24 October 2013
iExamen: Sarcasm or Kindness?
After completing another day of self-observance, I learned a lot about the way I communicate with others when I essentially can only say kind, useful, and true statements. To be quite honest, while I thought this would be really easy to do, this was pretty hard. For anyone that knows me well, they would know that I am a very sarcastic person. As a result, I do not tend to say the kindest things; rather I will make a sarcastic joke and just play around. While observing the way I communicate with others, I realized I couldn’t necessarily make these sorts of comments or pass judgment. Throughout the day, I was aware of what I was saying to others, which essentially made me convey what I was thinking with a different “personality.” While my actual personality was not altered, I spoke differently with people that I am very comfortable with. Rather than continuing with sarcastic or funny remarks, I made sure to say what I was thinking in a nicer way. In doing this self-observation exercise, I was able to realize the difference in my communication skills when I am around people I am comfortable with and essentially have to say nice and true things.
I started off my Saturday of fall break (October 19th) with a quick shower while my two remaining roommates were still sleeping and got ahead on homework that was due for the upcoming week. The room was quiet and the three of us kept to ourselves for the majority of the day. It was also a gloomy day, so it was extremely hard to even get out of bed at that point. Around noon one of my roommates came out of the room and we sat in the common room talking. She was getting ready to go apple picking and asked me how her outfit looked. She had put on a necklace that I didn’t necessarily think went with the outfit and as a part of this exercise, I had to tell her the truth in a nice way. Normally, I would sarcastically make a joke hinting that I didn’t like the necklace that much. This time; however, I told her in a nice way that she should try a different necklace that was simpler looking and matched better with the outfit. Through this particular experience, I was aware that I had to communicate my thoughts differently and told her in a nice and honest way, however, I was kind of timid in telling her. I didn’t want her to think I was being mean. When I make sarcastic jokes, it comes off as a joke and she doesn’t take it personally because she knows that’s my personality. This time, when I wasn’t sarcastic, I wasn’t sure if she would think it was a rude remark or not. Therefore, through this particular experience with one of my roommates I found myself making sarcastic judgments in my head, but told her the truth in a kind way. Therefore, I made myself aware of what I was thinking and communicated it differently than I normally would.
While the rest of the day was pretty quiet, I found myself changing how I communicate through my text messages as well. One of my good friends here at Loyola had texted me wondering if I wanted to take a ride with her and her other friend to Annapolis. In my head, I found myself thinking, why would I want to do that? It’s already 2:00 and you want to go now? At that very moment, I realized that I was passing judgment on the ideas that my friend had presented to me. Again, I would normally tell her in a joking way that I didn’t really feel like going. This time, I told her honestly what I thought of the idea. I did so in a kind way suggesting that it is kind of late and it would almost be pointless to go. She understood where I was coming from after I had sent her a text message back. During this instance, I made myself aware of the judgments I was passing in my head and communicated them in a nicer and kinder way to my friend. Overall this experience made me realize how I was still making judgments, but ultimately communicating them in a much nicer and different way than I normally would. This made me aware of how I normally communicate and my true personality.
Throughout the rest of the day, I didn’t realize any other situations where I was communicating differently or speaking differently. Because it was fall break, no one was really around. Also, because it was a pretty gloomy and gross day, everyone in my room all kept to themselves, stayed in their rooms, and napped.
While I only described two instances where I really made myself aware, I was able to learn a lot about myself and the way I communicate with others, especially people I am comfortable with and how that communication changes when I am forced to say things that are kind, true, and useful. I realized that while I typically use my sarcasm to get my point across, I had to change the tone in which I pass judgment and speak in order to communicate nicely and truthfully. Thus, this self –observation exercise helped me to become aware of the tone in which I speak to others and the way in which I communicate my thoughts.