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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: Un-Valentine a mean partner? Anyone?

If you’re stuck with an overly sarcastic lover, you are, well, stuck.

columns Updated: Feb 09, 2019 15:47 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times
Dealing with an overly sarcastic lover
Dealing with an overly sarcastic lover

A close friend recently asked me if I come from the family of ‘Tanasen’. That our discussion hadn’t involved an embarrassing display of my singing prowess thankfully helped me to not make it worse by breaking into a song. Of course, the query, ironically wrapped in delicious sarcasm, was referring to my sarcastic way of talking. Now if you know me, this wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I don’t mind a dash of sarcasm here and there. I feel it keeps the wit on its toes - in an era where the art of sustaining interesting conversation is getting as rare as the possibility of Raga and Modi exchanging sweet nothings on Valentine’s. Damn. I just visualised what I said, and now I’m horribly distracted from the subject. One awkward hug has scarred many a literary imagination beyond healing, I say. Er…coming back….sarcasm may not have been bad per se, but the truth is that it comes with such a blurred line between wit and taunts that it can leave the recipient way more frustrated than amused.

So on a cold, winter morning, here’s my warm tribute to the research team that suggests topics for this column and has ‘politely instructed’ me to write on love and Valentine’s Day this week. I want to write about how to deal with an overly sarcastic lover. See, I got love in there somehow – and three mentions of the wretched Valentine’s so far!

Let me make it relatable by putting it in questions, like the way they do in those Teleshopping ads.

•Does your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse mostly speak in a mocking tone?

•Are their taunts directed at you, more than situations?

•Do you sometimes not even know what you did to deserve the taunts?

•Does their way of talking hurt your self-respect?

•Have you tried the sauna belt that does nothing for weight-loss except shake all your good senses?

Okay, if you’ve answered yes to all of the above, except maybe the last one, then you, my love, are stuck with a SP (sarcastic partner). If you’ve answered yes to even the last one, you’ll get an understanding hug once I’m done ranting.

So, it isn’t happy dealing with someone who has decided to direct endless barbs at you just because you allowed for that comfort to them in a relationship. I once had a friend who would constantly poke fun at her boyfriend – be it his hair, pronunciation or driving skills. She was articulate, a gifted writer in fact, and her taunts were intelligent. But that intelligence kept neither the boyfriend around for long, nor us – the audience. Maybe because too much sarcasm for your loved one isn’t rooted in good wisdom, it comes from a position of weakness and complexes. Here’s what I say if you are stuck in a relationship with an annoying SP (no pun on the cops!).

1.Adults only! – Yeah, I wrote these words to also get some spicy keywords for the search engines but I also mean them in the context. You can’t be engaging in an adult relationship with an immature tantrum-thrower whose only ammunition is clever insults. A sarcy comment occasionally is funny, but har waqt ka taana is annoying. So if that’s what your SP is doing, tell him/her to get their act together, and act their age.

2.You’re no punching bag – and you need to convey this to people in your universe, especially the ones who claim to love you. I had read somewhere that two people ‘in a relationship’ have to be in the same team, by definition, and by logic. Mocking is something opponents do.

3.Don’t play games – There are plenty of places to compete and win, and a relationship need not be one of them. If you’ve consciously decided to be in love with someone, there’s hardly a scope to act mean with at least that one person. Keep it pure, keep it simple. It’s a lot more joyful that way.

4. Check for compatibility in communication: You could be with the hottest person in the world, but if they have bad communication skills, it can kill the charm in a relationship faster than how long your Insta story lasts. The need for compatibility in communication is not a preferred trait in a relationship, it is abso-bloody-lutely mandatory. Check for it before you commit.

5.Taunts aren’t smart – so don’t let a partner who insults you get away with terming their behaviour ‘intelligent’. If they didn’t think you were smart enough for them, they shouldn’t have been with you in the first place. Now that they are, a constant display of one-upmanship in wisdom is needless, and avoidable.

6.Don’t invest too much energy – in trying to renovate a relationship by constantly trying to improve an overly sarcastic partner. I know it sounds a bit doomsy but people don’t really change their basic nature. Try for sure to make it work, but don’t kill yourself in trying to change a partner who’s halfway through the door, mostly of their own doing.

7.Walk away – if it has started to affect your esteem in an irreparable way. I just realised that this is the most un-Valentine’s-Day-like advice to give at this point, but what the heck, am only being real here. Treasure and cherish love, but walk away from a partner - who doesn’t give you basic respect, who doesn’t allow you your breathing space, and who’s sadistic to ever derive pleasure from seeing you in pain.

Sonal Kalra just got a text from the column’s research team. “Hi, hope this week’s column is pro-Valentine and pro-love.” ‘Er...It mentions Valentine’s day six times,’ she replied. PS : You may not see her next week. Write to her at or Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.

First Published: Feb 09, 2019 15:46 IST