On self-deprecation

Self-deprecation is the quality I most abhor in others. Someone says “I’m too dumb to understand it.” and it usually means one of three things; that thing is ridiculously complicated, that person is too dumb, and you really like that person.

And because you really like that person, you have to say something like “no you’re not” or “nah, this is just way too complicated.” Except my problem is that it always sounds fake. They always give me a vacant gaze that says ‘don’t patronise me’, and that always makes me feel ten times worse.

There’s only one thing worse than self-deprecation; comparative self-deprecation. It’s ok if they say “I’m dumb compared to so-and-so” because I can sometimes manage to dismiss that with a little bit of spite and say “what?! So-and-so is stupid compared to you.” Which makes them feel much better. But then it means slagging off so-and-so.

And the worst type of self-deprecation is comparative self-deprecation to the person you’re talking to. “I’m so dumb compared to you.” This is absolutely the worst for me. I have to convince the person I’m on their level, and they’re on mine, which I regularly fail at doing.

The thing is, (and imagine I’m saying this in a shy, little voice) I am actually quite smart/attractive/awesome in every way. For example, I’m the only guy in my year with a (good) blog. I honestly can’t say with conviction “no, I’m not that smart”, because I am (unfortunately) self-assured of my intelligence.

So next time, please don’t self-deprecate. It makes me feel terrible, and my weak efforts to try and restore the situation to normal will fail terribly. Instead, just give me a hug. See? Everybody’s happy!


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