However, the researchers also observed that, in some instances, sarcasm enhanced tension. If you've consulted any speech coaches or marriage counselors, this probably isn't news to you. Psychology Today defines sarcasm as "hostility disguised as humor."
While addressing this finding, the researchers discovered that conflict arose specifically when there was already a feeling of mistrust between two people.
"While sarcasm in a non-trusting relationship fuels conflict," they wrote, "sarcasm in a trusting relationship is less harmful and may even bring individuals closer." So, as long as there's a sense of trust, sarcasm "allows individuals to reap the benefits of creativity without incurring conflict."
In light of these apparent cognitive benefits, and contrary to popular opinion, the authors endorse the use of sarcasm in the workplace.
So maybe go find out if your coworker trusts you by unleashing some of that dry wit you've been holding back. Just don't be surprised if they come back at you with an equally dry, "Ha ha."
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