Table of Contents

  1. How to Stop Sarcasm:

What is sarcasm?

Sarcasm: “The use of irony to mock or convey contempt.”

Here are some sarcasm examples:

  • That mustard stain really compliments your blonde hair.
  • Just great! (When someone runs into you)
  • Love this weather. (When the weather is actually horrible)
  • Oh, he’s the best. (Talking about someone who actually annoys you.)

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.

I believe 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.

Sarcasm Example: (Mother to Son who wants him to shave before visiting Grandma) “Wow Grandma always did love that mountain man look.”

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.

Sarcasm Example: (Wife to Husband after husband forgot to take out the trash) “Gosh! I love when our house looks and smells so clean.”

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 looks great, guess it mirrors this company’s portfolio, huh?”

Sarcasm is not only hurtful, it is also the least genuine mode of communication.

How to Stop Sarcasm:

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.

And it’s not that difficult to make great conversation, either—IF you know what to do. That’s why we created the ultimate course on enriching further your self-improvement skills. Grab it here:

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Do you struggle with small talk? Do you often run out of things to say or feel awkward and self-conscious in social situations? Our Conversation Mastery Course teaches you the secrets of master conversationalists and gives you the skills you need to have confident, engaging, and captivating conversations with anyone, anywhere.

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?

Read more:

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

361 replies on “Sarcasm: What It Is and Why It Hurts Us”

  1. Frank Drebin


    This is textbook passive-aggressive behavior. If the sarcasm hurt, be direct. Tell the person that it hurt, and why. Do it immediately.

    Earlier in your article: “For some, using sarcasm or teasing is a way of avoiding confrontation because they are afraid of asking for what they want.”

    1. Frank Drebin

      Quote was removed from comment above:

      “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?”

  2. Michael G.

    Interesting opinion, but there are a few more reasons that should be added to this list, that aren’t covered in the original article.

    One “rule of the internet”, that many people seem to be unaware of, as they break it on a regular basis: Sarcasm doesn’t work on the internet.

    Let me say that again: Sarcasm. Doesn’t. Work. On. The. Internet.

    It’s true, it doesn’t. This is basic, rudimentary Internet 101 here people, so I suggest you become intimate with it. You might sound like less of an idiot if you do.

    The only time sarcasm works as intended if ONLY if:
    1. You know the person you’re taking to extremely well, and have a grasp on how they talk in general.

    2. The “sarcasm” is conveyed over a “media rich” communication medium. “Media richness” refers to how much information, the accuracy of said information, and detail, can be communicated in real time.

    Communication media where you cannot see the other person, and cannot hear their voice, voice intonations, etc. is what’s called a “media poor” communication medium. An example of this would be email. Email is a very media-poor communication medium, and requires articulate detail, if you want the receiver to understand the contents of it the way you do. For example, in an email, you’ll have to “preemptively clarify”, by giving lots of examples, analogies, and choosing words carefully that the other person may not understand, or could be misconstrued easily. Thus, for a media-poor communication medium, such as email, knowing your audience is important; the receiver can read your email, but they can’t ask you for immediate clarification or feedback for what you meant, the way they can in a face to face situation.

    Face to face communication if the most media-rich communication medium, as you’re in physical proximity with the individual, can see them, hear their voice and voice intonations, see their facial expressions, etc.

    To get a better idea, here is a list of communication media, or methods, ranked from media-rich to media-poor.

    –> Face to face (hear voice, voice intonations, see face and facial expressions, close proximity, quick feedback)
    –> Video chat (hear voice, voice intonations, see face and facial expressions, far apart, quick feedback)
    –> Telephone or radio (hear voice and voice intonations only, far apart, quick feedback)
    –> Text chat (cannot hear or see the person, far apart, quick feedback)
    –> Email (cannot hear or see the person, far apart, slow feedback)
    –> Comment sections, forum posts, or message board entries (cannot hear or see the person, far apart, slow feedback)
    –> Morse code (cannot hear or see the person, message is encrypted as “dits” and “dahs”, far apart, slow feedback)
    –> Letter mail (cannot hear or see the person, far apart, feedback speed depends on shipping speed, geographical location, courier policies)

    I put Morse code in there because one of my hobbies is cryptography. (I’m well aware that Morse code isn’t a common communication method, so you don’t need to reply to this for the sole purpose of telling me that, or anything to that effect.)

    The truth is, the internet, for most large part, is a very media-poor communication medium, and thus “sarcasm”, which is mostly backpedaling (see below) by the time it hits the internet, doesn’t work.

    Now, that we know what “media richness” and “media poverty” is of various communication media, and that Sarcasm. Doesn’t. Work. On. The. Internet., let’s look at some more reasons why “sarcasm” happens, that aren’t covered in the original article.

    4. Poor articulation skills.

    Yes, that’s right. Some (most?) people are just absolutely brutal at communication. The ability to communicate ideas clearly and succinctly, simply does not come naturally to these people. This doesn’t necessarily imply that these people are disabled in any way, but rather, they have a limited vocabulary, and thus, appear to not have anything intelligent to say.

    Somebody who has exceptional speaking and writing skills would not need to resort to “sarcasm”, as they would simply write and speak how they feel, if they want to get their point across. Using ambiguous language, words with several possible meanings and ways to interpret them, and the like, is simply incompatible with and antithetical to, effective communication.

    The harsh truth is, it’s not the English majors writing comments on public forum sites, which ANYONE can use, mind you, such as Reddit; it’s random people on the internet with varying levels of communication skills, and if we’re being brutally honest, most of which would probably fail an English class.

    When many people on the internet can’t even use the correct forms of your/you’re, or it’s/its, don’t seem to know the difference between a contraction of two words, and a possessive statement, Capitalizing random Words that aren’t proper nouns or sentence starts, And Typing Like This And Capitalizing Every Single Word, then really, whether or not somebody “meant what they said” on the internet, should be the least of anyone’s concern.

    5. Backpedaling due to a negative reaction from others.

    Have you ever heard of Schrödinger’s Douchebag?

    No? Well, let me illustrate it for you.

    Say somebody makes a statement, that, when they originally said it, were completely serious in its intent. In other words, they completely meant what they said, when they ORIGINALLY said it.

    Now, say other people have heard this, and started calling that other person stupid and dumb, attacking them, and absolutely taking the piss out of the person for what they said. Well, we all know nobody likes to be attacked.

    So then, what this person will do, is simply say that they were “just kidding” in their original message, in an attempt to mitigate the adverse or hostile response from others. And sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t.

    You’ve seen this. I’ve seen this all the time. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We are all Schrödinger’s Douchebags, but not many of us will admit it.

    Often times, as I said above, this thing called “sarcasm” is really a misnomer when it his the internet. For the most part, people are simply backpedaling because they received a negative or hostile response for something that they originally posted.

