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Productive Conflict – Sarcasm

Do you know someone who is sarcastic too often? It makes one wonder why they express that behavior. Turning to the Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict Reference Guide for words of wisdom about sarcasm, it reads:

“In conflict, sarcasm is a close cousin of passive-aggression. It allows us to take a shot at someone or express our hostility without being too obvious about our real motivations. It’s for when we’re not quite committed enough to yell at someone, but still want to take them down a peg or two. And sarcasm is such a tempting tool in the midst of conflict because we can always claim that “I’m just joking…seriously, lighten up.” We feel like the “just kidding” excuse gives us immunity after subtle attacking or demeaning someone. Ask yourself: If jokes are half-truths, what truth am I unwilling to express?”

This makes me think of the sarcasm queen, Dorothy from the Golden Girls show. She was hilarious, although she was saying hurtful things. As an example: Rose said, “shall I get Sophia a glass of water?” Dorothy replies, “No Rose, you should sit there and watch her hack herself to death”. I believe what Dorothy really wanted to say was “of course you should, you idiot.” Not everyone lets sarcasm slide right past them. We pick up on it eventually. There is a time and place to joke around. When the comment evolves from negative thoughts about someone else, it is best to bypass the urge to ‘joke around’.

To view the previous blogs in this Productive Conflict series, click the links below:

You can find more information including a video on Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict here: HR Solutions | Everything DiSC Solution | Personality Assessments and Training (

Contact me if your organization is struggling with conflict so we can discuss how we can be of help to you. HR Solutions | Contact Us (

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