking on somebody who’s mentally handicapped, and not just the world’s biggest cowardly twat.

            Your voice means fuck all, and me mocking you changes nothing. Your ideas are still obvious garbage. If they weren’t, you’d be able to defend them without resorting to shouting about how big and mean and scary you and your provincial gold medals are. Immediately resorting to violence just underscores how worthless you and your thoughts are.

            But keep telling yourself that me mocking you somehow makes you look less stupid. Because that’s just fucking hilarious.

          • Fishbeans

            “Nah… I think Wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ and Capoeira are sufficient for
            now. I won 4 provincial gold medals on the mat, I have nothing left to

            Sure, sure. And you once parachuted into Nicaragua and killed forty men with a toothpick for suggesting that you weren’t as manly as some other fellow.

            “How about you? You ever going to do anything but spin bullshit stories about people you disagree with?”

            One of these days you’ll figure out that you’re the only one who cares about boasting on the internet. Even if what you’re saying is true (and it’s not), you look like a liar.

            Let’s see how long it takes you to come back and issue more idle threats, brag more about things that can’t be verified and challenge me to do the same, labeling my refusal to act like a twat as a dearth of manliness.

          • Ian Foote

            If the audience ignores the fact that I called you out, and the only barrier preventing me from making good on my threats is that you’re still hiding your identity as you stalk me from forum to forum, perhaps they’ll accept that interpretation.

          • Fishbeans

            “the only
            barrier preventing me from making good on my threats”

            Is that this is the Internet, a medium that everybody in the world knows threats mean nothing in? Nothing you say changes this. None of your threats ever have meaning. None of them will ever be followed through on.

            Do you know what I call a person who makes threats they know they can’t be called on? A coward.

            “is that you’re
            still hiding your identity”

            Says the guy who repeatedly refuses to breach the wall between his online and offline lives. I don’t need to post my identity, because I haven’t been screaming about how manly I am for not hiding.

            As I’ve said numerous times, I’m actually required by a contract not to reveal my identity, so doing so to please some random idiot on the internet would be a highly dishonorable thing to do.

            You, on the other hand, have no such requirements, and have been making no end to noise about how not anonymous you are. So put your money where your fucking yellow, cowardly mouth is or shut the fuck up.

            If you want to make this argument and NOT be an enormous hypocrite (and by extension, sniveling coward), you need to post:

            Your full name (Last, MI, First)
            Your full address
            Your full phone number

            Your employer’s name (or admit to not having one)
            Your employer’s address
            Your direct supervisor’s contact information

            Prove how brave you are. Prove that you don’t care if your online and offline lives meet.

            Not that you will. You have shown your cowardice countless times before. I doubt you even have the balls to respond, you’ll probably just pretend I said nothing, tuck your cowardly tail between your cowardly legs and slink off. Or make more dumbass threats.

            “as you stalk me from forum to forum”

            Lol, that’s cute. It’s totally impossible that I just happened across your post and decided to poke at the idiot tilting at windmills. I mean, that’s never happened before, has it? Or is it your opinion that I was stalking you before I met you?

            they’ll accept that interpretation.”

            That seems hopelessly optimistic on your part, given that you have received literally universal scorn when you profess these views. But my expecting you to take reality into account seems to have been a mistake.

            Why don’t you scream about manliness and anonymity some more, and how you’re not really terrified to reveal your online activities to your real life, you’re just hiding out of concern for the people I might email once or twice?

            It’s funny how easy it is to upset you. I’m guessing it’s because deep down you know just how much of a coward you are, and don’t like being reminded of it. You hide from your cowardice by making internet threats, failing to realize that internet threats are the single strongest indicator of being a coward.

            Why don’t you go make your idle threats to a wall instead? It would have precisely the same effect, and the wall would be precisely as scared as I am, but you could do it in private and nobody would make fun of you for it.

          • Ian Foote

            Oh, my phone beeped! Was it a ‘facebook’ beep? No… must be work. No, nothing there. Oh, must be an ‘online stalker’ beep! Yep! It was!

            Go fuck yourself, you little twerp.

          • Fishbeans

            Yep, I was right.

            “I doubt you even have the balls to respond, you’ll probably just pretend I said nothing, tuck your cowardly tail between your cowardly legs and slink off.”

            Enjoy slinking off with your cowardly tail tucked between your cowardly legs.

          • anonymous

            Look who’s talking.

          • anonymous

            I think that I know what you mean.

          • anonymous

            I bet that you’re a coward deep down inside.

        • anonymous

          How ironic that you called him a dickhead when you came off as being one yourself. Seriously, you have no swearing at people but don’t seem to take kindly violence. How hypocritical of you.

      • anonymous

        You sort of remind me of myself.

  • dpu8715

    Although I agree with this author, proof reading needs to be done on that first paragraph in order for readers to trust her….

  • Cathy Gager

    sarcasm to deflate a tense situation is a much better option than a humorless, waayyy too serious approach to life. i’m against personal mocking and deflation – but if two people were facing a crucifixion, i would think the one commenting on the length of the nails would be nicer to listen to rather than the one wailing about their ultimate demise. obviously no one here likes ‘Brian’s Song’ humor.

    • anonymous

      How can you be against mocking and deflation when you claimed that sarcasm’s a better way to deflate a situation? Sarcastic people seem to mock others.

      If you ask me, I like humorless and way too serious approaches to life, especially since to many people use humor as an excuse to antagonize in this day and age.

  • John D’Isselt


    • anonymous

      I’m pleased that you feel that way just as I do.