    6. Light-hearted joke.

    Contrary to popular belief, and what this article would otherwise want you to believe about sarcasm, not all “sarcasm” is nefarious, or has any ill will intent behind it. Sometimes, and hell, even A LOT of the time, this thing you call sarcasm, is simply somebody making a light hearted joke.

    If the source of “sarcasm” is your friend, or family member, chances are it’s well-intentioned.

    7. Intellectual disability.

    This one goes hand in hand with the “poor articulation skills” point. Whether or not you want to admit it, speaking and writing properly requires intelligence, and somebody who has intellectual disabilities, through NO fault of their own, will struggle with speaking, reading, and writing.

    Dyslexia is a very common intellectual disability that impairs an individual’s ability to read, speak, and write, and as such, they have a limited vocabulary and way of speaking. For these people, “sarcasm” isn’t really sarcasm at all, but rather the limited extent of their communication abilities.

    However, the main reason out of the four here, is not because they have intellectual or learning disabilities, but because they have brutal communication and articulation skills, and don’t understand one of the first rules of the internet: that sarcasm doesn’t work, and everything you say will be taken at face value.

    In some cases being “sarcastic” might even get you into serious trouble. For example, if I’m in a airport and I make a joke about having bombs in my underwear, or whatever, and the security personnel take this stuff very seriously, especially post-9/11, and I get taken to a room, and cavity searched, the whole airport gets evacuated, etc., and for what? Because I decided to be “sarcastic”?

    All in all, if you’re going to be sarcastic with someone, make sure you know the person well, and that you do it in a media-rich communication medium, not on the internet with random strangers, and certainly not in an airport when making certain jokes about bombs is taken very seriously.

  3. Carol

    Sarcasm is for sarcastic people. So, if I am not a sarcastic person please do not be sarcastic to me. A lot of sarcastic people think they are very intelligent, but if you are intelligent you have to know when and with who, you can be sarcastic. Otherwise to some people you might not be seen as intelligent, you can be looked as an asshole instead.

  4. A Nonny Moose

    Sarcasm is not always directed at another person. If it is, though, it hurts sometimes. The thing is we can’t always tell whether or not it’s mean-spirited. It might be friendly teasing or it might be actually mean. That doesn’t mean it’s always a bad thing, especially if it’s not directed at anybody. If it’s about something that everyone agrees about and it doesn’t hurt anyone, it can actually be humorous, and spark friendly conversation that might actually get people to know each other better.

    1. A Nonny Moose

      Just because it can be bad sometimes doesn’t mean it always is, and most of the time (not all, but MOST) it’s not meant to hurt anyone.

  5. Anchita Celestine Dubey

    Comments made me feel better else I could have succumbed to death due to being found sick with Sarcasmous virus. I am sarcastic myself but I never do it to demean anyone or overpower anyone. It is just a way to get across the point that people don’t really find truth in, if spoken directly.

  6. Annette

    I read many of the comments and agree with both sides. I use sarcasm as humor but my husband’s use of it is belittling (although he doesn’t see it).

  7. Tim Tomson

    I’m really glad that most people don’t think this way. Just because you don’t like/understand something doesn’t mean that there is an underlying evil behind it. Do more research, with an open mind.

  8. Uber Sarcastic and Uber Secure Miss Lee

    Good lord! Without sarcasm have you any idea how much literature would be lost? Sarcasm isn’t the problem, it’s the people the author has described who are just mean or insecure. Sarcastic humor is indeed the best and most intelligent. Nothing wrong with it at all.

    1. Providence

      I agree….The author of the book is making a MOUNTAIN out of a molehill 🤪. ( Sarcasm?)

    2. Charleene Gorski

      I am a sarcasm loving person. I don’t take life as seriously as you. Don’t put me down because I’m see things differently. Amen

  9. Sarah

    I’m a little disappointed in this article. If someone uses sarcasm to communicate something mean, that’s obviously not okay – but the problem is the meanness, rather than the mode of delivery. I think I probably fall into the third category – I use sarcasm because I feel socially awkward in certain settings. That might mean I talk about the ‘lovely weather’ we’re having when it’s raining, but that’s a simple use of irony rather than being mean or passive aggressive or barbed. The point is that I do not always feel comfortable being entirely myself or answering questions fully or openly at social functions. Some use of irony or sarcasm allows me to say something without forcing me to start a social interaction feeling exposed and vulnerable to rejection – because the mask it affords me means it’s not really me that would be being rejected. It gives me some space to become more comfortable, and then I can choose to lift that mask and enter into a more genuine part of the conversation. Mean or passive aggressive behaviour is definitely not okay, and you always need to consider tone etc when talking to people for the first time (whether that’s sarcasm or inappropriate jokes or crude language), but I’m disappointed that this article effectively shames me for using any sarcasm due to my social awkwardness. I accept that it is much easier to build genuine connections with people when you are being genuine, but I wish this article had talked about other techniques or tools for people relying on sarcasm due to insecurities or social awkwardness. It’s not just a question of don’t use sarcasm – I never used to say anything at social gatherings because I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute, I worried that I was too serious and not fun and I didn’t get how to do small talk. Sarcasm gave me the confidence to start engaging with others – I don’t think it’s entirely helpful for this article to suggest that sarcasm should simply be stopped

    1. Arthur T R

      Couldn’t agree with this more and I think a lot of people feel this way but just don’t talk about it for hundreds of different reasons, some people see that a person’s awkward and think they know why, which is impossible they see it as a weakness I see it as that person can’t communicate effectively with such group or people directly interacting because they communicate on a different level of intelligence put simple I think. It’s definitely refreshing to see your comment. Thank you .

    2. Rene

      Hi, reading this made me feel sick of how true this is for me. I am ashamed of how I behave I have recently noticed this in the dating world. I obviously have insecurities and use sarcasm as my underlying mask before I can open up to someone. Have you found any tactics to stere away from doing this especially when finding it hard to communicate or be confronted with a serious conversation. Anything would help.

  10. dee

    Sarcasm is a type of humor. And like all humor, there’s effective and ineffective humor. Generally, when the butt of the “joke/sarcasm” is the person you’re speaking with/audience, and you don’t know them well, you’re not using sarcasm effectively. it does not create a meaningful connection. If the butt of the joke/sarcasm is something you both mutually understand and agree with, you are able to play off one another into a string of interesting sarcastic responses that conveys you have common knowledge, thus creating genuine connection, and fruitful conversation that perhaps you can learn about another person, also creating connection. effective humor/sarcasm brings us closer, ineffective humor/sarcasm severs our understanding of one another and segregates us, leaving both parties disappointed.

  11. Kitty

    I read some of the comments. My husband is constantly sarcastic to the point that I usually just walk away. I can’t even say that I love or like him anymore but I am retired and cannot even consider starting over. I feel sorry for him – his attitude has caused us to have no sex life and I wonder if he was having a medical issue if I would try to save him. So all you people that think it’s harmless – keep up the good work – I guess it doesn’t matter to you what you are doing to the people around you. Remember this comment when you are alone someday because you’ve driven everyone away.

