Sarcasm is fun, but not when you’re living abroad

Since I can remember, I can’t control my sarcasm. Things just split out of my mouth, and then I have the feeling of “#$%^, what did I say.” Just last week someone threw a glass of coke on me because of a sarcastic comment (!!!). After one (ONE!) encounter with a staff in an old school my nickname became the “sassy Latina.” My ex-boyfriend dumped me, and I am pretty sure one of the main reasons was my excessive sarcasm. So yes, it is bad… I mean, if you can’t handle my strong (and smart) sense of humor, I would say I don’t I want to have you around… However, I’ve realized that living abroad makes sarcasm not necessarily a good thing, and maybe, just maybe, I should revisit this policy – I don want you around…



Sarcasm was always a handy tool throughout my life. If something upsets me, or makes me angry, I normally hide under some sarcastic comment. Other times, I just want to be funny. But given my current life-style, and the fact I would hate myself if I disrespected the local culture, I think I need to adjust (and bite my tongue…).  I first noticed my sarcasm could be an issue when my ex kept getting angry at me, and then dumbed me like 4 times (will let this for another post…). I am sure my sarcasm annoyed him in many ways, but also the ‘culture’ difference played a [big] role. It was a wake up call.

The main problem is: I keep moving around. I keep getting new friends, adjusting to different environments, interacting with people from all over the world, speaking different languages… Can you see the problem of sarcasm? In short: I realized I need to manage it, and if you live abroad or interact with international people, I would advise you to do the same. I am pretty sure sarcasm exists everywhere, in all cultures and countries. But having a sarcastic-foreigner might not be the best “first-impression”.

Often, sarcasm is indicated by the tone of your voice, or the way you compose a sentence, or the use of certain words and expressions. It demands a total control of the language and good vocabulary. So… it is easy to have sarcasm being misunderstood. It might be seen as offensive, inappropriate or not-welcome in some cultures. Or even childish and foolish.  Also, a lot of times people speak 2, 3 or 4 languages and might not get sarcasm in all of them. A sarcastic comment may be interpreted literally, for example a “whatever” or “do you?” in the end of a sentence can make no sense, create confusion, or at the worst case scenario, be rude and impolite. And the biggest problem: the worst thing you can do in a foreign country is to disdain, disrespect, or look down at the local culture – and if someone do not get sarcasm, you might give the impression you are doing just that…

I want to be respectful and polite to everyone I meet on the road. Cultures, countries, and languages fascinate me. I love to listen stories about their beloved countries, or to listen to their perspective in politics, foreigners, food, or anything they want to share. Being sarcastic in the wrong time might prevent me of having this remarkable interactions, or it might give the wrong impression. So it is time to manage my sarcasm and save it for old friends (I am sorry if you are an old friend, you might get overwhelmed from now on…)

If you have the same issue as I do, we are in this together! Time to bite our tongues, and control our sarcasm. Never too late (never!) to start a new habit in order to take advantages of ALL the joys of moving around the world!


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