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Stop Being Sarcastic

Updated on April 30, 2011

Are You Full of Sarcasm?

Do you have a co-worker or supervisor who constantly makes sarcastic remarks about your ideas or new projects? Sometimes these remarks are made at staff meetings as a form of ridicule and attempt to bond up with co-workers around the idea of not taking on a new task. Often these remarks are more passive in nature – done behind the scenes to discourage participation on a group project and undermine project success. Do you have a friend who always makes sarcastic remarks about your life plans and poop on your goals. Sarcastic comments are meant to get back at the targeted person to reduce self-confidence and perhaps even to reinforce the sarcastic person’s self-esteem.

Often sarcasm is not recognized as a negative trait and people may couch the comments as jokes or even compliments. Sarcasm is more about tone than the words used. “Good Job” or “Great Idea” can be sarcastic if said in a mocking tone. If you complain about such comments, you might be looked at as crazy or ultra-sensitive. Are you that sarcastic person who cannot say anything without a mocking tone in your voice? Are you chasing people away with your behavior and negative attitude?

Why is Sarcasm a Type of Bullying?

The intention of sarcasm is to hurt. As a result, it is a bullying type of behavior. It works because you cause pain to others. Sarcasm is negative for the workplace because it discourages new ideas and encourages bonding among co-workers who are engaged in mocking someone else instead of being productive. Such workplaces are those of intimidation and fear to try innovative approaches that may be sarcastically criticized. Growth and excitement around the work may be diminished and company or organizational success is jeopardized.

Sarcasm is your personal life will ruin your close relationships and push people away, as they will eventually seek more positive and supportive friends. Your friends will stop confiding to you or sharing their life because of your sarcastic tone. Their behaviors, attitudes, and words will change around you, as you condition them to feel that it is unsafe to express themselves and bully them into being silent.

How to Stop Being Sarcastic?

Sarcasm can be an addictive behavior in which you reach for that quick sarcastic remark to avoid expressing your true feelings and concerns.

  • Recognize Your Feelings: Take responsibility for your own feelings. Own your feelings. Think before you speak. Why are you bashing something or someone? What are your real feelings? How can you express these feelings in a more productive manner?
  • Motivation: Why are you making a comment? Is your comment really necessary to move the discussion forward or is it just designed to be evil or get attention? Are you trying to push someone away or avoid dealing with an issue?
  • Goals: What goal do you hope to achieve by being sarcastic? Are you achieving these goals? Probably not. Sarcasm is a negative behavior. You might feel happy for a moment - at the exact time you are taking a jab at someone. However, do you have long-term happiness from being sarcastic?

The best advice is to take a moment to think about your behavior and how you appear to others. What is the image you want to portray to others? Embody that image as who you are and express it with your behavior. Be that confident, competent, and lovable person you think you are. Show the world your best self.


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    • profile image

      Julie 3 years ago

      I have always thought of humour to be vital in life. My dad had a warped sense of humour and zinged out mostly funny, sarcastic remarks. For as long as I can remember I was always trying to be the "funny" one; always trying to make people laugh without being a full-fledged clown. Unbeknownst to me (even though it was pointed out several times), over the last ten years, my sarcasm and "need" to be funny got out of hand. Things were going on in my life that I was not happy about and the comments got the best of me toward my spouse. He did ask me to stop several times, but I really didn't understand the damage I was doing. I thought he was too sensitive, didn't have a sense of humour and needed to lighten up. He left me and our three children (two are under the age of 3) recently. Not until now, and doing much reading over the last couple of weeks, do I REALLY understand what I have done. I'm now in "self-rehab" to STOP this behaviour. I feel that the damage I have done to him may be irreparable and I will have lost a wonderful man who did so much for me, had so much patience with me, and forgave me time and time again. I have recognized that I have a problem and I am working to stop this. It's a very harsh and sobering feeling when you finally realize that you are unintentionally (in your mind) abusing the person you cherish most in your life. Sarcasm can be affiliated with humour if done correctly, but don't let it get out of hand. Though I cry everyday for our loss, I am trying to stay positive and be thankful for each day that I wake up breathing and have happy, healthy children. I pray each day that I can right my wrong. I can never take back the pain that I've caused; I can only apologize from the heart and continue progressing at becoming a more positive, non-sarcastic person.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