    1. Shannon Austin

      Wow…Intense Honesty~ I love it. Speaking from your heart light often puts the highly sensitive at risk of being hurt. Instead of being insensitive to people ~ I feel thankful to know what compassion and care do for our overall well-being.I value my genuine care for others…I tend to ponder on how those that portrait to care less actually …become haunted by “You reap what you sow.”

    2. So sorry you are going through this. We came up with a rule that I can only tease my wife once a day. Most days I don’t tease her at all anymore as teasing hurts even when I can’t tell. Maybe try the same with your husband? Good luck.

    3. Michael Tribout

      I have seen for myself how sarcastic to be with and really it’s not that easy you have to pray to god and he will bring you in the right path I still do with certain friends but when found myself hurting my wife feelings I love her and it tells me I need to make some changes so I don’t want to ever hurt her anymore!

    4. Trike Owner

      I completely empathise with this. It’s not harmless. It hurts. For me it triggers my childhood memories with a narcissistic mother who used sarcasm to inflict her wounds. I have a son who does it too. I walk away too. I’m now doubting that helps either of us in the long term. I wanted you to know someone gets what you wrote and sends positive vibes your way

    5. norah

      I can relate to you. My boyfriend slips in sarcastic remarks every once and a while and he is law enforcement and always around criminals so I wonder if thats how they talk to each other. When he comes home sometimes he can be very sarcastic or when he leaves but I think its because of his social awkwardness and because he is insecure. I honestly abhor it and really turns me off. I am sending this article to him and explaining things but I feel like he won’t get it. Hopefully he does.

    6. Toni

      I completely understand. I recently married someone that I knew was sarcastic. In fact I loved his ‘quick wit’ when we were dating. But now I find what he says so unnecessary. We have had a few heated discussions about it. He did grow up this way with 12 brothers and sisters. It seems like many are this way. But at this point I don’t know what to do. They are not terribly hurtful. Just pointless. Asking me in a jeering way why I said or did something like that. I think the bottom line is we have communication issues and he has self esteem problems. I can only walk away after I tell him sometimes these comments are hurtful and I’m not laughing you are.

    7. tenos

      I couldn’t agree more. When the same sarcastic “joke” is used over and over , and is a direct poke at a physical feature, or used to keep you “in your place” by subtly commenting on other women that are single and available, it definitely puts the relationship in a different place. He wonders why I can’t do X for him to move forward in the relationship…..well, it’s now over. Sarcasm can be funny if done right — it’s not repetitive, nor cutting……once or twice . However, when the same line of sarcasm is thrown out at the other’s expense and, like in. my case, done every week for the past 3 years…not so much. How can something be funny when the sarcasm is only being laughed at by the person dishing it out?? …. you’ve heard it over a hundred times. In my case he is a very educated and bright man – he knows exactly what he is doing which is what makes it so wrong.

  12. Liam Cawley

    Why do Americans think that sarcasm is always so insulting and biting? A friend and I can hold a five minute conversation built entirely on a sarcastic premise. It is not always so hurtful and mean spirited. To characterize all ironic conversation in this way is damaging to those who use sarcasm effectively. Not everybody understands and uses sarcasm to its fullest extent, especially here in the states. People need not take sarcasm at its face value, and put a little time into understanding it and why it is used, because it is certain that it is a dynamic vehicle of speech not only used to hurt people.

    1. Linda

      The definition of sarcasm is to ” tear flesh”. When I learned this I became determined to find a more positive way to interact with others. I grew up with sarcasm. It took me a long time to realize how damaging sarcasm is.

    2. Kay Niall

      Then just keep it between the two of you. It works best if you are familiar and know who is comfortable with it. Most people do use sarcasm to be nasty. Just a fact. Also, Americans don’t know HOW to be sarcastic and be humorous.

    3. Celeste

      I get what your saying about some people thinking it’s insulting when for some that’s not the intention. I have a friend who is very sarcastic and I take it as rude because I am the kind of person that likes to just say what I mean without having other misinterpret it. For me sarcasm comes off as rude because I am thinking…hmm why would they say this if they didn’t really think it. It’s e negative though or comment and I don’t say or think negative things towards anyone unless I actually mean it. I tease friends too but not in a way that can be misinterpreted.

    4. Joanne wittenbrook

      My ex husband was like that, as was his family. It was very hurtful to me and he seemed to have no sense of how his nasty little verbal barbs made me feel. After the divorce I was so light hearted all the time. I swore I would never let anyone drag me down like that again.

      1. Anne

        My boyfriend has been so unpleasantly sarcastic (and absolutely not funny), I feel bad all the time. So good to read your comment, I want to feel light hearted again! Thank you for sharing this <3

    5. Joanne

      You answered your own question. You and your friend know each other well and communicate in the same way.
      With someone you don’t know, it may not be humorous.
      My ex was very sarcastic. He often came off as arrogant to people we just met. That’s the reason he is an ex.
      It taught me to be a careful communicator. You can never assume people have the same sense of humor as you. And it is just good manners to be aware that people may be sensitive about things and feel insulted. This is especially true if addressing someone from a different cultural background, or someone who does not have English as their first language.

    6. Ann Cavalier

      Sure, ok but the truth is the common use of it is not in jest but a jab and often used by the insecure person.

    7. Michelle

      It’s interesting that you are so bothered by this. Perhaps, you know there is truth to it and you are feeling defensive since it directly affects you.
      While it is true that you can use sarcasm affectively, it is also true that it can also hinder the building of a real connection. This author is just shedding light upon the latter.
      If she were to write an article about how sarcasm is great it wouldn’t be very groundbreaking or helpful in the psychology realm of things.
      You’re both right. However, it is so obvious that you have completely missed the point.

      1. Martha Edmond Allen

        Just want to say, well said, and I hope someone answers in a way that can expain.

    1. Jaz

      So if a person asks if I like their outfit, instead of saying “yea so beautiful” do I say what I think or do I just not respond?

      1. Celeste

        Just say what you think….I have said before that I personally don’t like it but that because my style is different, or that I think it doesn’t flatter them as much as something else might, but again it’s only my opinion based on my own style which they might not like either.

  13. Gabi

    Great article I can really relate to this! My Mom is quite passive aggressive and also uses mean sarcasm. It’s sad because I never enjoy being around her and we never really communicate it just smart quips and jobs and such.

    1. Mackenzie Moore

      Yea I agree sarcasm is very hurtful to a lot of people, even the sensitive ppl. If you are with a out going freind not really that bad but still be mindful of your action.

  14. Parker Simpson

    Sarcasm is often used in ways that aren’t intended to offend people and can be quite humorous. I find this article wholly ignorant of that fact. Of course with that being said, if you have thin skin about everything and you yourself are insecure, you may not be able to properly gauge the meaning behind the sarcasm.

