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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

How about you?
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

A cool t-shirt, the secret of sarcasm and why smiling is the best option available to you and me

Wearing the right t-shirt is a way of life.
So what would your t-shirt tell about you?
What would a stranger on the street think about you, merely because of your t-shirt?

Yesterday one of my colleagues had this funny black t-shirt on:

[The motto of this t-shirt is: "SARCASM - 
Because beating the crap out of people is illegal"]



I found the t-shirt brilliant and a perfect fit for the guy, who is a very funny and friendly and yet sharp person, if he feels like it.
The motto of the t-shirt made me immediately smile and I thought that it is actually true, that we use sarcasm in order to fight against someone without striking or beating him or her. Not physically, at least.

We are used to be sarcastic most of the time, or even all the time, and for a lot of people this is absolutely normal. Sometimes we are sarcastic without even realizing it and we don't notice that our words can sound insensitive or too harsh for someone else. 

While being sarcastic we are fighting, as already said, but actually we are above all self-protective. It can happen that we feel threatened by a situation, a person or a sentence. We are scared, maybe unconsciously. And then we react defensively... 

Sarcasm is an amazingly effective strategy in such situations.
The English playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton already said in 1839 that The pen is mightier than the sword and we can be sure that our words can strike harder than a punch, if we want them to.
They could hit hard and be painful and distressing. They could be remembered and be able to provoke the same pain over and over again, every time the person would think about them again.

It's not possible to eat your own words. If you say something offensive to someone else, the words will be there forever. Sometimes it is possible to make it up, sometimes it isn't. As soon as you say something, the words are not yours any longer.
The person you are talking to owns those same words now, and it's not up to you any longer, how the person will react or what this person will think. You can't foresee how the person will use them, if in your favor or against you.

Are you ready to take the risk?
Is the risk worth it?

Personally, I am not ready to take this risk. I am slowly but surely learning that it's better not to say anything, if I can't say something nice or if I am too mad at someone. I don't have to have the last word every single time. 

Otherwise, the stakes are pretty high that I would end up only regretting anything I could say. There is no undoing, if it comes to sarcasm and angry words. Life is short and I prefer to smile. 
What about you?

ps. Thanks to Ozzy for the great pic!

Tags: Sarcasm, Verbal provocation, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Quotes

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Mae West, the art of love & the golden silence

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