Ok, ya gotta ask yourself…do you know the difference between teasing, flirting, joking, and sarcasm? There may be subtle differences but they are not the same!
Tease: to disturb or annoy by persistent irritating or provoking especially in a petty or mischievous way, or to tantalize especially by arousing desire or curiosity often without intending to satisfy it
Flirt: to behave amorously without serious intent
or to show superficial or casual interest or liking (many times with subtle inferences)
Joke: something said or done to provoke laughter; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist or finding the humorous ridiculous element in something
Sarcasm: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain…or a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
It always surprising me that most individuals truly do not have the knowledge of how to use ‘wit’ with humor and yet they use ‘mean’, ‘degrading’ and ‘cruel’ words to the ones they love the most with a mask of calling it sarcasm.
There are subtleties in language that are needed for joking, teasing, flirting and sarcasm to be effective. It truly involves several different areas of the brain (language centers as well as the higher executive functioning of the pre-frontal cortex) and then an integration of left and right hemispheres!
If any of these ways of ‘kidding’ are used without the ability to differentiate between them they can come across as rude, crude, mean, harsh, and hateful of certain people or groups of people.
It is becoming more evident that our children are exposed to many forms of ‘play on words’ that are involved in supposedly having fun at someone else’s expense. We see this in children’s movies, in online games and cartoons. Therefore, when this ‘mean humor’ is interspersed with these mixed-messages, of laughing and smiling, it is confusing and extremely difficult for most children to comprehend the actual message being conveyed. They think people are just being mean to them, and if the kidding is done poorly, then they are just being mean!
So, what do these kids do back? They protect themselves, they bully…become behavior problems…retreat with-in themselves or lash out.
We are not born with the ability to understand these subtleties…we need to ‘teach’ our children what is meant by subtle expressions, idioms, metaphors and what people truly are saying when they are being sarcastic…and then ask yourself, what is it I truly want to ‘model’?
Caution: All kidding aside, use your ‘wit’ in a healthy, loving, kind, manner and let’s have FUN!!!