The problem with sarcasm

“Well, that was super helpful.”

Was it? Or are you trying to be sarcastic?

Because if it was helpful, you could simply write, “thank you, that was helpful.”

On the other hand, if you’re trying to express disappointment or displeasure, you could write, “I’m disappointed that you weren’t able to contribute more here. We were really looking forward to your input.”

The problem with sarcasm is that the level of displeasure is hidden. You might come across as snarky when you don’t mean to, or, the snarkiness you were sending might not land.

My new rule of thumb is to always assume goodwill and ignore any perceived sarcasm. Call it a Type II sarcasm-detection error.

It’s hard to imagine a situation where sarcasm is the most effective way to make your point.


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