Your palms are sweaty, and your mouth feels like you just attempted the saltine challenge. But you’re ready to say it. You’ve got to say it. Bound 2 say it. “I love you,” you say to your significant other for the first time in your relationship. “Wait, are you serious?” you hear back. “I mean you seem serious, but I can never tell with you.” Our generation has a tendency to place more value on quick wit than sincerity. And that can have serious consequences. We never say what we mean. And even when we say what we mean (and when I say “say,” I mean “text”) we finish with a winky face emoticon. For many of us, it’s unnatural to have an open, frank discussion about our feelings. But why must everything we talk

You’ve got to say it. Bound 2 say it. “I love you,” you say to your significant other for the first time in your relationship. “Wait, are you serious?” you hear back. “I mean you seem serious, but I can never tell with you.” Our generation has a tendency to place more value on quick wit than sincerity. And that can have serious consequences. We never say what we mean. And even when we say what we mean (and when I say “say,” I mean “text”) we finish with a winky face emoticon. For many of us, it’s unnatural to have an open, frank discussion about our feelings. But why must everything we talk

“Wait, are you serious?” you hear back. “I mean you seem serious, but I can never tell with you.” Our generation has a tendency to place more value on quick wit than sincerity. And that can have serious consequences. We never say what we mean. And even when we say what we mean (and when I say “say,” I mean “text”) we finish with a winky face emoticon. For many of us, it’s unnatural to have an open, frank discussion about our feelings. But why must everything we talk

Our generation has a tendency to place more value on quick wit than sincerity. And that can have serious consequences. We never say what we mean. And even when we say what we mean (and when I say “say,” I mean “text”) we finish with a winky face emoticon. For many of us, it’s unnatural to have an open, frank discussion about our feelings. But why must everything we talk

We never say what we mean. And even when we say what we mean (and when I say “say,” I mean “text”) we finish with a winky face emoticon. For many of us, it’s unnatural to have an open, frank discussion about our feelings. But why must everything we talk about be drenched in irony and couched in jokes? Maybe we use irony to avoid feeling uncomfortable when someone disagrees with us. Maybe we think if we don’t take a stance on any issue or responsibility for our words, we can all get along and the world will sing in perfect harmony. Ironic living affords us a distance between what we say and what we mean. We aim to combat any criticisms of our work by proclaiming its lameness first. We shield ourselves from fear and disappointment on a friend’s birthday by giving her an ironic, meaningless gift. I started talking in the driest of ironic tones when I was about 13 years old. (I had recently shed a convoluted pseudo-Valley Girl meets Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes accent.) Growing up in South Florida is tough. I adopted a tone comparable to MTV’s Daria because it fit my monotonous alto range. Its influence is still felt today. When I am genuinely excited about something and think I’m exclaiming brightly, “Wow that’s so awesome,” what my friends hear is someone potentially making fun of them. And that’s because so much of what I say is the opposite of what I mean. More often than not, we let irony and insincerity dominate our conversations in the name of a good joke. “Man, I just can’t wait to go to work today.” “I feel so good in this tight dress.” I giggle afterward to cue the joke, but all parties are left wondering what was really meant in that sentence. Surprise! I’m going to blame our Internet usage for this one: When we’re communicating through quick comments and 140-character quips, it seems more important to be witty than sincere. And forget emotional honesty on the Internet. In this era of social media-dominated communication, we struggle

Maybe we think if we don’t take a stance on any issue or responsibility for our words, we can all get along and the world will sing in perfect harmony. Ironic living affords us a distance between what we say and what we mean. We aim to combat any criticisms of our work by proclaiming its lameness first. We shield ourselves from fear and disappointment on a friend’s birthday by giving her an ironic, meaningless gift. I started talking in the driest of ironic tones when I was about 13 years old. (I had recently shed a convoluted pseudo-Valley Girl meets Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes accent.) Growing up in South Florida is tough. I adopted a tone comparable to MTV’s Daria because it fit my monotonous alto range. Its influence is still felt today. When I am genuinely excited about something and think I’m exclaiming brightly, “Wow that’s so awesome,” what my friends hear is someone potentially making fun of them. And that’s because so much of what I say is the opposite of what I mean. More often than not, we let irony and insincerity dominate our conversations in the name of a good joke. “Man, I just can’t wait to go to work today.” “I feel so good in this tight dress.” I giggle afterward to cue the joke, but all parties are left wondering what was really meant in that sentence. Surprise! I’m going to blame our Internet usage for this one: When we’re communicating through quick comments and 140-character quips, it seems more important to be witty than sincere. And forget emotional honesty on the Internet. In this era of social media-dominated communication, we struggle

Ironic living affords us a distance between what we say and what we mean. We aim to combat any criticisms of our work by proclaiming its lameness first. We shield ourselves from fear and disappointment on a friend’s birthday by giving her an ironic, meaningless gift. I started talking in the driest of ironic tones when I was about 13 years old. (I had recently shed a convoluted pseudo-Valley Girl meets Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes accent.) Growing up in South Florida is tough. I adopted a tone comparable to MTV’s Daria because it fit my monotonous alto range. Its influence is still felt today. When I am genuinely excited about something and think I’m exclaiming brightly, “Wow that’s so awesome,” what my friends hear is someone potentially making fun of them. And that’s because so much of what I say is the opposite of what I mean. More often than not, we let irony and insincerity dominate our conversations in the name of a good joke. “Man, I just can’t wait to go to work today.” “I feel so good in this tight dress.” I giggle afterward to cue the joke, but all parties are left wondering what was really meant in that sentence. Surprise! I’m going to blame our Internet usage for this one: When we’re communicating through quick comments and 140-character quips, it seems more important to be witty than sincere. And forget emotional honesty on the Internet. In this era of social media-dominated communication, we struggle

I started talking in the driest of ironic tones when I was about 13 years old. (I had recently shed a convoluted pseudo-Valley Girl meets Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes accent.) Growing up in South Florida is tough. I adopted a tone comparable to MTV’s Daria because it fit my monotonous alto range. Its influence is still felt today. When I am genuinely excited about something and think I’m exclaiming brightly, “Wow that’s so awesome,” what my friends hear is someone potentially making fun of them. And that’s because so much of what I say is the opposite of what I mean. More often than not, we let irony and insincerity dominate our conversations in the name of a good joke. “Man, I just can’t wait to go to work today.” “I feel so good in this tight dress.” I giggle afterward to cue the joke, but all parties are left wondering what was really meant in that sentence. Surprise! I’m going to blame our Internet usage for this one: When we’re communicating through quick comments and 140-character quips, it seems more important to be witty than sincere. And forget emotional honesty on the Internet. In this era of social media-dominated communication, we struggle

Surprise! I’m going to blame our Internet usage for this one: When we’re communicating through quick comments and 140-character quips, it seems more important to be witty than sincere. And forget emotional honesty on the Internet. In this era of social media-dominated communication, we struggle finding the best space to open up and get real with friends. When we encounter unsolicited sincerity, it’s met with a cringe. How many times have we seen someone from our high school rip out his or her bleeding heart and post it as a Facebook status, and, in response, we hide that person from our feed? But this witty, ironic communication style is incredibly limiting when it comes to face-to-face interaction. When we speak in those same terms IRL, we create a distance between ourselves and those we’re speaking to, as if we’re still hiding behind that computer screen. A 2012 New York Times opinion piece on hipsters and irony said, “To live ironically is to hide in public.” We can have friendships in which we hang out constantly yet know very little about each

But this witty, ironic communication style is incredibly limiting when it comes to face-to-face interaction. When we speak in those same terms IRL, we create a distance between ourselves and those we’re speaking to, as if we’re still hiding behind that computer screen. A 2012 New York Times opinion piece on hipsters and irony said, “To live ironically is to hide in public.” We can have friendships in which we hang out constantly yet know very little about each other, because so much of our time is spent saying things we don’t really mean. Ironic language creates a false sense of apathy. Our constant jokes make it seem like we don’t really care about the things we’re talking about, or the people we’re talking to. I’ve made serious efforts in the last few months to curtail my sardonic jabs. Most of that may be owed to witnessing my best friend in conversations with strangers. Jess never talks with ironic hyperbole or sarcasm. When she compliments you, you trust her words without searching for layers of underlying alternative meanings. She says she learned this communication style from her mom. “Communication is both delicate and powerful,” she told me. “I don’t ever want to risk someone misunderstanding what I’m saying just because I’m trying to be funny or clever. But it is hard sometimes. I can’t really hide from myself all that much.” So, keeping her in mind, I try to steer conversations clear of ironic distance and into more choppy waters. Have a conversation stripped of irony and sarcasm and you’ll find yourself sounding like a small child – honest and opinionated. When people ask you questions, you’ll answer truthfully, revealing your likes and dislikes. You’ll sincerely compliment your talented friends, and they will feel appreciated because they know they can trust your words. Those around you will follow suit, and best-case-scenario, an open and honest dialogue will be created. A safe space, Jess calls it. A certain unveiled candor and meaningfulness is created in that safe space. Of course, it’s a never-ending battle with yourself and with those you’re in communication with. Let me paint you a picture: It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

I’ve made serious efforts in the last few months to curtail my sardonic jabs. Most of that may be owed to witnessing my best friend in conversations with strangers. Jess never talks with ironic hyperbole or sarcasm. When she compliments you, you trust her words without searching for layers of underlying alternative meanings. She says she learned this communication style from her mom. “Communication is both delicate and powerful,” she told me. “I don’t ever want to risk someone misunderstanding what I’m saying just because I’m trying to be funny or clever. But it is hard sometimes. I can’t really hide from myself all that much.” So, keeping her in mind, I try to steer conversations clear of ironic distance and into more choppy waters. Have a conversation stripped of irony and sarcasm and you’ll find yourself sounding like a small child – honest and opinionated. When people ask you questions, you’ll answer truthfully, revealing your likes and dislikes. You’ll sincerely compliment your talented friends, and they will feel appreciated because they know they can trust your words. Those around you will follow suit, and best-case-scenario, an open and honest dialogue will be created. A safe space, Jess calls it. A certain unveiled candor and meaningfulness is created in that safe space. Of course, it’s a never-ending battle with yourself and with those you’re in communication with. Let me paint you a picture: It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

“Communication is both delicate and powerful,” she told me. “I don’t ever want to risk someone misunderstanding what I’m saying just because I’m trying to be funny or clever. But it is hard sometimes. I can’t really hide from myself all that much.” So, keeping her in mind, I try to steer conversations clear of ironic distance and into more choppy waters. Have a conversation stripped of irony and sarcasm and you’ll find yourself sounding like a small child – honest and opinionated. When people ask you questions, you’ll answer truthfully, revealing your likes and dislikes. You’ll sincerely compliment your talented friends, and they will feel appreciated because they know they can trust your words. Those around you will follow suit, and best-case-scenario, an open and honest dialogue will be created. A safe space, Jess calls it. A certain unveiled candor and meaningfulness is created in that safe space. Of course, it’s a never-ending battle with yourself and with those you’re in communication with. Let me paint you a picture: It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

So, keeping her in mind, I try to steer conversations clear of ironic distance and into more choppy waters. Have a conversation stripped of irony and sarcasm and you’ll find yourself sounding like a small child – honest and opinionated. When people ask you questions, you’ll answer truthfully, revealing your likes and dislikes. You’ll sincerely compliment your talented friends, and they will feel appreciated because they know they can trust your words. Those around you will follow suit, and best-case-scenario, an open and honest dialogue will be created. A safe space, Jess calls it. A certain unveiled candor and meaningfulness is created in that safe space. Of course, it’s a never-ending battle with yourself and with those you’re in communication with. Let me paint you a picture: It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

Of course, it’s a never-ending battle with yourself and with those you’re in communication with. Let me paint you a picture: It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

It’s Friday night, and I’m on a date with a boy I met on the Internet. “So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

“So yeah, I really, really like Beyonce,” he says. Eureka, I think.

Eureka, I think. Finally, a boy who gets it.

“Yeah, she totally, like, empowers me and all that,” he says. Wait, I think. Is he making fun of

Wait, I think. Is he making fun of Bey and, by proxy, everything I love in this universe?

“You for real?” I say. “Oh yeah.” He nods ecstatically. A little too ecstatically… Well, I think. Looks like it’s time to hit the trail in search of

“Oh yeah.” He nods ecstatically. A little too ecstatically… Well, I think. Looks like it’s time to hit the trail in search of

Well, I think. Looks like it’s time to hit the trail in search of realer pastures. My eyes wander toward the dessert display.