    1. Linda

      Exactly. If thick skin is necessary then there is really no genuine connection. I actually wonder whether defending sarcasm is a way of defending your defenses so you don’t have to look too close to your relationships.

      1. Cristina

        Like many other survival mechanisms, sarcasm has its own special place in our interactions.
        I adore irony, sarcasm, dark humor, even a couple of almost “evil” ideas.
        I adore them because they are a statement of what is really going on inside, it is a crude reality that shouldn’t be sugar-coated, repressed, judged by others.
        Indeed, it is harmful in high doses(like anything) and there should be appointed good or bad times when these measures should be employed.
        Sarcasm makes me feel comforted, for instance. It is built over many years of emotional suffering and it is the most civilised manner that we have invented to keep us sane, safe. There will be people who will refuse this display from others, but I believe that the healthy way to address it is to just say “I’m not in the mood today. I feel vulnerable and I take your remarks personal. Please, stop.”
        It’s a process of overcoming trauma. Angry people are not assholes. They just DO shitty things because they feel bad. It’s healthy to live in a community where we understand that joy is a solid real feeling, just like regret, nostalgia, love, anger, numbness.
        In this kind of community, one does not feel the need to be so outrageous, because they feel safe already.
        I found this article because I wanted to learn how to dose my passive-agressiveness, but I only found rejection. It is something like a plague, to be deleted, cured.
        Except we can’t deny our feelings just because they are not the cute ones.

      2. Diane Hornsby

        Amen to this. My sister is sarcastic, and then acts as if there’s something wrong with me if I am hurt by her comments, implying that I have no sense of humor. She turns the table and it insults me twice.

    2. George Plas

      Wow, this just may be the most close minded reply in the history of the world ever! While sarcasm can occasionally be humorous, more often then not, it is meant to be cruel and belittling.

      1. Charlotte

        Me and my friend used to use sarcasm for humour and just to have fun but recently she’s been hanging out with other friends that have a more edgy I guess sarcasm and humour, that is a bit more insulting and she’s been using it with me. I don’t know if I should take it personally or not because she sounds serious when she says it. When is sarcasm too much? Or is it just bad to use in general

    3. Peter Thompson

      Sarcasm, aside from when in use of humour and as a joke, can still be quite harmful and emotionally damaging to others. You would not believe the amount of people when losing an argument, will use sarcasm as a shield to hide their insecurity of being proven wrong. Of course when sarcasm is used in a jokingly way, it would be fine. But these days all my conversations with friends always turn into sarcastic ones.

      1. Martha Edmond Allen

        I agree. When someone you serious with is sarcastic to you, you can’t argue back, or assert your position, because it was a “joke.” It hurts, and it is meant to hurt.

    4. Deanna

      Sarcasm can be funny. But I never grew up with it and while I thought it was funny when I first (and for a while) heard it from my husband, it has gotten old and I think he uses it way too much which now makes me angry.

    5. Celeste

      I recently had a friend tell me I was too sensitive because I was misinterpreting her sarcasm as rude instead of playful. She said that on the east coast people have to be thick skinned or whatever BS. I just think that jokes are ok but if someone is too sarcastic it just gets annoying because you never really k ow what they feel because they never actually say it. I feel like it’s a low form of communication because it just leaves room for misinterpretation by all parties…..why not just mean what you say.

    6. Joanne.

      It is fine when used between friends who have an understanding of each other.
      But when you are with someone you don’t know well, you can be cruel without realizing it. Best not to assume everyone shares your sense of humor.

  15. Paulina

    Isn’t posting this article on someone’s FB (besides being self serving for the author)…pretty passive aggressive?

  16. jenny

    Sarcasm happens for three reasons:
    Because you’re from Boston, where 99.99% of people are sarcastic and thats how everyone communicates.

  17. Sharon Newman

    people are so cruel. it gets to the stage that you want to throw yourself under a bus . Ive had it with nasty people!!!!!! No wonder animals are a blessing !

  18. Luc

    I believe the real issue here is that some people are too easily offended, whilst others use sarcasm as an excuse to be a judgmental bitch. However, I think that the examples in the article are perfectly acceptable. Sarcasm is in these cases merely used as a figure of speech in order to release tension by using humor when giving a hint or making a request. After all, “Go shave yourself, you look horrible” just doesn’t sound the same.

    Moreover, sarcasm isn’t always directed at a person; it could be applied to objects and concepts as well. I think that in this case sarcasm is subconsciously used by the speaker to test the audience. If the receiving end immediately understands that you are not being serious, then you can conclude that you are sincerely on the same level.

  19. Jacky Chen

    Posting an article on Facebook in hope of your friend “getting the hint” is probably the smartest thing you’ve suggested

  20. Rekt

    Why not just use wit against them? I know that humour can sometimes be hurtful but that is kind of the point, humour uses flaws and association to get a reaction. If you want to catch them out use their own methods against them, maybe you might find some common ground and find out it was a joke instead of a jab at you. For example: (Man at networking event) “This buffet spread is pretty weak, guess it mirrors this company’s portfolio, huh?” (The representative) “Wow, with discerning skills like that it’s a surprise you don’t work for someone with more money.” and the cycle continues. If the man who made the original quip couldn’t handle what you said then it’s due to insecurities, if he could then he’s just joking around and getting on his wave length could diffuse the issue. Either way taking humour seriously is not how you’re supposed to deal with a situation like that, if you don’t like the humour just move on.

  21. Kneph

    In other news people are still finding things to be offended by. Watch out dry witty humor!! You may be confused for sarcasm and that means your BROKEN…………

  22. Magnus Roe

    Those were the worst examples of sarcasm I’ve ever seen. They are observations, nothing more.
    You can somewhat turn them around by simply pointing out how lovely someone’s beard / state of their kitchen / quality of their event’s cooking is.

  23. Paul Choi

    My dad was sarcastic and I think I thought it was cool to be like him. I realize now that my insecurities and low self esteem were the culprits. My wife has endured my sarcasm for almost 9 years now and she has told me numerous times to stop but I thought I was being funny not realizing how much I have hurt her. My wife getting fat and unmotivated is mostly my fault. She used to look like a Kdrama actress. My bad.

    1. Na Yeong Ja

      Ahem. hmm…imagine your wife reading that you just called her fat. Dude, that aint nice.
      But at least you know you did wrong.

    2. Linda

      I’m so glad I learned that my sarcasm was destructive and actually confusing. I think my kids are better off that I learned this …finally. They’re adults now and we are genuinely friends now.

      1. Greg L.

        What you really need to ask yourself is “What is truly more destructive: Truth or Sarcasm?”. Sarcasm is one person’s view of truth at times and this is where people are skewed into believing ALL Sarcasm is “mean and a result of insecurity”. This fallacy is causing divisive measure to creep into societal views and shame those who use Sarcasm.

