Knowing how to stop being sarcastic is a challenge in and of itself to a naturally sarcastic individual. Whether your intention when using sarcasm in an interaction is sinister or not, it cannot be denied that this approach can be destructive to your social life.
If you believe you use way too much sarcasm in your day-to-day socialization, then good job! You’re on a very good first step! Awareness is the first thing you need to consider here. As long as you know you’re doing something wrong, then you can actually move forward with fixing it. That said, Here are 20 ways you can stop being sarcastic so you can make your interactions much more meaningful, and you can help yourself make more genuine friendships along the way.
Know The Line Between Being Funny & Being Insensitive
Sometimes, laughter indeed is the best medicine. However, there’s this one minor gripe about humor — it’s a hit-or-miss affair. Some jokes will land and absolutely make everyone in the room laugh out loud, some will receive simple snarks, and others will make certain people uncomfortable. Some jokes can even be outright hurtful.
Sarcasm can sometimes fall under the hurtful category. Not every sarcastic remark will be perceived as offensive, but if it isn’t used timely and correctly, you can send a negative message to the person you’re interacting with. We will expand upon the idea of being funny over being insensitive as you continue reading this, but for now, it is vital that you acknowledge the line between funny and hurtful and the fact that you shouldn’t cross that line if you want to be more socially active.
Internalize Why You’re Always Sarcastic
You don’t necessarily have to break down your entire psyche for this one, but if you can, try to figure out the stem of your sarcastic personality. Is it a defense mechanism? Have you had friends or peers in the past who have used sarcasm around you and that somehow left a lasting impression? Do you watch too many sitcoms? Whatever it is, figure it out and we can start from there.
If you really believe you’re being too sarcastic now that it is hurting your social life, this is one of the first steps you must take. Take it back from the beginning and work your way to the present. That way, you’ll know why and when you started using sarcasm in the first place and what you can do to minimize it.
Understand That There’s Nothing Wrong With Sarcasm
At its core, you need to realize that there’s nothing blatantly wrong with sarcasm. The problem arises when it is used excessively, during the wrong situations, and offensively.
As you build yourself to become a better social person and you believe your sarcastic nature is a hindrance, understand that the goal is not to stop being sarcastic altogether, but to merely keep them in check.
Realize Which Situations You Use Sarcasm More
Building up to the previous point, the best way to keep your sarcasm in check is to realize which situations to use them and when not to. Certain situations call for a more serious demeanor and interaction and using sarcasm at these times will only create unwanted tension, which in turn might destroy your chances of building up a friendly relationship with another person.
If the person you’re talking to, and everyone else around you are being serious whilst discussing a rather serious topic, heed the mood and be serious as well. When things start to loosen up a bit, that’s when it’s time for you to break the ice and lighten the mood. Timing and appropriateness should always be considered.
Learn To Be More Honest
One of the best ways to avoid being unintentionally and hurtfully sarcastic is to simply be honest. In some cases, people use sarcasm when they’re trying to avoid a serious interaction and being honest. If you’re one of these individuals, let go of that restriction and allow yourself to be honest more often.
Honesty will allow you to be more open towards others and it will even help you make deeper bonds. If you have something you need to say that’s constructive, helpful, and meaningful, don’t coat it with humor. Instead, say it outright, with full and complete honesty. Conversely, if you feel offended, hurt, or dislike something another has said or done, be honest about it too. Friendships are built on transparency. Be more authentic to stop being sarcastic. Be sure to keep that in mind.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should at least try to be lighthearted, even funny when being honest with your friends. What this simply means is that whenever something needs to be said, say it instead of being snarky about it.
Learn To Listen
Another way to stop being sarcastic during conversations is to actually have deep and meaningful interactions. The best way to do this is by listening. You shouldn’t only listen to a person’s words. You must also pay attention to their body language.
Listening to another person with full and undivided attention while also paying mind to their body language will allow you to understand them completely. You’ll be able to respond to their statements and questions appropriately, you can react accordingly, and the both of you will be in complete harmony while interacting with one another.
This point is also very helpful for you in figuring out whether it’s appropriate to make a hilarious sarcastic comment or not. If the person you’re talking to is in a bright mood or can be brought up by a joke, then you can proceed to indulge your comedic self. If they’re more serious than usual, then you should also match their pace.
Learn To Read The Room
This is similar to the previous point, only on a bigger and wider scale. If you’re interacting with a group, especially if you’re new to that circle, be sure to pay attention to everyone around you. Listen to them. Read the room.