      Sarcasm is almost always hurtful. Unfortunately, some people get in the habit of using it in in their everyday conversation without even realizing it. The words we use, and how we use them have meaning and consequences.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Sarcasm is usually packaged as something witty and touche, but it often comes off as "I am wittier than thou, you creton". I cringe when people feel they need to be sarcastic. Also, I feel sarcasm is often used by those who feel a person who is cheery and vibrant is fake, without taking the time to realize there are actually people who are that way because they have a passion for life. Even if you think someone is fake, there is no need to make a sarcastic response out of it. People should be more supportive of each other than this, and sarcasm just feels very unsupportive, and can deter creating a sense of community.

    • profile image

      Rida Zahra 5 years ago

      Thanks! i used to be very sarcastic person.

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      jan 6 years ago

      I say sarcastic remarks to my daughter,which i dont meen to as i wory about her and what she is doing with her life, she wont really talk to me she gets cross with my way of dealling with it if she wont talk to me is to be sarcastic rather than have a bad argument with herand maybe fight.

    • profile image

      nelly 6 years ago

      I pulled my ligaments at work on wedensday and one of my collegues keeps saying her knee hurts. because she knows ive done mine but i know she doesn't have any problems with her knees. and she just keeps making sarcastic comments about me to other people. is this classed has bullying in the work place.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for the vote up mattdiglullio. I had being on the end of someone's sarcasm, especially when it is meant to hurt me.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 6 years ago

      I've been on both ends of the sarcasm train. No fun in the end. Love this hub. Thanks! Voting up, interesting, etc. Best, Matt

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • louromano profile image

      louromano 6 years ago

      Nice hub!

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for the vote up and sharing my article. I appreciate the encouragement.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 6 years ago from Chennai, India

      Very well-written & wise hub on sarcasm. I have met sarcastic people who often insult me for no reason! My mother always advise me to ignore them and I did so though I found it highly irritating! Your hub is eye-opening. Well-done.

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      molometer ~ yes, most of the time I think the intent is to be hurtful.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very useful hub.

      Sarcasm it is said is the 'lowest form of wit'.

      I think I agree with you, that it is much more insidious than that.

      Voted up and SHARING

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Yes hoteltravel, I agree. I think it is a fine line between hurting or humor. Some people don't understand the difference.

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      Sarcasm can have positive or negative effect. It depends on the intention of the speaker and mindset of the listener. In an office setup like the one described, sarcasm can cause as much damage as bullying. But sarcastic comments told with a hint of humor can be productive.

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      popopop 6 years ago

      sarcasm isn't always an attempt to bully others. I've known perfectly caring people who were sarcastic. What it really is, is 'overcompensation'. sarcastic people often feel they lack in some regard, so they attempt to make themselves and others feel MORE comfortable by being sarcastic. Of course, it only makes them feel more comfortable, but they might not realize that because people will tend to laugh at sarcasm, whether or not it's funny - as long as someone else is laughing.

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      Baby Barbie 6 years ago

      Sarcasm is ok to joke around with but i understand how its wrong 2 u but live ur life watever if people choose 2 act that way

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love dry humor. It is an art.

    • profile image

      lars 6 years ago


      Dry humour defined

      “dry humour” or “dry humor” (as Americans spell it) is humour told in a “dry” way, without emotion (e.g. seriously). So you tell a joke like it’s not a joke, in a matter-of-fact kind of way.

      It is an implied or indirect kind of humour.

      dry is really no more than a clever circumlocution or a punch line that doesn’t need to be said. — From article How Dry is Dry?