  24. Brittney Brunner

    I can never take in someone’s sarcasam with open arms. There is a guy I work with who is always sarcastic and he says if he didn’t like me, he wouldnt be so sarcastic. But I started dating another guy (not my coworker) and this guy said something very sarcastic and I snapped at him. He recently told me that he actually is very sarcastic but he turned that part of him off when he is around me. We were talking on the phone and we were agreeing to hang up and I said I love you (not being the first time we have said it to each other) and he says ” mmhhmmm yeaaah right.” then left it at that. I’m just sooooo confused. Maybe because I’m an only child. But I know I’m socially inept. Any suggestions?

    1. anonymous

      I suggest that I’d welcome you into my life if I ever meet you face to face because I’d never take sarcasm with open arms either.

  25. mbpriore

    I’ve been googling sarcasm all day because I’ve been wanting to blog about it. I’ve noticed one of those “cute” (<< yes, that's about as sarcastic as I get) notes floating around on Facebook recently that reads, "If you don't get my sarcasm, it's because you're an idiot." Now, to me this statement is not only NOT funny in the technical ha-ha joke sense, it's telling people who choose not to use sarcasm to express themselves that they are stupid. And yes, I did write "choose" because I could use sarcasm in any conversation, I have a pretty good command of the English language and all of its nuances, but in my opinion, personal sarcasm is actually the easy way out when you can't find a more appropriate way to express yourself. When I say "personal sarcasm," I mean the type of sarcasm when a person personally attacks another human being, not the type that is used when you don't get proper seating in a restaurant and bitch about being placed in Siberia. I find it personally offensive to hurt those whom might take offense, so I "choose" not to use personal sarcasm. When did this type of sarcasm become a virtue? When was this shift in social etiquette implemented and why did I not get the memo? Are we so out of touch as human beings relating one-on-one with other human beings that we've lost more important qualities such as empathy? Good manners? Kindness? Has the internet embedded us so deeply behind a computer screen that we don't have to look into the hurt eyes of the person on the receiving end of a snide comment? I don't have an answer to these questions, but I can tell you one thing. It's not because I am an idiot.

    1. anonymous

      Who do you think you are making him or her think like you? He or she doesn’t have to if he or she doesn’t want to.

      All I’m trying to tell you is that everyone can think however they want and that you have no right to make them think the same as you.

  26. rodrigo

    People i used to call them friends , they made something bad to me , and tryed to find other friends .. i finded my self knowing new people that were so sarcastic, i didnt even know what that was at the momment, and i started to learn what it meant. I started to be sarcastic as well nowadays , im often sarcastic to people, due to my insecurities. i found that beeing that way is a way to lose people around me. But i want to stop beeing sarcastic that’s not me , thats something that i learned to use to defend my self. I found my self reading this to help me bring my self back..

  27. Vladimir Putin

    When dealing with a particularly difficult editor or situation, you will never be tempted to resort to sarcasm. But if you somehow are, that’s a really great idea. Sarcasm works well in online media, because it’s easy to pick up on without all of those pesky nonverbal cues, so you’ll never even need to use the {{sarcasm}} tag. It’s hard to see how the employment of sarcasm could possibly be counterproductive.

    Sarcasm is especially useful in controversial debates, where a sarcastic comment often has the effect of calming the situation. Don’t worry about offending people; simply appending a smiley emoticon or humorous XML tag () to your comment will assuage any hurt feelings, and doing so exempts you from the strictures of civility and good faith. Come to think of it, why waste time constructing a sarcastic response where you can go straight for a nice tag conveying the sarcasm within seconds. Think somebody’s talking rubbish? Don’t waste time composing a response, just stick a [citation needed] on the end of their comment. I mean, everyone knows what that means nowadays – think of all the time you’ll save!

    Despite the use of the above measures and your inherent, undeniable cleverness, your sarcastic remarks may still be unrecognized or unappreciated by their target audience. This should be interpreted as immediate confirmation of your superior intellect and wit, as well as a corresponding deficiency of those qualities in your audience; you should not hesitate to emphasize this, as it will enable further discussion to proceed productively. It also allows the discussion to stray away from well-known contentious issues towards the beautiful landscapes of hermeneuticaldisputes on the possible or indisputable subjective and objective meanings of the semantical structures used in the various contributions to the debate.

    In rare cases, users have been singled out for special recognition of such demonstrated superiority.

    ~Amen~ ;-D

    1. Andrea

      I was at work the other day and two people said “She’s too pretty to be a nurse” It sounded sarcastic and it was. Were they really meaning they find me ugly?

  28. ohComeOn

    This isn’t sarcasm you’re referring to. It’s passive agression. Sarcastic people aren’t terrible and out to hurt others. Most of the time they’re trying to bring humor to a conversation…or see a situation differently. I rarely see sarcasm used with respect to people…passive agressives on the other hand…constantly. Those people have issues. Might be time to rewrite dear, sorry.

  29. taylor fox

    where did you get the research that says “teasers usually believe their words are less hurtful than their victim thinks.” from?

  30. K.N. Listman

    I think you are misinterpreting what sarcasm really is. It is saying something the opposite of what you mean. The person who said you had too much make-up on was not being sarcastic because they meant to criticize you for wearing too much make up even it she exaggerated by saying she did not recognize you.

    However your response “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?” was not genuine. It is something you said not really meaning it at all. As such it was a very sarcastic statement.

  31. GrayTimber

    I have an ex friend who complains that people “don’t get” his sarcasm. TBH, the problem is him and I just wish he would see that. :^/ He didn’t use to be so bad, but over time he’s just become that pretentious douchebag who takes everything too seriously and thinks everyone else is an idiot.

    I just had someone be sarcastic with me and I came looking for just why it bothered me so much. Something not noted here is that sarcasm also commonly comes across as social rejection or distance. As if you just did something embarrassing and they’re laughing at you/not taking you seriously at all. As someone who makes it a point to be polite and friendly 100% of the time, this is super frustrating to me.

  32. Tony Stark

    Vlad is right up to a point. To be honest Sarcasm by itself is not easy to decipher. I would consider myself a somewhat mildly sarcastic person. There are people I love to death who I am sarcastic to that’s completely 100% in jest. I would die for them. On the other end, if I don’t like someone my last instinct is to try to get a laugh at their expense. But I have known people who have clearly tried to use sarcasm in the way the article describes. Like toxic venom used to slowing erode your self-worth. Not cool. But let’s be real, we’re all different in what we choose to tolerate. Vlad has the skin of an oak whereas someone else might take everything to heart. I do believe that most people use sarcasm in a negative way though. The article has merit in my experience. Hell I’ve even done it. Use your judgement and if someone being sarcastic all the time is hurting more than helping, no one can fix that but you.

    1. Linda

      I agree with you. This article has pointed to good information about a potential to harm and being less than genuine. I too use sarcasm but try hard not to use it “at people ” but sometimes I do use sarcasm to make a point on a subject. I will definitely think on whether I’m eroding my own self worth.