If you’re new to a group, it is natural that you’re the one who’s going to adjust to their atmosphere. Having said that, you’re going to want to keep your sarcastic tendencies in check, especially if all of them are engaged in a serious conversation.
Only treat sarcastic comments as riposte tools during playful back-and-forths. Once you become comfortable with the others, and they to you, that’s when you can let them know just how quick you are with your sarcasm.
Understand Some People Don’t Appreciate Sarcasm
At the end of the day, there are just some people who won’t be able to appreciate sarcasm, regardless of how it’s used. These are people who prefer to keep their interactions serious and meaningful. They might engage in fun and humor from time to time, but they will always find sarcasm distasteful and unfunny.
Know that that’s okay. You just won’t be able to win these people’s attention by being sarcastic with them. Instead, employ other approaches. Be sincere with them. Use honesty. Engage in meaningful conversations with them. If you feel the need to make them laugh, tell a joke instead.
If you’re a person who tends to make sarcastic comments, it doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t be able to connect with someone who’s unable to appreciate them. Perhaps they’ll eventually be indifferent towards it as you grow closer with them. For now, though, mind your words and be sensitive to their emotions.
Talk To Your Closest Confidantes
One of the best ways you can adjust yourself, if sarcasm is something you really are struggling with, is to seek the assistance of those you trust the most. Confide with your closest friends. Ask them just how sarcastic you are and whether or not it has reached the degree of unbearable or worse.
Once done, you can then ask them what you should do and how you should adjust. Which areas and topics you should work on and whether or not your sarcasm has offended them in any way. Not only will this allow you to be better moving forward, but it is also an opportunity for you to apologize to them if need be.
Watch Stand-up Routines
This may seem like it’s out of left field, but regularly watching stand-up routines is actually very useful for you if you’re trying to work on your sarcastic behavior. Comedy is highly subjective, so not every single comedian is going to work for you, but all you need to do is to pay attention to the way they construct their stories and jokes.
If you happen to find a comedian whose sarcasms are rather hurtful than funny, then you’ll know to avoid those kinds of comments. Conversely, you’ll also know how to construct comments that are witty and funny.
Other than that, you can also gather inspiration from them on the kinds of stories you can tell to others. If you can’t make others laugh with sarcasm, you can make them laugh with other jokes, anecdotes, stories, and limericks.
Branch Out Other Ways To Be Funny
Never underestimate the value of humor when trying to build friendships. Perhaps you already know this too. Maybe one of the reasons why you make so many sarcastic comments is because it is your way of making other people laugh. Sarcasm can be construed by many as rude and insensitive. If this is the case for you, try other tactics instead of simply using sarcasm as a humor mechanism.
The previous point of watching stand-up comedians can also be beneficial here. Learn how to construct and tell funny stories. Reminisce on hilarious memories and tell them to other people. Humor is something people can learn and work on, which means it’s something you can work on too.
As mentioned earlier, though, know the balance between being funny and being insensitive. On top of that, also know when to make jokes and when to be serious. Timing is everything.
Keep Kindness In Mind
The reason why you should work on your sarcastic tendencies is that you don’t want to, and should not offend and hurt other people. With that in mind, all of this boils down to decency and kindness. As you’re working on yourself, keeping your negative tendencies in check, and trying to socialize with other people, just remember that you’re doing it for the sake of kindness.
If you start to feel it may not be worth it to work on this particular issue, then just remember it’s about being kind towards others. Sarcasm may not be necessarily harmful in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still important to be kind and sensitive towards others.
Watch Your Words Before Saying Them Out Loud
This is to avoid being tactless. It can’t be helped. Sometimes, a person can just say something, without paying much mind to it, that ends up affecting or hurting someone else. Incidentally, this is even truer with people who tend to be more sarcastic than others.
With that said, make sure to repeat the words you are about to say in your head to assess whether or not they’re offensive or hurtful. This is a process that’s going to grow on you as you keep doing it. Initially, going over the words in your head will take a few moments to process. Eventually, however, this process will end up getting faster and faster for you.
As you master this technique, you will be able to figure out if the sarcastic comment you’re about to say is hurtful or not, or if it even needs to be said at all. This can also be useful in other aspects of your social life, like whether or not an advice you’re about to say is useful.
Observe Other Sarcastic Individuals
There’s an incredibly small chance that you’re the only person you know who’s sarcastic. This trait is widespread, after all. Thankfully, you can use this to your advantage as you try to better yourself in this department.