  • hayden

    there was this boy, phoenix I really liked. he started to get a hint that I liked him and he started kinda keeping space between us. we’ve known eachother for quite a bit. he got switched out of the one class I had with him and we hardly ever saw eachother. only in the quartyard when he constantly looked over at me. my friends told me to stop looking at him, talking to him, getting near him ect, I guess it worked. my dad and I went to home depot one day to get paint for a paint job he had gotten. he was there, looking at the Christmas tree. I hid behind a Christmas tree until my dad told me we were going to look at the lights display which sadly happened to be right next to where he was standing. we went over there, I didn’t even look at him as we walked past and then later he was in the checkout line right next to us and my father said he was staring at me the whole time. i’m thinking I did the wrong thing as I was acting like he wasn’t there or like he was dead when I knew he was right next to me. now he’s acting like a jerk, I think I made the problem worse by ignoring him completely because he feels being my enemy is better because at least i’ll know he’s there. all I wanted was to be his girlfriend and now he has other ideas much worse

  • objkshn

    How ironic. First two sentences are sarcastic, thinly veiling the hatred he espouses toward the author for reporting on a study. Yet the smiley face at the end would belie otherwise. Sarcasm doesn’t equal hate but contempt and not sure there’s much of a distinction to be made between the two for this purpose.

    Sarcasm would appear to be appropriate when making arguments against a belief system you are obviously contemptuous about. I use considerable sarcasm in my tweets against political platforms I oppose. But sarcasm as a primary communicative device between more intimate partners and without counter balance can be draining and depleting and certainly not offer much affirmation for remaining in such a state for long. Sarcasm is used to “lighten” mean comments the other wishes to say. How about just not saying anything? Is it very important to be mean, even if it is “mean-light”? And if you are openly contemptuous to those in your company, why persist? Find someone else for whom you do not espouse such contempt. But then, that defeats the purpose, does it not. Those who view themselves as the sarcastically minded are very protective of their ability to mask their meanness to others in this literary device. As a free speech advocate, they should be, but I do not have to tolerate their presence for long.

    • anonymous

      Can’t you make up your mind?

  • Another Opinion

    This article is simply an opinion, not objective fact. I for one, love sarcasm. Love using it and love responding to it in conversation. It makes dull everyday interactions more fun and interesting.

    • anonymous

      What a liar you are. Would you someone using sarcasm at you if you’re in a really serious situation?

  • Pingback: Humour sarcastique : entre le droit et l'éthique - Thinking outside the box()

  • Wayne szczepanek

    My husband is sarcastic and it hurts me sometimes I get really mad and I let him have is it to much work to answer a question?

  • Drew Broz

    Like all human interactions, sarcasm has good uses and bad uses. Jokes can be really funny and heartwarming, but if they are racist jokes, or insulting jokes, it could hurt someone’s self esteem pretty badly. Now does that mean all jokes are bad? Of course not

    The same applies to sarcasm. Let me give you an example of good sarcasm. As we all know, there are a good proportion of Muslims (not all of them) who believe that apostasy (leaving the Muslim faith) is punishable by death. Now obviously, if you came out and said straightforward “that’s wrong because of this and that and ect.”, you would be met with backlash. Sarcasm though, has the ability to make people think you’re agreeing with them, but subconsciously, they realize that what you’re saying is ridiculous, but it’s true. example:

    “guys, the Muslim faith is all about peace and love. It’s about submitting yourself to god entirely so that you may become a better human being. But if you try to leave our religion, we’ll cut your head off. So please be thoughtful of our religion”

    Now an extremist Muslim reading this sees the ridiculousness of stating in the same paragraph that your religion is about peace and love, and then saying that you will cut people’s heads off. But since you’re not coming right out against the religion, it isn’t made clear who’s side you are on. So since they can’t logically assume that you are, or aren’t a Muslim, they start to wonder if the realization of the ridiculousness of your statement is stemming from the fact that you are making fun of their religion (which in that case, they would just disregard everything you say), or if it’s because killing people for leaving the Muslim faith itself is flawed and ridiculous.

    So you see, because you used sarcasm to prove a point, without giving away which side you’re on, you effectively get rid of any bias in the situation, and force people to consider if you are being sarcastic, or if the realization of the ridiculousness of the statement is because the idea of apostasy being punishable by death is ridiculous.

  • mora

    I told my husband that a tv show was on and he said whoopie bloody doo, why did he say this?

  • Yue

    Oh the irony. The author wrote an article about sarcasm without even understanding what it is. I’m not sure if I find it more funny or sad.
    She wrote some examples about what she thinks are sarcastic comments and here’s one of them:
    ” (Man at networking event) “This buffet spread is pretty weak, guess it mirrors this company’s portfolio, huh?” ”
    This is NOT sarcasm. Here’s how a sarcastic comment would sound like:
    ” Oh my god, this is the most generous buffet table I’ve ever seen. The tap water and crackers taste like heaven.”
    Sarcasm is saying one thing and meaning the exact opposite. Usually sarcastic comments are exaggerated or said in a tone that don’t suit the literal meaning of the words that are being said. Another example of sarcasm would be when saying “interesting, tell me more” with a monotonious voice and bored expression when someone says something you really couldn’t care less about.

    I’ve never seen sarcasm as a bad thing, quite the opposite. Sure, it can be used to hurt someone but usually it’s just a harmless and entertaining form of humour and wit. It’s true that it’s not appropriate in every situation and that too much sarcasm can get annoying but that goes for almost everything. Seems like the only people who really have a problem with sarcasm are people who mistake it as just being mean.

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