Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The danger of self-deprecation

Many years ago, I learned a method to ease tense situations. Make fun of yourself. This was effective for breaking the ice in sales situations, lightening up the mood, and getting things moving. It is currently presented as an effective tool for public speaking because it eases tension between the speaker and audience and puts you at their level. This is a staple of stand-ups, think Louie Anderson, Chris Farley, and Woody Allen.

I do not denigrate the caliber of their comedy to state these three never reaped the quantity of hot women as a Charlie Sheen.

I noticed a couple weeks one day that self-deprecating humor was not working for me any more in work situations, and it clicked for me because half of the people that work for me in my department are women and the balance are feminized men. So my Delta buzzer went off and I changed gears. Now I go straight into a self-deprecating joke, but instead of my usual subject, I pick my most difficult employee that week and throw him or her under the proverbial bus.

Employees are acting more respectful and the women's eyes glisten that they have a department led by a man. Score! Work issue solved by Game.

To back up my anecdotal results I have been watching natural alphas. I can't find very many of them doing any self-deprecation, and if they do it is slight and often combined with throwing someone else under the bus. Self-deprecation is not to be confused with a roast or a guest spot with late night host pimping a new movie. Both of these, by design, give the mark such a large quantity of social credibility that they can spend it like a lambda wearing tights in boys-town.

I believe you can still use self-deprecating humor in setting social sexual hierarchy, but sparingly and under the two following conditions:

1. You must have plenty of social capital to spend.

2. It must be delivered in a manner that leaves no doubt as to you being on top.

Robert Orben said it best. “Self-deprecating humor should always be two-pronged. It should comically acknowledge a criticism or situation, but also infer that there is no substance to it and that you are in the driver's seat.”

For those of us still learning game, self-deprecating humor is not a great tool.
- DJ


Anonymous said...

Aw, shucks.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

A simple example that pops into my head...

Anyone else offers to admit to flaws and then lists a few in order to make a joke.

Alpha male offers to admit to flaws, then acts as if completely stumped before giving up and admitting he doesn't have any...making that the joke.

Nate said...

Hrm... I find that I admit to flaws... then list them... and explain how all of those flaws actually work in my favor.. to the point that those without those flaws are somehow worse off... and make a joke out of that.

DJ said...

Example of a slight self deprecation by Mel Gibson while at the same time making fun of "equals" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbJP12LDEv0

TonyH said...

Talking about going horse riding with female colleagues:

'I'm probably not going to be very good at this. Probably only going to be slightly better than you lot'

Good example of cocksure self-deprecation?

Astrosmith said...

You know, I would like to see more Game-related posts like this, where it isn't used just to get women, but is used to improve the SOCIO side of Vox's "Socio-Sexual Hierarchy". I mean, I'm married, things with my wife are going pretty well, so I'm not interested in pursuing women. What I am interested in, though, falls into two categories: First, how does one use Game to improve one's career performance or personal financial situation, and Second, how does one teach Game concepts to their children to improve their lots in life?

Captain Napalm said...

I started doing this about a decade ago. Having failed badly at something and taking it very personally, I was quite harsh on myself. Since then it has mellowed, but still I continue to do this.

This is who I am, but this is not the me as I ought to be. What advice on how to get from the former to the latter can anyone provide?

Anonymous said...

It's called failing with style!

DJ said...

I am working on a post about teaching my son about manhood through the lens of game.

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