Advertising
Advertising

Study Finds Sarcastic Comments Boost Creativity

Study Finds Sarcastic Comments Boost Creativity

Sarcasm is best known as the lowest form of wit, often by those who are frequently burned by it. Most people encourage you to avoid using it in daily speech. This is especially true when talking to people you do not know.

Sarcasm gets a bad rap and not without just cause. Too much sarcasm can lead to contempt, hurt and the inability to get anyone to take you seriously. Yet, sarcasm is not all bad. In fact, there is some evidence that from greater sarcasm comes greater creativity.

According to recent research, people who use sarcasm tend to be more creative. Those who have sarcasm directed at them are also more creative by extension. Thus, instead of disowning sarcasm altogether, it can be used to spark creativity in certain scenarios.

Advertising

What Is Sarcasm?

Sarcasm is a form of speech known as irony. It is the most common form of irony. It is often used as a humorous way to show thinly veiled disapproval or contempt.

Sarcasm is like mockery. Unlike mockery, sarcasm is most often detected in a person’s tone and vocal inflections. This is part of the reason why some people struggle to understand sarcasm between two cultures.

Sarcasm Is Often Misinterpreted

Some people interpret sarcasm as being rude. Others distinguish it as a valuable way to express your discontent without sounding like a complete jerk. Only one thing is certain: it is often misinterpreted.

Advertising

In a recent study, two people were asked to read different scenarios. In the scenarios, one person was doing something deemed as negative and a second person was commenting on the action. The second person would either comment saying something with a literal meaning or something sarcastic.

Not surprisingly, people saw the sarcastic statements as being more negative than the literal statements.

In another study, researchers noted that sarcasm is often misunderstood. This is particularly true when sarcasm is in writing. This is not a surprise considering that sarcasm relies on intonation and inflections.

Advertising

What is surprising was that people who deemed written sarcasm as being negative, thought they correctly interpreted the message 90 percent of the time. Yet, their confidence waned when it was time to interpret voice messages.

Sarcastic People = Creative People?

Sarcasm is a difficult tool to use correctly. However, this is what makes it force people to be creative when using and interpreting speech.

Because sarcasm relies on inflections and is so often misunderstood, it requires people to think more creatively to be able to understand the comment. If the comment does not resonate with the person right away, such as trying to sell them payday loans, they have to spend more time analyzing the comment to figure out what it is about.

Advertising

This process is an abstract one which relies on and promotes creative thinking. With so many meanings possible, the listener has to switch on their brain to process the information if they want to understand the real meaning.

Of course, sarcasm does not always require creative thought. Used in the wrong situation, it can shut down a conversation or a relationship. Thus, sarcasm is best used in relationships where the two people know each other well and have a strong relationship built on trust.

The need for a solid foundation is why you are able to respond in a creative and sarcastic manner to your best friend. However, if your boss makes a sarcastic comment, you are more likely to take it seriously and have a difficult time interpreting it. It’s hard to know if your boss means that you did a good job or if they mean that you actually did a terrible job when they used a sarcastic tone.

The word sarcasm comes from the Greek and Latin words “to tear flesh.” Even if it is tempting to use your more creative side, you should always think before unleashing that humorous hostility on another person.

Featured photo credit: Nirvana Melo via flickr.com

More by this author

8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality That Might Scare Some People How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity This Is Why Classical Music Lovers Are Smarter

Trending in Communication

1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next