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(17 Posts)
Ceesnan Thu 18-Oct-12 13:38:13

I have a work colleague who is a past master of the sarcastic put down or comment, and who on occasion has reduced one of the young clerks to tears thanks to the barbed remarks she has come out with during what she refers to as "an exchange of views". I have tried to get her to see just how nasty some of her comments are but she doesn't seem to think she is doing anything wrong. Do any GNetters resort to sarcasm in arguments and if so then why? I'm asking as I'm trying to understand the mindset of someone who thinks hurtful comments are the way to win arguments.

Elegran Thu 18-Oct-12 13:59:11

Your colleague needs someone to say to her "OK, you've demolished the speaker. Now lets return to the exchange of views" and to repeat this ad nauseam until she sticks to the point that was being discussed and stops the personal attacks. It takes a lot of determination and a thick skin to beat her though. She sounds like poison in the workplace. Do her superiors know that she does this, or is she obsequious to them? Being sarcastic to the boss is not a good career move.

Elegran Thu 18-Oct-12 14:02:08

A tape recorder is a useful backup device to get evidence of her nasty attitude. Just reporting the event later does not get it over to someone else.

Daman Thu 18-Oct-12 17:44:30

Sarcasm is often the tool of those with poor self worth so it might be a good thing to think about the person in a kind way, to establish what their pain is.

Ceesnan Thu 18-Oct-12 18:34:09

Daman you sound such a kind hearted person! If my colleague has poor self worth she hides it extremely well, with an aura of supreme confidence in her own ability and an almost patronising attitude to her co-workers.
Elegran I like your suggestion of taping her remarks, she is generally careful to be seen as a keen team player when Management is present. I just don't understand why people resort to sarcasm

Daman Thu 18-Oct-12 18:47:13

Ceesnan I think you have to combine the strategy of Elegran and me.

Dont go for the person - go for what she does

JessM Thu 18-Oct-12 19:08:03

Another strategy is to say "Could I just clarify, was that meant to be a criticism because it sounded like one."

Ana Thu 18-Oct-12 19:33:17

Good one, JessM.

FlicketyB Thu 18-Oct-12 21:50:08

The other way is pretend not to realise the remark was sarcastic and take it seriously and start discussing with her what made her reach the conclusion reached in her put down and how that will affect working practices etc etc, I mean she does think it is part of an exchange of views.

I used to be subject to some fairly malicious teasing at school and to deal with it I began to act as if the perpetrator was making a useful contribution to a discussion and I would start discussing her remarks with her. After a while the teasing stopped. Later on, she made the throw away remark that there was no point in teasing me because I always took it seriously.

MargaretX Fri 19-Oct-12 15:00:54

I can't agree with daman I think sarcastic people are not people with poor self worth; to be sarcastic- really bitingly sarcastic, you need a sharp brain and a quick tongue. You need to be able to see the other person's weak points and at the right time move in and floor them. If this is well done then others who are looking on will laugh. It sounds cruel and it is. On the other hand it is often used as form of defence like in political debate.

It belongs to society and you won't eradicate it by turning the other cheek. Most sarcastic people are disliked by others so they get what they deserve anyway.
How do I know? My elder brother was always sarcastic towards me and so I learned at an early age to fight back and delivered some dreadful verbal blows when we were growing up.
I take care not to be sarcastic to others as it is cruel and hurtful but still can be if I'm pushed into a corner. My brother died some time ago and at the end of his life we had reverted to being kind and thoughtful to each other.

Daman Fri 19-Oct-12 16:43:22

The need for others to laugh, or to feel a victory is the essence of this. Those with poor self worth have found a way to score points over the perceived superior people.

Deedaa Fri 19-Oct-12 16:51:05

I have to admit that even my 5yr old grandson looks at me sideways sometimes and says "Granny, your sarcasm's showing!" but I do try not to unleash it with other people. In fact some people seem to think I'm really nice, so I must be covering it up quite well (she says hopefully!)

annodomini Fri 19-Oct-12 17:29:58

I used to be sarcastic but seem to have outgrown it (at nearly 72), but my younger GD (10) can be quite cutting at times. I hope she can curb it before it gets out of hand. It's a risk, I think, with very verbal children who don't need to be physically violent to make their point. And madam is nothing if not verbal!

absentgrana Fri 19-Oct-12 17:49:50

Irony good and enjoyable; irony plus contempt = sarcasm, bad. It is a rare human being who deserves contempt; although the actions of some certainly do.

annodomini Fri 19-Oct-12 18:17:36

Good definitions, absent.

Faye Fri 19-Oct-12 18:45:55

I would take Jessm's advice. I always think asking a question puts the other person in the position of having to explain themselves.

granniesruntoo Fri 19-Oct-12 19:58:17

I remember an expression 'Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit' . Maybe she needs reminding?