  33. LOL

    This is fucking retarded. I bet you’re the type of mother who doesn’t let their kids play on baseball teams unless both teams win.

    1. anonymous

      You’re a shit-eating liar, asswipe. So do me a favor and shut the hell up. If you can’t stand this anti-sarcasm article, then don’t fuckin’ comment on it.

  34. William Burke

    Please help by donating to the Sarcasm Deficiency Organization of your choice! Help us DEFEAT Sarcasm Deficiency Anemia (SDA) with a moronic, pitiful smile and a HUGE CHECK!!!

    1. anonymous

      All sarcasm hater should band together and defeat your sorry ass for trying to force sarcasm on others. If people are sarcasm deficient, so what? You have no right to make them the opposite of that.

      Honestly, do you want everyone to be just like you? If so, then how about all of you foes gang up on you and force their ideals on you?

  35. Rivkah Bergman

    ) “Wow you look like a mountain man with that beard. Your Grandma will barely recognize you.” I don’t think this is a good enough example, it is sarcastic but a little bit too obvious. “You would think we are living like lazy trash beetles with the way this kitchen looks!” also, too sarcastic. There are many sarcastic remarks that are much more subtle and more hurtful, you should use those in your article.

  36. Stormy HotMoma Tanner

    I agree, this is one of the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.
    Sarcasm is funny, period.

  37. Stormy HotMoma Tanner

    That drives me nuts when someone doesn’t get, or pretends not to get my sarcasm.
    It is the quickest way to determine that I am not going to talk to someone again.

    1. William Burke

      Correct: it is not sarcasm that’s “passive aggressive”, the “wounded” little act of the bemoaner of sarcasm who is passive aggressive!

    2. anon

      aww, did the wittle bitch get butthurt just ’cause nobody got her sarcasm? if you can’t stand anti-sarcasm, just suck it up.

  38. Kelel

    I feel my “sarcasm” would seriously hurt someone’s feelings. My sense of humor is twisted, so how can i get through to ppl without having to say “im just kidding” even when some of it is actually genuine…i just stay quiet, making others think I’m socially awkward, which i seem to come off as cause im not talkative like others..i get jokes too, maybe it just wasnt funny enough to make ME laugh..I never have “good comebacks”, and I’ve always been treated differently for not “participating” ..any say?

  39. byefelicia

    I really enjoyed this article. I did a google search on “why people are sarcastic” and this turned up. I just had an encounter with a coworker about deleting old records in our database. I asked her if it was ok and her response “well, that seems like a question for the Advertising Manager.”

    I am the Advertising Manager. So, I explained that the reason for my question is because I was told that my database is tied to other department databases, so if I delete records that I consider outdated that would interfere with their databases. After I explained why I was asking the question she searched around the databases and confirmed that at some point (in 2008 after this issue came to light) she separated the databases so that we can safely delete records without harming other department data. Since I just started in 2013, and the previous Ad Manager warned me about the database debacle, there was no way for me to know that she eventually corrected it without…well, asking her if I could delete records.

    I have to admit that her comment was upsetting. She often employs sarcasm and snark in her communications. I guess she is insecure, is attempting to be funny, or has contempt for me. In either case, I did find the article insightful.

      1. anonymous

        Listen to you suck up to Vlad. You want him to suck your blood like that vampire namesake? I’m guessing that you’re gay for him.

        Good luck in fucking the shit out of each other.

  40. Mo

    Depending on the tone, situation, topic of conversation, and persons the sarcasm is being directed at, you can’t rule out the possibility that “Sarcasm equals hate”. If you were the target of sarcasm on a daily basis in any given setting, whether it be professional or personal, the emotional and psychological effects of relentless sarcasm would eventually wear on your own capability to withstand such nonsense. While ‘sarcasm has been known to humans since the inception of language’, human emotions and feelings have been known to humankind since the beginning of time. That being said, I personally would steer clear from using or directing sarcasm at any human being other than self.

    1. William Burke

      Untrue. Sarcasm is love. If I had total disdain for you I would not bother with any sarcastic remark. I would consider you terminally clueless and lost. There is no reason to waste perfectly good sarcasm on such a person.

      If I make a sarcastic remark to you, it’s because I consider you salvageable, but temporarily in some sort of induced trance.

      If I consider you unsalvageable, why bother?

      1. anonymous

        In case you didn’t notice, sarcasm alienates people. If you love me but made a sarcastic remark to me, I’d want nothing to do with you.

      2. anonymous

        If you think that sarcasm is love, you try using it on everyone who you love. If they all give up on you because you were alienated them with sarcasm, you’re to blame.

    2. anonymous

      I’m very glad you made that decision. And for the record, I believe that everything you typed is true.

  41. Anonymous

    What ever happened to expressing yourself and being who you are? Why should us sarcastic people change our personality just because you overly-emotional people can’t take a joke?

    1. disqus_hm75xwgF93

      And don ‘t expect “overly-emotional” people to put up with you. Mutual respect is what it takes. If you can’t do that, stay out of our way.

  42. 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.

    1. William Burke

      This teensy self-help group is not prepared to even try and understand your points. They think you’re just being hateful to them!

      Need many more palms for this face in this joint.

      1. anon

        well, well, look who replied with a whiny and sarcastic comment. why don’t you just suck up the anti-sarcasm and move on with your damn life?

  43. 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.

    1. William Burke

      If a person lacks self esteem, it’s because he or she never allowed herself or himself any in the first place.

      Your lack of self esteem is not the fault of anyone but yourselves.

      1. Drew Broz

        What the fuck are you talking about? That has nothing to do with anything that I said. You didn’t even read what I said did you?

  44. 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?

    1. William Burke

      He’s convinced you already know the answer, and are just being passive aggressive in pretending not to.

      I tend to think he’s correct.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

    1. William Burke

      Food for serious thought: Political Correctness is Social Engineering designed to make us afraid to express our opinion about ANYTHING. It silences all discourse; its goal is to drive us all apart by making us all afraid to say the slightest thing.

      IN OTHER WORDS, Divide and Conquer.


    2. William Burke

      So in your mind, sarcasm should be banned altogether, or just banned from use on you? Do you support the First Amendment, or not? How about the second? How about the rest?

      They happen to be a package of rights protection. Either you support all of them, or you do not support them AT ALL.

      1. objkshn

        Huh? First of all, only the government is required not to interfere with free speech. Private individuals can interfere with speech with unlimited impunity. And free speech does not include the obligation that everyone listen or hear your speech. I can elect not to associate with persons who use sarcasm as their primary communicative tool. That is my right of association. I am not advising for the government to ban sarcasm. That would be violative of free speech. But just like I don’t have to hang around Westboro Baptist and listen to their intentional incitement directed at grieving persons for the purpose of enriching themselves financially, I also do not have to embrace sarcastic persons in my circle of friends.

