Sarcasm. Undeniably funny, interesting, and intriguing if executed correctly. Today’s generation is so used to hearing and speaking in sarcastic languages that they don’t even realize they’re speaking in a native tongue to some members of older generations. Sarcasm is all over your college campus, in your peer groups, and it may even be in your family household. It’s a way to connect with people in a funny yet non-smothering way and create a sense of personality. It’s also excellent to use as icebreakers (among friends) and in awkward situations, as long as you’re not offending anyone or using it to be a “Bitter Betty” (also known as a grouch).
With my friends, I can tell them a whole story without saying one word of what actually happened and they’ll still understand the truth in all quantities, fact for fact. For instance, telling my best friend that I sprinted across a store without breathing to catch the last shirt on sale actually means that I took my time walking over there, trying it on, putting it down and coming back to it later to purchase it before anyone else snatched it up. Telling my father that a large boulder catapulted at my car’s windshield and cracked it means more along the lines of a small rock from a passing car chipped my window and it was relatively the size of a penny. Some people may call this embellishment, but sarcasm is used more so in the aspect that you KNOW the other person is going to know you’re exaggerating to make a conversation more entertaining.
For me, I’m used to plugging sarcasm into my everyday life. It comes out even more when I’m nervous, which can be a little awkward. There’s almost never a time that I’m not being sarcastic in some way, even if I don’t mean to! As college students, it’s really important to make sure you’re using sarcasm in the right places and at the right time. Telling your teacher, “Oh don’t worry, I love getting an F -.-” may just actually end up in you getting one. To your fellow peers, that statement may mean, “The last thing I’d ever want to do is get an F” but to your teacher, that statement means “Oh don’t worry, I love getting an F”.
See how that works out?
The other thing you have to be careful about with sarcasm is that a lot of times, people who don’t understand sarcasm or use it as frequently as you do may think what you’re saying is rude or a little too blunt. Even if you’re just kidding, sometimes being sarcastic at the wrong times or in conversation with the wrong people can give off the impression that you’re a bit hostile or rude. If you’re just getting to know someone and you’re not sure if they are hip with the sarcastic lingo, do without it. I’m sure you can think of a million things from the English language to talk about without inserting “said no one ever” into your responses.
Sarcasm in conversation is one thing, but sarcasm in print is another. Sarcastic writing is great for personal blogs and social media sites, but less satisfactory for school assignments or term papers. It’s important to remember that when you’re writing an assignment, you’re writing as a student who’s learning to be a credible and professional writer. For this reason, unless you’re writing a piece for a creative writing class or specialty assignment, don’t use sarcasm. Writing a report or term paper relies heavily on stating and citing credible and truthful information. Sarcasm, although it may be funny to those who understand it, could be misinterpreted as an embellishment of facts or truth that could get you in trouble with your professor.
Not to mention, using sarcasm to say things that you’re trying to say the opposite of (the “Grade F” situation for an example) could make you look incompetent (also see; “hopeless”). You’re using it as an “of course I already know that” type of statement, but for people that don’t thoroughly understand how sarcasm works may just think you’re missing really vital concepts and then just look at you like your brain fell on the floor. This happens a lot in the work environment. Your boss tells you that you need to do a better job mopping the floor, and you respond with “Oh no, usually I just pour water on the floor and then leave for the day” with a smirk on your face.
You’re probably just going to make your boss think that you actually just throw buckets of water on his company floor to create safety hazards for everyone. Then, you’ll probably be looking for a new job. Obviously you mopped the floor with the best intentions and to the best of your ability, but you shoved your whole foot and ankle in your mouth trying to be funny and sarcastic at the wrong time.
So, whether you’re a new or returning college student, make sure to use your sarcasm in quantities. Besides the coming off with the wrong impression stand point, you could really wear your good material out! Use it sparingly and with the right audiences, and you’ll both maximize your credibility as a student and employee while still impressing your friends and social circles.