Observe other sarcastic people and see whether their comments are offensive and hurtful or not. Check which works and which doesn’t. Analyze how they stage their remarks. If you find that their comments and approach are distasteful, then you’ll know not to use and follow them. If some of their remarks are actually hilarious without being offensive, you can take note of that as well.
Know That It’s Okay To Slip-Up
Nobody is perfect. Every once in a while, everybody is allowed to make a mistake or two. The same should apply to you. If you’re trying to stop being sarcastic and you happen to slip up every now and again, don’t feel too bad. Don’t give up. You’re allowed to make a mistake.
Instead, use those mistakes to be better. If a sarcastic comment ends up insulting someone, use that opportunity to make it up to them. Be more friendly towards them. Show them you care. If nothing else, internalize what you did wrong to make sure you won’t make the same mistake again.
Let Other People Know You’re Working On It
Whenever you do slip up and it slightly affects your relationship with friends, let them know you’re actually working on yourself. Most people will understand, and even appreciate the fact that you’re working on something you know is harmful to the relationships you already have, and the ones you’re about to build.
By doing this, you might even get the privilege of being coached or mentored by someone else. Another aspect this can bring is the people around you can point out the things you did wrong in the past, constructively speaking. This information can then help you build yourself better.
Not everyone will perceive sarcasm in the same manner. Some will find it irritating, and some don’t mind it so much. Letting others know you’re learning how to stop being sarcastic will net you feedback from both sides. This brings me to my next point…
Whenever you do receive feedback, embrace them with open arms. Those words will help you. Besides, the friends and peers who give you feedback are the ones who actually care enough about you to help you succeed in your goal in trying to stop being sarcastic. Not only should you embrace the feedback, but you should also thank your friends for giving them.
Take any feedback you can and think hard on them. Learn from them and build yourself up from there. Aside from that, tell the friends you’re conferring with what you already know about your sarcastic tendencies, which areas you’re working on, and everything else in between. Treat it like a project to make your endeavor more entertaining.
Learn To Be More Articulate
Being articulate is one of the best traits a social person can have. The better you’re able to speak your mind, coherently and responsibly, the less you’ll have to rely on sarcasm to get a point across. Being articulate is even helpful in other aspects that can function as a substitute for sarcasm, if the main stem of the fact for you is to attempt to make people laugh. If you’re articulate, you’re able to form and tell stories and jokes better.
Of course, being articulate is a matter that’s easier said than done. That said, it’s something you will want to work on if you want to stop being sarcastic, build new relationships, and build your social skills as a whole.
Surround Yourself With People Who Are Vocal
Surround yourself with other individuals who are vocal, social, friendly, and articulate. These are the kinds of people you will want to learn from if you want to be articulate, and ultimately learn to stop being sarcastic.
You might also be surprised to find just how many other social and articulate people also use sarcasm as a communication medium. However, the most socially responsible and adept people who are somewhat sarcastic know how to use them effectively. They are sarcastic when the conversation calls for it, nothing more and nothing less.
If you happen to find a friend who seems like the one described above, then you’re in luck! Simply go up to them and ask them how they’re able to minimize sarcasm to a pleasant degree, which should be your goal. Remember, the goal here is not to fully stop being sarcastic, but to know when and when not to use it, and how to use it without being unbearable.
Don’t Lose Your Sense Of Humor
Finally, it is vital that you do not lose your sense of humor once this is all done. Sarcasm is a humor device, yes, but it can also be very offensive, insensitive, and blatantly hurtful to so many people. There are so many ways to approach humor, and directly and knowingly hurting other people, especially the ones you care about and those you’re trying to befriend, isn’t one of them.
A socially adept person knows how important it is to have a sense of humor. With that in mind, remember to keep that trait if you already have it. Extend your humor to other things. Make a joke when a friend is down. Make them laugh using other means. You can even still make sarcastic remarks, for as long as they’re not hurtful. Keep a healthy balance, know what’s right and wrong, and you should be well on your way.
Knowing how to stop being sarcastic is one thing, actually applying it is another. Remember, it’s not about the idea of sarcasm itself, it’s how it’s used and its effects on those around you. Just keep in mind everything you’ve read here. Always try to better yourself so you can be a better friend and company to those around you.
The last point in this article is also very important. Do not lose your sense of humor. This is a positive trait you’re going to want to keep. Losing a trait as bothersome as irritating sarcasm can be challenging, but it is well worth it in the long run. Good luck!