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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 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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