Use It Sparingly

Vox talked a bit this morning about how self-deprecation can properly be used and shouldn’t be misused.  It’s especially dangerous for Gammas, and here’s why.

The Gamma watches Roadhouse and sees Patrick Swayze acting all Zen, speaking in one-word sentences, shrugging off knife wounds, and tearing bad guys’ throats out.  Then Swayze shows some vulnerability and knocks himself a bit, and the hot chick melts and jumps on his dick a thousand times.  So the Gamma says, “Hey, I can do that!” and goes around slamming himself, waiting for girls to get hot and bothered over how vulnerable and sensitive he is.

But it only works as a counterpoint to the stone-cold visage and the throat-ripping.  It works because she thinks, “Thank goodness, this guy I’ve been fantasizing about is human after all and might cuddle with me afterwards.”  When self-deprecation is your first and last move, she just thinks you’re insecure and womanly, and she’s not looking for a hairy girlfriend with more self-doubt than she has.

So only use self-deprecation if you can tell she’s kind of intimidated by you and is trying to find your softer side. If that’s the case, she’ll tell you so: “So are you always this tough?” “Do you ever give people a break?” “You’re a hard guy to get close to.” If she hasn’t said anything like that, you’re not intimidating her. (And if you think she’s intimidated by your intelligence, you’re almost certainly wrong.)


4 thoughts on “Use It Sparingly

  1. Use it sparingly? Should AFCs ever deprecate themselves?

    Use it only if you’re alpha. Of course, if you’re alpha, you’ll know that already.

    Self-deprecation provides an emotional contrast with self-confidence. Works if you’re alpha.

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  3. I have made self-deprecating jokes my whole life. I always thought it was ok. Then I made it in a scenario where people were looking to me and trusting me to make things work and I realized – holy crap I just destroyed all the confidence they needed to have in me. Changed my life as I saw the look in their eyes. Now I employ them very rarely and in the context of my family and brothers.

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