      Deadpan is a form of comedic delivery in which something humorous is said or done by a person, while not exhibiting a change in emotion or facial expression. — From Wikipedia definition of deadpan, which is what some people claim dry humour to be

      • I'm not a Pisces, but I can answer this one. ANY time you allow what someone else has said to hurt you for days, you are giving them tremendous power over you. You are allowing someone else to control your feelings, your emotions, to occupy your thoughts, in essence to take over your life. Why would you want to give anyone that much power? Words are just that, words. They can't hurt you when they come from someone else, unless you beat yourself with them.

      Sarcasm, for most people, isn't a weapon, its a crutch. Understand that. Then keep your own power, ignore, shrug off and move on. You don't have to snap back. Laugh and walk away. Or flip them the bird. Laughingly repeat what was said to you to friend in a Can You Believe This Idiot tone if it makes you feel any better. Then do what the rest of us do, think of all the witty things you should have said.

      I don't like sarcasm as it is so easy to do and takes no real effort. Meaning the person giving it out is really lazy or can't formulate real humour. I could be sacrcastic all day long and get most people to laugh at me (great for the ego if that's what gets you off). But there is a huge difference between brainless overuse of sarcasm which is very annoying and really good humour.. I often find people who use sarcasm a lot have basically no sense of humour so they use it as anyone can use sarcasm. You just use that tone of voice and because most people are really not very witty they get it because they are not too bright. I’ve heard people say it is intellectual and that people don’t understand their sarcasm because they don’t get it. We get it! We just don’t find it funny. Also, usually sarcastic people see themselves as being amazingly funny, and think they are funny because some people laugh at them to make them feel better, when they just come across as being a jerk who can't think up anything actually funny to say. Anyone can be sarcastic and so when one does it all the time it becomes boring and obvious they are doing it over and over because they can't think up anything else clever. They learn that it works when you are about 10-15 years old and then keep doing it when it is actually very annoying. Once is funny, twice is boring. So if you use sarcasm more than once or twice in conversation it gets boring. People laugh at your sarcastic jokes because they think you think they don't understand, when they actually do understand but it's just not funny. People laugh because they realise you need approval and a laugh for your sarcasm because that is what is usually driving it anyway (the need to get a laugh rather than it naturally coming out and you seek approval for your sarcasm to prove to yourself you are funny, when sadly often you're not). So what I'm saying is most people laugh at your sarcasm to make you feel better and to let you know they understand. People who don’t laugh usually understand your sarcasm but see it as lazy. I usually try to laugh a bit at sarcastic people to make them feel better but I really feel sorry for them as they have no real grasp of humour. It sort of makes me cringe and I observe this reaction in other people as well. It works well for people with intellect of about a teenager. I know that sounds mean but other people go on to develop a deeper, more rich sense of humour that sarcastic people just can't manage or understand as it has gone above their heads. I would say to overly sarcastic people, we get your sarcasm...we just don’t find it funny. But continue on if you like, people will continue to laugh at it to make you feel better and wish hopefully at some point you will stop. But most people who are sarcastic don't get this and continue on their whole life making it quite pitiful life and situation for others to watch. Especially close friends and family who have gone on to develop proper humour. Often sarcastic people lose friends and they rationalise it that they are too funny for other people or that other people don't get their sarcastic humour when they do but just can't handle the lack of wit, which nearly all sarcasm is based on… not being clever and being lazy and slumping back into being sarcastic. Often really intelligent people can't handle sarcasm as it is so dumb and mindless and shows a person's lack of ability to understand complex conversational structure. But sarcastic people are often fed by their egos and sarcasm can be a quick fix for a deflated ego. I could be sacrcastic to the person next to me (not very hard to do) and maybe get a laugh but anyone can do that. Most comedians know whether they are funny or not. And most people tell me I'm the funniest person they know and I was voted the funniest person in my class at highschool. I hardly ever use sarcasm even if I'm tempted. Dry humour with wit is what makes people cackle and roll on the floor, not lazy sarcasm I'm afraid. If you know you are sarcastic maybe have a think about this if you want to be more funny, which I'm sure you want to be because sarcastic people want desperately to be laughed at and it's why they do it. Often sarcastic people don't change and can't improve their comedy and are never genuinely funny or have much insight. It's just the way it is. People have often asked me about where my humour comes from and i have to say it comes from being kind, empathetic, insightful, being smart and resisting those urges to use saracsm all the time and instead actually insert something funny, insightful and all those things I mentioned at the same time. Really funny people usually have a deep understanding of others. Sarcastic people think they do that too, which they kind of do but on a much lower scale. It really is low on wit. And in my experience people really appreciate wit and observation as not everyone in this world can do it and it is a gift. Anyone can learn to be sarcastic. Sorry guys but sacrasm just isn’t that funny. People sometimes laugh at you because they are not witty and are sarcastic themselves. People also laugh to clear the air and not make it feel so awkward for you extroverted attempt at comedy. And you are on the same playing field with other sarcastic people. But you probably disagree as that's what sarcastic people are like. They always see themselves as funny even if other people have never told them they are really, really funny. I sit in the staff room at work and everyone jokes with me and are attracted to me and want to share genuine jokes all the time, every day. I am very aware of how funny and i am and people tell me all the time. It’s almost a curse as people come up to me all the time and are attracted to me and I don’t even want or need that approval. My tip for all you out there trying to get in on the act (i notice people trying to be funny as well) is...*****..

