We’re all advised to avoid sarcasm in our personal communications. But it turns out that sarcastic exchanges can enhance and boost your creativity. Sarcasm is frequently used as a way to hurt, demean, or belittle others. It also, too often, serves as a veil for hostility, when direct confrontation would actually get to the heart of the matter. In addition to this, sarcasm is frequently used as a tool to bully the naive and innocent. Knowing all of this, your takeaway might be that sarcasm is a terrible form of communicating and should be avoided at all costs. Hold that thought. It turns out that sarcastic exchanges can enhance and even boost your creativity. This is true both for the person doling out the sarcastic remarks and the person on the receiving end. So, for example, sarcasm might have a place in the office as long as the people involved in the exchange are savvy enough to be in on the joke, and the environment as a whole is supportive and not prone to hostility.

Proceed with Caution

Before you embark on a crusade to use sarcasm as a tool to boost creativity in yourself and those around you, here are a few facts to keep in mind:

  1. When it comes to sarcasm in written communications such as email, the sender often overestimates the likelihood that the receiver will understand the sarcasm, and take it in good humor.
  2. People witnessing sarcastic exchanges are often more likely to interpret the words as rude and insulting, not necessarily clever.
  3. The receiver’s creativity is only boosted if they get that the remark is sarcasm and don’t feel attacked by it.

How Does This Work?

Because sarcasm is not something that can be taken at face value, the brain must do extra work to figure out the actual sentiment that is being communicated. That’s a complex process. In order to extract the intended meaning from the literal meaning, the brain must analyze tone and facial expression. It's like writing a reflective essay. It must also use context, both from the immediate exchange and past exchanges. What all of this means is that the brain has to engage in abstract, rather than black and white thinking. Engaging in abstract thinking promotes creativity.

Consider an exchange where a teenager asks his father to buy him ridiculously overpriced pair of shoes. So the father responds with an offer to hand the kid over his credit card with the suggestion that he stops by the luxury car dealership as well. In that conversation, the father uses the creative approach to parenting and . The kid must figure from dad’s tone, past behavior, and other clues that his father isn’t literally offering to buy him a new car.

Getting the Benefits from Sarcasm while Avoiding the Pitfalls

Nobody can benefit from sarcasm induced creativity if feelings are hurt, people are embarrassed, or there is conflict created from misinterpreted or truly unkind words. Here are a few guidelines to consider:

  • Sarcasm should only be used in exchanges where both people are allowed to engage. It is unfair to create a situation where one person is allowed to make pointed remarks and the other is not allowed to match wits.
  • Sarcasm should never be used in discipline situations.
  • Some people simply avoid any form of sarcasm and that should be respected.
  • Care should be taken to ensure that the environment is supportive.
  • Misunderstandings or hurt feelings should be resolved in a respectful way, without resorting to belittling the offended party for not getting the joke.
  • Conflict should not be handled using sarcasm.
  • Sarcastic communication should not happen more frequently than direct and sincere communication.

With these guidelines taken into consideration, sarcasm can often spark witty exchanges that not only boost creativity but can add a shot of humor.

Author's Bio: 

Laura Callisen is a writing blogger and content manager at GrabMyEssay. She is eager to share here experiences and techniques with people looking for improving their writings and providing tips for effective personal growth. Visit her social profiles to find more : Google+, Facebook, Twitter