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Using Sarcasm To Flirt May Not Be The Best Idea, Science Says

You're not a mushy girl. You're not just going to tell the guy you've been seeing, "I like you so much, that was the sweetest thing anyone has EVER done for me." No, that's just not your style.

So what do you do instead? Text him a "You're alright, I guess."

OBVIOUSLY, what you mean here is that he's the best thing that's ever happened to you, and you think statues and monuments should be named after him... but you're not just going to say that like some madly-in-love, obsessed nut job.

After you send the text, you think to yourself, "He'll get what I'm saying...he knows me." The two of you have been hanging out with each other for months. He knows your humor. There's no way he's not going to get your sarcasm.

Then, he responds, "Ouch."


Well, according to a new study published in the Journal of Human Communication Research, it's no surprise that he didn't get your sarcastic joke. The study found that nobody, not even your very best friend, is good at deciphering your emotional tone in a written message.

Nobody, not even your very best friend, is good at deciphering your emotional tone in a written message.

In a series of two experiments, participants were asked to draft various emails with specific emotional tones to be sent to either their friends or complete strangers.

Unsurprisingly, people believed their friends would be better than strangers at interpreting their emails. But the research actually found that the level of closeness between writer and reader made no difference at all. Friends weren't any better at gauging the emotional tone of written messages than strangers were.

To make matters even more awkward, the more confidence the writer had in their friend, the less success their friend actually had with interpreting the email.

So what does this research tell us? Well, odds are, if your BFF isn't going to detect the sarcasm in that "you're alright, I guess" text, then the boy you've been boinking for a few months isn't going to pick up on it either.

Citations: Even Your Friends Can't Tell When You're Being Sarcastic Over Email (New York Magazine: The Science of Us), Overconfidence at the Keyboard: Confidence and Accuracy in Interpreting Affect in E-Mail Exchanges (Wiley Online Library)