We all have our unique ways of expressing ourselves. We can also make ourselves pretty miserable trying to get others to express themselves the same way. Ashleigh Brilliant once wrote that “I need a map of your mind to avoid the most dangerous areas.” Wouldn’t that be helpful!
Some people have a very off-the-wall sense of humor. A person like that can be fun to be around and most entertaining. It is often difficult, however, to engage that same person in a serious conversation.
Humor is one way of expressing ourselves in tense situations to lessen the seriousness of the circumstances by taking the edge off. It is when humor turns into snarky remarks, snide innuendoes and sarcastic rhetoric that misunderstanding and hurt occur.
People who resort to a flip or arrogant answer to the simplest question are attempting to show they are in control and superior. It is important, particularly for the victims of such a sharp tongue, to understand just the opposite is true. The truly confident need not prove themselves to anyone; thinking oneself superior to others is a recipe for disaster. The psalmist admonished us to “safeguard [our] tongue against what is bad, and [our] lips again speaking deception.” (Ps. 34:13)
Does it really feel that good to always be the one with the “zinger” response that shuts down the other person? A person who is secure in him- or herself does not need to make others feel stupid, unappreciated or insignificant. The individual who is truly confident has the ability to understand others, communicate effectively and listen to people around them without any need to put down friends, family or colleagues.
We live in very busy times. One way to deal with the madness in which many of us find ourselves in is to stop and give the person with whom we are talking our full and undivided attention. No finishing that last email while chatting on the phone with a loved one – the email can wait until you are done with your conversation.
Be present in the moment with love, understanding and appreciation of others. Taking the time to listen to what others are saying (and not saying) will enable us to respond with joy instead of a hurtful, snarky quip.