        And no, as a non-governmental employee who is not obligated under the Constitution, I am not required to support “all” or “none” of the Constitutional Amendments. I can like some and dislike others. It’s not an “all or nothing” false dilemma as you’ve suggested.

        Constitution creates and empowers Government and imposes limits on that power. Constitution is not an obligation imposed upon individuals in how they choose to relate to their partners.

        Your inane comments would suggest that if I like free speech I must surround myself with sarcastic assholes? Hardly.

      2. Victoria S.

        Occasional sarcasm can be lots of fun. They are talking about constant sarcasm. Where in your interaction with that person is so filed with sarcastic comments, so often, that you don’t know what part of their remark is genuine and what is an attempt at sarcasm. It seems petty to let it bother you, at first, but imagine sarcasm when it’s inappropriate and out of the blue. No, when one is consistently sarcastic in their interactions with, say a partner, or a close friend, you are left with a feeling of trying to decipher what the f*ck they are talking about at the root of the conversation. When someone overdoes it, it feels like they are being passive aggressive, and confusing in their communication with you. After a while, you want to scream, and run as far as you can for some peace and quiet. Evan of you have a great, healthy sense of humor.

  47. 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

  48. John D’Isselt


  49. 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.

    1. 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.

  50. dpu8715

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

  51. 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.

    1. anonymous

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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!


      4. Fishbeans

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

      5. 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.

      6. 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?

      7. 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.

      8. 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.


      9. 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.

      10. 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.

      11. 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.

      12. 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?

      13. 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.

      14. 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.

      15. 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.

      16. 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?

      17. 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.

      18. 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.

      19. 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.

      20. 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.

      21. 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.

      22. 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?

      23. 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.

      24. 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.

      25. 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.

      26. 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.

      27. 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.

      28. 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.

      29. 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.

      30. 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.

      31. 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.

      32. 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.

      33. 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.

      1. William Burke

        All I hear is, “I hurt, I hurt, I hurt. Please help me by hurting me some more, because that’s the one thing I identify with.”

      2. anonymous

        Since you’re an inconsiderate bastard who doesn’t know how to be careful on how to treat others, why don’t you go beat the crap out of yourself?

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

    1. 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

  54. 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!

    1. Eric

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

  55. 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.

    1. 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 🙁

      1. 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.

    2. 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.”

      1. anonymous

        I may hate sarcasm. But since you used it against him, I forgive you by complimenting him for being such an insensitive and inconsiderate douche.

      2. anonymous

        oh sorry. i meant to type “him” instead of “you” between “complimenting” and “for.” my apologies.

        to make up for you mistake, i compliment you badmouthing William/Will.

    3. William Burke

      She was giving you hints: PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE.

      Despite efforts to the contrary on your behalf, she finally got what she wanted. What took you so long? Are you stupid?

    1. Danielle McRae

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

    2. 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.

  56. 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.”

    1. William Burke

      If Ambrose Bierce were ever return to us again, I pray for both of you that you never meet.

      1. anon

        i pray that you never come back to this article again because of your stupid obsession for sarcasm and for your interference with the hatred of sarcasm haters.

      2. AD

        I have a friend who is sarcastic 24/7. It doesn’t matter how important the topic, how serious the context, or how hurtful it can be. His sarcasm is not intelligent. It is only hurtful, and actually it is quite stupid. It is grating. It is irritating. Needless to say, we are not really friends anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sarcasm of comedy greats, on SNL, or The Onion. There is good sarcasm and there is needless sarcasm. The point of my comment above is that the examples of sarcasm in this article are not actually sarcasm at all!

  57. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. helena

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

    2. William Burke

      Right. Your sarcasm identifies you as someone who has a strong perception of absurdity and cluelessness. And you’ll be reviled by the clueless and absurd for using the best tool at your disposal.

      And they will despise you for it, just as they despise anyone who’s not a dullard like themselves.

  58. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. Stephen

        They’re not horrible people. They just need a little attitude adjustment. The to tell the truth you were Sarcastic In the way you worded that!!!!?

      2. UrTriggered

        While I don’t deny the issues mentioned in the article are common reasons people use sarcasm, sometimes it’s as simple as someone just wanting to play around. People are so easy to offend. If you cant handle sarcasm from someone, that probably speaks more to your inability to cope with real personal issues.

      3. anon

        If you can’t handle people who can’t handle sarcasm, that speaks more to you inability to be tactful to others. For your information, you can’t force any people to cope with any situation. Whether they can cope or not is up to them.

      4. UrTriggered

        I didn’t say anything about forcing people to cope. Nor did I say that I couldn’t handle stuck-up people. What I did say was, there is a time when anger is a perfectly reasonable response to sarcasm. Other times it’s really inappropriate to get mad, especially when it was clearly not meant to be offensive. And yes, those individuals that are unable to differentiate (you), usually does have some kind of emotional issue they haven’t properly dealt with. Do some research if you think I’m lying.

      5. Dani

        Can I ask you how you decide that it’s inappropriate to get mad? In my experience sarcasm has almost always been a way for another person to make you look stupid. You are absolutely trapped in that situation and they know it. They say something sarcastic that usually serves the purpose of asserting dominance and if you say anything to them they can just tell you you’re being uptight or my favorite, “can’t take a joke can you?” Those people then usually go out of their way to make you their target at that point. Lighthearted jokes are one thing, but I find people who make other people look stupid and then decide when they can’t get mad at the joker to be the WORST sort of people. Again, I find there is a sense of deviousness in your comment that “other times it’s really inappropriate to get mad” because also in my experience, sarcasm is a form of passive aggressiveness. I don’t believe so many people are inept at social cues that they don’t know someone is joking. I know a joke when I hear it, and most people have wrapped their rude ass comments in the cloak of “if you get mad you look uptight so I can get away with anything.” Again, you can probably tell from my comment I have issues with sarcastic people, so maybe I haven’t met the pervasive lighthearted sarcastic jokester that you speak of.

    2. 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.

      1. anonymous

        You told me to read read first when you don’t what I mean by book? You’re one to talk. FYI, I mean book as in opinion. Sounds to me that you’re the one who needs to read.

      2. UrTriggered

        Since I explained it to you already. I did use some words you might not understand. Maybe that’s why you couldn’t catch on to that.

      3. UrTriggered

        You really need to relax. Get over yourself. Walk around clenched up like that, something might pop.

      4. anonymous

        You need to lay off on telling people other people to relax. I only relax whenever I choose to.

        And for your information ,I don’t walk around all clenched up like that.

        If you ask me, being sarcastic to people at the wrong time will cause you make enemies with them.

      5. UrTriggered

        You need to lay off telling people not to be sarcastic. I agree with your last sentence though. I’ve tried to explain that to you earlier, sarcasm is not a bad thing if used in the right situations.

      6. Darko

        So as long as you don’t mind that I pull your underwear over you head than we should be fine right? You need to lay off telling people not to bully. It’s the same thing. Words do hurt.

