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Improve Confidence and Learn to Deal With Sarcasm

Some people regard sarcasm as a heightened level of wit and sophistication. And it is true that witty, quick thinking retorts are often highly amusing and entertaining to others. How many of us have wished that we could have thought of that snappy rejoinder half an hour before instead of when we were driving home in the car ?

But sarcasm when both parties are not evenly matched can become a form of verbal abuse, a bit like a cat playing with a mouse, and equally unpleasant to watch. Dealing effectively with sarcasm can have several different approaches.

– Ignore it. Act a bit unworldly and treat the comments as if they were a valid remark. There is no sport in being sarcastic with someone who does not get the comments and they will give up trying if there is no reaction, if all that happens is a normal response that is oblivious to the inferences being made. Treat the remarks like water off a ducks back.

– Laugh at the comments. By joining in, their remarks lose their offensiveness, and laughter is often a great tool to defuse a tense situation. Being able to laugh at ourselves is an attractive quality and enables everyone around to comfortably join in with the humour too. You also show yourself as being confident enough to be able to relax and see the wit in the comments and the situation.

– Retaliate if you feel you are quick enough, but be wary of joining in a fight unless you know that you can win. And these situations can sometimes become quite unpleasant. Does it really matter to you that much or is it better to let it go ? Often by retaliating it can make the situation more difficult because the defence to sarcasm being nasty or cruel is often that the remark was meant as a joke. You can then appear to be excessively sensitive with no sense of humour. It is sometimes more embarrassing to pursue this line of conversation and better instead for you to pick one of the other options that I have outlined.

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– Consider why this person is behaving this way and saying these things. Are they genuinely regarding themselves as bright and witty, but becoming a little over the top, or are they trying to appear superior. Are they perhaps jealous or trying to score points and so becoming a verbal bully ? Often low self-esteem and confidence levels are a factor when someone is trying to win a war of words. There can be an attempt to demonstrate their greater intellect by a putting others down mentality. You can reassure yourself that they are less confident that they are appearing and usually everyone around can see that this is the case. This behaviour is often an elaborate cover up.

By protecting yourself in the most appropriate way you can reinforce the true belief that this situation is not about you. You are in a situation caused by another person to amuse and entertain themselves and perhaps others. Allow yourself to keep control, protect your confidence levels and you will emerge stronger and more confident as a result.

Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist
www.lifestyletherapy.net

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Cascia Talbert

Cascia Talbert is a devout Catholic, mother of five children, health and fitness enthusiast and positive parenting supporter. She is also the founder of the award winning online health, fitness, parenting and Christian faith magazine for moms, the Healthy Moms Magazine. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, five children and one spoiled cat. Her hobbies include gardening, country music, running, and playing her flute. Check out her first book, "Taking Care of your Family's Health and Well-being, Saints to Turn to and the Catholic Faith," available anywhere books are sold.

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4 Comments

  1. I don't like sarcasm.. I find it very degrading.

  2. Alicia June 9, 2010

    I think it depends on the type of saracasm, and also if the other person knows your personality. But, we have to be careful of offending others.

  3. Dominique June 10, 2010

    I too loathe sarcasm..especially unwanted rude comments from people who I do not know and think “they are right”. I feel it depends on the level and your association with the offender.. it does hurt at time but most of the time I try to ignore it as it doesn't help to get worked up over it if the sarcasm was deliberately made with the intention to hurt me.

  4. JamericanSpice June 10, 2010

    I am defensive against sarcasm. My husband family grew up that way and they use it to shield themselves it seems and sadly such a big family is so far apart and don't even know what the other struggles with.