      don't care if people laugh at you...if you are truly funny you will know deep down and need no other approval. In fact sometimes when people laugh it can be annoying. Check out what all the master comedians do like Russell Brand, Chris Rock, William Defo, Daniel kitson.. None of them really give a shit what you think because they know they are funny and are funny and everyone tells them all the time. Daniel kitson said once in an interview 'You've either got it or you haven’t'' and unfortunately those who haven't want to have it and they use sarcasm to try and get it and be funny, but it isn't gotten easy. Sarcastic people have to work really hard on themselves and be really open to

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      CydneyDarby ~ I never realized how sarcasm could hurt until I was a victim of it.

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      CydneyDarby 6 years ago

      Enjoyed your article. I used to be one of those really sarcastic the point of being mean sometimes. However, I am a "recovering" sarcasm addict! I really enjoyed being snide sometimes, if you can imagine!? But I started studying the Bible and decided that the fruitage of the spirit does not leave room for such mean, alas I work dilligently at keeping my tongue in check. I really appreciated what you wrote about it being a form of bullying. Helps me keep it in perspective. :)

    • SpiffyD profile image

      SpiffyD 6 years ago from The Caribbean

      There's a link between irony and sarcasm, but irony is not necessarily negative and destructive. However, as this hub pointed out, sarcasm usually is. I can't see someone dishing out sarcasm so regularly to a friend; usually that is reserved for enemies or "frenemies." Again, there is a fine line between irony and sarcasm, and this hub points out what it is. Sarcasm is contemptuous and destructive. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      @ injured lamb, i think that sarcastic remarks are the worse kind of bullying because it is so indirect. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 6 years ago

      Love this hub of yours. Agree with you and Bud Gallant as well, I wouldn't let myself to associate with someone who loves making sarcastic remarks whether to me or others, it's kind of bullying behavior, and it hurts people like you said...

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      @ Bud Gallant, you have got the right idea to surround yourself with positive people~ less problems that way!

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed reading this. I don't know many people who have this issue with sarcasm, but I definitely wouldn't choose to associate with someone who was making sarcastic remarks to me. Like you said, it's negativity. I'm sure some people might not realize how negative it can be. I am really big on choosing to surround myself with positive people and positive influences. I think that's such an important thing.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • HennieN profile image

      HennieN 6 years ago from South Africa

      The golden rule here is: if you can hand this out, be prepared to receive back. If you are comfortable with this rule, by all means go on.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      I think sarcasm but usually don't say what I am thinking. Some day I will probably just explode and go off on everyone, my Mom used to say that I was too nice :-)

    • Ben_Anderson profile image

      Ben_Anderson 6 years ago from New Zealand, Auckland

      I don't mind sarcasm, but like any joke it can go bad.