Do you ever try to make a joke and people just think you’re stupid? Yeah, you probably are.
OMG Chuck from Accounting I’m kidding. It’s called sarcasm, jeez.
This is the problem with using sarcasm (which is totally awesome) in the workplace, you get silly ole’ Chuck from Accounting not getting the joke and thinking you’re seriously calling him stupid. To be fair he isn’t the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree, but you’d never tell him to his face.
Sarcasm might not be the most effective communication style in the workplace, but according to new research from the Businesses schools of Harvard, Columbia, and INSEAD, there are some psychological benefits to a little verbal irony. By decoding something sarcastic from a friend or colleague your brain is converting the literal meaning to the actual meaning of what the person is saying.
“This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking,” says Francesca Gino, professor at Harvard Business School.
So basically this is an excuse to go up to your boss and tell them how cool you think they are, and then internally knowing it’s sarcasm right? Eh, probably not.
As tragic as it may be, this research isn’t giving you a green light to be an outright jerk and think no one will be mad at you. That’s the major risk of using sarcasm—sometimes it can hurt feelings or bruise egos. The researchers show by integrating sarcasm in a mutually trusting relationship, however, there is less chance of bad blood. If two people are in on the joke, both minds can benefit and no feelings are hurt.
Since sarcasm promotes creativity and you are one of those people who probably runs at 5 a.m. and reads one self-help book a day, here’s some of our favorite sarcastic gifs about sarcasm to keep that ticker ticking through your day: