Is self-deprecation beta?

There seems to be a ‘trend’ in recent times whereby people in social contexts are using self-deprecation more frequently. People consciously state that the beauty of it is that it takes away the ‘ammo’ of potential detractors, ‘beats them to the punch’, if you will, thus saving yourself from being insulted by showing, at least ostensibly, that you are not too sensitive about the personality trait or physical feature in question. It also plays on the notion that arrogance is repulsive or rude and that modesty is an admirable trait.

However, on the subconscious level, I can’t help thinking that in a game context, the impression women must get is of a man who is not just playing the nice-guy card (in part by ‘playing ball’ with polite social norms), but perhaps fears attacks on others, perhaps because his reaction to insults or jibes might appear ungracefully butthurt. It becomes a defense mechanism and it betrays a lack of comfort with oneself.

Of course, it is one of those things that’s heavy contextual and can work in one’s favour if measured (see Roissy’s ‘vulnerability game’), but betas need to be wary of what it communicates. I often witness, both first and second-hand, the polite laugh with a telling hint of disappointment that comes from girls when a cloying beta supplicates himself.

~ by CallistoRising on August 22, 2011.

3 Responses to “Is self-deprecation beta?”

  1. Suffice it to say – I don’t believe most women are performing this complicated analysis (either consciously or in the sub-conscious) of a guy in conversation. More often than not – they’re just picking up on surface sh*t. Quality of oral hygiene, abundance of facial hair, and how funny the guy’s mother dresses him.

    The argument for self-deprecation is – if you do it effectively, you’ll get a few laughs. And – a seriously funny guy is what the chicks want, is it not? They say they do, anyway. . .

    Now – everyone I’ve ever met would rather laugh at me than themselves. So, I always take one for the team. . .being quite careful, of course, to avoid excess in this endeavor.
    But – I am the Relationship Flunkie.

    Still, in the interest of humor as a reliable icebreaker, I’m surprised to learn of these disappointed girls. . .

    I’d love to gauge their response to an alpha male who publically ‘took the piss’ at their expense.

  2. there is a situational and moderate way to employ self-depreciation. i find it disarming, and even “alpha” (though i hesitate to use the term) in its way as a method to acknowledge and “own” someone’s fault. it almost comes from the same psychological place as “agree and amplify.”

    • It is disarming indeed. But when it becomes the reflexive norm, I can’t help thinking women might tire of it as a tactic. Time will tell!

      I’m guessing it’s only a problem for ‘lesser betas’ for whom self-deprecation may be one of the few cards they can play. It all depends on the girl I suppose.

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