The Third Method: Being Cynical and Sarcastic

Being cynical and sarcastic is beautifully illustrated by the humor of Don Rickles. Watching him, we sense what an angry person he is because there is always such a cruel edge to his jokes. Contrast that with someone like Jay Leno. His jokes are all in good fun.

Remember the TV program M*A*S*H where the actors spent lots of time and energy playing tricks on one another?  As observers, we recognized how very angry they were that the US Army had them patching up solders only to have those solders go right back into harm’s way. So, to unload their anger, they played cruel jokes on one another.

If you wanted to take the cynical‑and‑sarcastic approach with the criticizing co‑worker, you might tell him or her, “That’s a nice dress/suit you’re wearing. Too bad they didn’t have it in your size.”  A relative who is jealous of you, at a family gathering and in a loud voice, he or she might say,  “Did you say you were looking forward to your thirtieth birthday?  Well, sister, you’re looking in the wrong direction.”  These people are always quick to say, “Oh, I was just joking.”  But their so called joke hurts nevertheless.

Cruel jokes and sharp-edged nasty comments mask a lot of hostility.

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