You know them… snarky people.
The masters of that combination of sarcastic and cynical that ends up being smugly critical and absolutely unbearable to human beings after a while. If the snarks are your friends or co-workers, you can handle it because they will eventually go away.
Or you will go away.
But what if you live with a snark?
Living With A Snark
What if every time you screw something up, you can count on your partner to make a snarky remark like “Well, aren’t you the genius?” That should actually be called a re-snark, don’t you think? Or if you ask your partner if they got the mail yet, they say “No, I was waiting for it to be delivered by drone. Of course, I got the mail.”
A Snark In Sheep’s Clothing
Being snarky and sarcastic, although possibly a sign of creativity and verbal intelligence, is also a sign of something else: aggression disguised as humor at your expense.
It is a way of communicating something to you indirectly, and in such a way that there is no way for you to respond without looking even more foolish. It is cowardly bullying if you will. But, there’s actually a way to deal with snarks that is both effective and kind of fun, so let’s go snark hunting!
The best way to handle a snark is to “play dumb.” Of course, the snark will say “that’s not going to be that hard for you, now is it?” (Don’t you just hate snarks?) Another way to say that you’re going to play dumb is that you are going to force the snark to own up to what they are doing and communicate directly, instead of using indirect, sarcastic, snarky communication. You’re going to force the snark to shed his sarcastic wool and come out of hiding!
Snark: “Well, aren’t you the genius?!” You: “Are you saying that I am a genuis?” Snark: “Ummm…I thought it was obvious I wasn’t calling you a genius.” You: “Why would you call me a genius if you don’t think I am a genius?” Force the snark to say it: “I was calling you a genius to be mean. Because I didn’t think you were being very smart.” You: “Why would you do that?”
The Power of “Why?”
The most powerful question you can ask of a snark is “Why?” Mainly because the snark doesn’t ever think to ask why they are snarky. Or if it’s okay to be snarky to you.
But it’s high time he started.
Now that you know how to handle snarks, you can have some fun with the mean, sarcastic, attempts to belittle remarks that come your way. Refuse to read between the lines and remember to ask the all-important “Why?” question and you’ll make the ocean a lot safer to swim in. Or your apartment or home to live in. Or your workplace to work in.
Snark-free Zones: Come on in. The conversation’s fine!
Dr. Anita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist
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