You need look no further than Facebook or Twitter at any given time of the day to find an endless stream of sarcastic, cynical and negative comments about current events, celebrities, relationships, work or life in general. Sometimes, the level of snarky conversation we encounter online can be witty or even entertaining. But most of the time, it’s downright depressing.
Have you ever been around someone who literally hates everything? That’s what listening to a snarky person is like. The people out there that literally have nothing productive to offer beyond sarcastic commentary, hurtful criticism or mean jokes at someone else’s expense. All.day.long. At first it might be funny to hear them crack jokes about the latest celebrity or political scandal, but over time it definitely gets old. They always have something sarcastic or critical to say about any given person, topic or event. It’s almost as if they don’t know how to be positive, optimistic or happy about anything.
Because I see this behavior so much (online and off), I’ve started to wonder, what is the price we pay for snark?
What effect does engaging in negative, cynical conversation have on our mental health in the long run? Is it like secondhand smoke, clogging up our lungs, preventing us from fully accessing fresh air? Or is it truly harmless to say and hear negative things about ourselves and others day after day?
But honestly, and this is the main question that I tend to apply to everything these days, does being snarky make us happy?
Or, does it just help us fit in with all the other unhappy people?