      7. Darko

        Isn’t that the go to of mean sarcastic people? “I’m only joking. You are too sensitive.” Bullshit! It’s a coward’s way of bullying. It’s people like you that are too cowardly to be honest and upfront with people. Directed sarcasm is like hiding while throwing rocks when the victim is most vulnerable. That doesn’t sound like something friends do to each other. More like enemies. I too lost a friend due to years of directed sarcasm. I am better without him, and now won’t put up with it.

    3. 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.

      1. jasmine

        Sadly you need to let this person go. If u have voiced it to her more then once, and she continues to do it, then you need to value & love yourself enough, to know that u don’t deserve to be treated like this. Do not allow this person to continue to doing this to you, hurt u and make you feel bad. Love yourself enough to know when its time to walk away from someone or a relationship & let them go with peace & love

      2. UrTriggered

        Your self esteem should only depend on how you view yourself. Relying on someone else to make you feel good about yourself is an obvious sign self-esteem issues were present before that person started their nonsense.

      3. UrTriggered

        Not over some self-esteem issue. Like I said that is personal. I guess your lucky enough to never have lived in a place where if you didn’t stand-up for yourself everyone would run over you.

      4. Billy bob

        I couldn’t agree more. Nowadays it seems everyone is easily upset or offended. If a sarcastic comment wreaks that much emotional distress on someone then it’s obvious that there were preexisting issues there in the first place. Personally I don’t mind sarcasm one bit even if it’s directed at me. I would wager that 90% of the time most sarcasm is simply someone kidding around. As for the remaining 10% who cares? The human psyche shouldn’t be so easily torn asunder by way of a few sarcastic cutting remarks.

      1. anonymous

        Excuse me? You told me to relax but suggested to him or her that he or she beat someone’s ass?! Now who’s the one who should relax?

  59. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. Sugardoll244

        Aww that’s adorable. I wish everyone could stop using sarcasm as a way to tease others. It’s just too risky.

    1. anon

      are you being sarcastic? for your information, he isn’t those things. instead, he’s a macho dickwipe who wants everyone to conform to his narrow world-view.

  60. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. philessense

        @Kacie Could be time to end the friendship. It’s not worth spending time with someone who gets pleasure from being cruel, and who is so insensitive to your honest communication.

      3. William Burke

        How pathetic. The sarcastic sees the complexities in life, while the butt-hurt wants above everything to see life as being as simple as addition and subtraction.

      4. anonymous

        Says the know-it-all prick who doesn’t seem to know how to be considerate to others. It turns out that Tom Sawyer’s right about what he told you.

      5. Peter Z Bugarchich

        Did she offer you some cheese? I’d go well with the “wine” you’ve spilled all over ;-D

      6. Felisidad

        You are very crude, aren’t you? I just hope you are not married or in a relationship, becouse in your lifetime you must have hurt a lot of people. You need therapy.

      7. Peter Z Bugarchich

        Get a life, will ya! A bunch of whiny sissies bound to be extinct. Look around you, look at the dangerously hilarious world you live in … perhaps you move to North Korea to practice your political correctness!

      8. William Burke

        I assure you, I in no way regard life “as a joke”. You couldn’t possibly be more wrong about that. So how can I expect anything genuine from your tender widdle sensibilities? You PLAY at being genuine. Homie don’t play.

        I recognize that life has a “cosmic joke” aspect to it – and you do not. But I have NEVER regarded life itself as a “joke”.

        But even if it was, SO WHAT?

      9. anonymous

        If you think that life’s a joke, how about you stop being alive? Better yet, quit making other people conform to your way of thinking.

      10. anonymous

        Why don’t you get a life instead, you macho asshole?! You think that everyone should be just like you and prance around being all “Ooh, look at me. I’m so tough that I think everyone should be either be exactly like me or die.” Pathetic.

        You know what else? I find you hypocritical in that you suggested that your enemies move to North Korea and practice political correctness when you’re doing the same thing that that place and that ideal do.

      11. William Burke

        Please grow up before you’re dead and in your grave. You owe at least that much to yourself, wouldn’t you agree?

      12. Tom Swayer

        sarcastic people tend to be unsentimental prats and you have proved that here once again. people who are sarcastic tend to be disgustingly elitist too, and your obviously both guilty of that. Telling people to get a life, and grow up? Because they would rather be sincere to people on the internet? The internet has made you a child, Ha, telling people to grow up. You throw insults around like a 10 year old but in real life I bet you would not be so crass.

      13. William Burke

        “Crass”? You think THAT’S “crass”? It didn’t even rise to the level of an insult! I’m so sorry your ass is made of issue paper. This is your last chance to BE A MAN, goddammit!

        Unless you’ve chosen otherwise, of course. That choice is final, you know. It’s a closing off to further opportunities of manhood.

        But here I am, talking to you as if you’re not a weenie pre-adolescent. I beg your pardon, it was a lapse.

      14. Tom Swayer

        the difference between me and you is that I view the universe with a purpose, you view it as a joke. That is the essence of the divide between sarcasm and sincerity. A weenie? Be a man? No, i’ll pass I already said all I had to say.

      15. Calling Card

        He says sarcastically. You see pal, only sarcastic people think sarcasm is appropriate. Douche Bag.

      16. Stephanie Turner Wilkinson

        Apparently Vladimir is not sarcastic at all, he is just out an out mean. More like an internet troll.

      17. JohnWick

        bro, seriously, keep being you. I see you sometimes commenting and it makes me happy, knowing that there are well balanced, intelligent, and common sense people out there who aren’t retards or sheeple.


      18. anonymous

        I’m with you on all that ,except for the “keep being you” part. I mean, what right to does he have in making other people think, act, and be just like him? They don’t have to if they don’t want to.

    2. philessense

      ABSOLUTELY. It’s a form of contempt and anger, clothed in comedy.
      I do agree with him that Dr. Phil is a quack and a self-aggrandizing angry person himself.

      1. William Burke

        There’s no anger in sarcasm. I grant there may occasionally be contempt. Sarcasm is a wet towel thrown in the face of hopeless naivitè.

    3. William Burke

      How in the hell are they “hurt” if they don’t understand sarcasm? You sarcasm-deprived people need a support group – of clueless people just like yourselves.

      It’s not our problem that you grew up without any social armoring. Grow a set or go away.

      1. Vladimir Putin

        Amen brother … I hope those clueless and socially retarded people never get to wear uniform or go to war. If they do, we’re doomed!

    4. UrTriggered

      You have to learn that a person is ultimately responsible for their own happiness. If you have to feed off of the people around you to stay positive, you have personal issues you need to resolve with yourself.

    5. UrTriggered

      He should have taught you to read and do research on issues instead of injecting your opinion into the matter. Especially when it is quite obvious you are not too familiar with it in the first place.

  61. 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.

    1. 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!


    2. 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.

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