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5 Benefits of Having Sarcastic Friends That Annoy You

5 Benefits of Having Sarcastic Friends That Annoy You

In case you haven’t noticed, the New Year is a time for reflection and introspection, as each of us set new resolutions to change our lives for the better. This type of self-improvement can take many forms, and as an example I spent the first half of January reviewing and installing productivity apps on my iPhone to create a more efficient daily schedule.

While many of us look to make changes in our lives at the beginning of each year, however, it is also possible to seek inspiration in the people and things that surround us. Your friends can be tremendous sources of knowledge and learning, for example, even those who have been known to drive you to very edge of frustration with their sarcastic barbs!

5 Benefits of having friends that annoy you

In fact, having friends who engage in playful, sarcastic can be extremely beneficial, while they can also have a highly positive influence on your life. Here are five of the main advantages interacting with your most sarcastic and mischievous friends!

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1. Sarcastic friends can improve your creativity with sarcasm

While this may sound like a stretch, there is scientific evidence which suggests that associating with annoying and sarcastic people can actually make you more creative. More specifically, laboratory studies have proven that the use of sarcasm triggers direct interaction with others while stimulating the creative segment of the brain, which in turn helps both parties deliver increasingly inventive and cutting exchanges.

So, although it is often described as the lowest form of wit, sarcasm may actually be indicative of the type of exalted creative intelligence that can be used to stimulate others. I therefore try to embrace these barbed exchanges with friends and appreciate the fact that they help to maintain my mental sharpness.

2. Sarcastic friends encourage you to be open-minded

There have been other studies on the impact of sarcasm too, including initial investigations which deemed that sarcasm tends to make even neutral and generic statements sound critical. Given this and the fact that we are more likely to engage with individuals who share a particular viewpoint or respond positively to us as individuals, it is easy to see how we can quickly distance ourselves from even close friends who enjoy nothing more than the occasional, sarcastic exchange.

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Interestingly, studies actually suggest that we are more inclined to find sarcasm more damning that literal statements. This is counterproductive in the extreme, and instead we should consider how easy it is to misinterpret sarcastic statements that may actually have merit or be intended as positive comments. In this respect, interacting with our sarcastic friends (no matter how annoying) can encourage you to become more open-minded and responsive to those around you.

3. Sarcastic friends can make you more ambitious

Did you know that Pablo Picasso was only able to create his defining masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon due to an ongoing rivalry with French revolutionary Henri Matisse? Picasso, irked by Matisse’ clear disregard for artistic norms and diametrically opposed personality, was driven to greater heights of attainment purely by annoyance and a desire to best his rival. The two often exchanged pointed barbs throughout their lives, as they continued to clash and use each other to further their careers.

There was a mutual respect between the two, while some experts claim that they also had a friendship during the formative period of their artistic lives. This simply underlines how successful peers and friends who are adroit at delivering sarcastic (but light-hearted) put-downs can serve as an inspiration in life, as we strive to achieve more and create greater ammunition for spontaneous, cutting exchanges in the future.

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4. Sarcastic friends make us better communicators

Being a good communicator is a crucial life-skill to possess, but this is something that you must be able to apply consistently across all walks of life and individual platforms. While it may be easier to communicate with individuals who deliver their ideas in a similar manner to us, the true art of interaction lies in learning to process viewpoints regardless of how they are presented or communicated by others.

This brings us on to another sarcasm study, which revealed that this type of humor can be easily misinterpreted when it is communicated electronically. This study showed that while 73% of respondents were able to successfully distinguish between serious and sarcastic voice messages, for example, just 56% managed to do so when reviewing emails. With this and the rising prominent of electronic communication firmly in mind, it is clear that an appreciation for sarcasm and our mischievous friends makes us far better communicators in the modern age.

5. Sarcastic friends help us to know when to draw the line

There is no doubt that our sarcastic friends can be considered as fun, thanks primarily to their spontaneity and willingness to irk others in the pursuit of comedy. Personally, I have also reveled in instances where my most sarcastic friends have pushed the boundaries too far with individuals who do not know them well, causing them to back-pedal furiously and apologise with increased desperation. This underlines just how negatively sarcasm can be taken out of context, as fun and light-hearted comments are presumed to be cutting insults.

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It also has the added benefit of helping us to learn from the mistakes of others, especially in terms of knowing when to draw the line with good-natured, sarcastic barbs. More specifically, I have learned to restrict my sarcastic comments to people who I understand and know well, while also treading carefully when respecting the boundaries of new friends and colleagues. Research confirms that sarcastic statements are interpreted differently depending on the level of trust that exists within a relationship, and this is a key thing to remember when meeting new people.

Featured photo credit: Gabriel Saldana / Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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