What is Self-Deprecating Humor & What It Says About You

I saw the funniest thing after waking up today! Do you know what it was?

The mirror.

These and so many similar jokes rarely fail in making us laugh. We often like people who can take, or even tell, a joke at their own expense since it shows that they are self-confident.

However, is that always the case?

This type of humor represents a particular concept that we call self-deprecating humor. 

Do you want to know why it is significant? Is it good for us? Does it show that we are emotionally intelligent or not?

Read the article and discover yourself.

Self-deprecating humor - laughing at yourself.

What Does Self-Deprecating Humor Mean?

In a world where the majority takes jokes too seriously, some people are more easy-going and have an offbeat sense of humor.

Often, we point our jokes towards objects around us, innocent bystanders, people we don’t like, often our friends, or situations in general.

The concept behind self-deprecating humor is the opposite.

Self-deprecating humor is a type of humor in which you present your own flaws, actions, or even your entire personality in a humorous manner. You put yourself on the spot to make others (and yourself) laugh.

You might know people who are so good at doing this that it is their main strategy for bringing a smile to people’s faces.

Well, how do they do it?

They often:

  • criticize themselves,
  • undermine their personality,
  • deny all the appreciation,
  • and act like they are not as good as others think of them.

People believe that individuals who have a good sense of self-deprecating humor are likely more confident. After all, accepting your faults and being able to laugh at yourself is not an easy task.

What does psychology truly have to say about people with a self-deprecating sense of humor?

Secrets Self-Deprecating Humor Psychology Reveals About You

A girl pointing at herself.

Here is what psychology has to say about your personality if you enjoy self-deprecating humor and often tell jokes at your own expense:

#1 – You are easily approachable.

People consider those who welcome every difficulty with a huge smile on their faces easily approachable people.

Whether you are with your friends or at your workplace, if you crack jokes about yourself now and then – people will like you for it!


Because you will seem more easy-going and they will naturally want to talk to you about anything. People who can confidently talk about their mistakes rarely make fun of others. They already have a lot of material for humor!

#2 – You are trustworthy.

Gaining the trust of people is one of the hardest things when it comes to relationships.

However, individuals perceive people who make everyone laugh by making jokes about themselves as trustworthy beings.

The logic is simple – you have to be honest and reliable if you comfortably accept your mistakes and address them without fear. You are perfectly comfortable walking around in your shoes, and you own up to your failures.

There is a higher chance your friends might think of you as a great person to tell secrets or embarrassing stories to – partially because they feel you might not laugh at them.

#3 – You make a great leader.

There is a study that shows that leaders who can laugh at themselves are more trustworthy and likable in the workplace.

The researchers thought of humor as a tool for building relationships.

How exactly can humor become that?

Most misunderstandings and conflicts at work appear for two reasons:

  • lack of communication
  • differences in status in the company hierarchy

Humor can help people overcome both!

The study showed that leaders who could crack jokes about themselves managed to draw attention away from the status difference and the employee-boss relationship. This shift in employees’ attitudes enabled them to trust their leaders much more, and it improved the overall quality of their relationships.

#4 – You may be a calm person.

Obviously, none of the assumptions on this list are true in all cases, especially this one. However, they may be quite a few cases in which it applies.

In a world where everyone is in a race to become perfect, your self-deprecating humor reflects your satisfaction with yourself and the world.

When you show the ability to laugh at your flaws openly, it means you recognize them and are open to working on them.

Also, there is a high chance you might get irritated by other people’s comments less. There is probably nothing they can say about you that you aren’t aware of already.

Not only that – you might be able to avoid a lot of uncomfortable situations by staying easy-going and calm when faced with a challenge of any kind.

#5 – You do not need acceptance.

Most of us are always looking to gain acceptance from the world. This kind of behavior often radiates insecurity and makes us prone to actions we wouldn’t have taken otherwise.

When a person does not spend too much time thinking about the opinions of others about themselves, they feel and act more freely. They say what they want to say, even about themselves.

The truth is – quite a few people will find your self-deprecating humor a bit too harsh or a sign of insecurity. The important thing is – will you care about what they think?

If you are joking about yourself because you are comfortable with what you are, you won’t. Because of that, people may perceive you as a unique and internally happy individual.

It’s Not All Sunshine And Rainbows

Self-deprecating humor can be bad for you.

If you couldn’t be more thrilled about the positive aspects you have read about so far, hold on.

There can be some serious issues tied to your self-deprecating sense of humor – if you are using it too much. It could show that you have self-esteem problems if you often do the following things:

#1 – You use self-deprecating humor as a defense mechanism.

Anytime someone tries to criticize you for something, you quickly respond with a joke about your abilities or personality. It’s good that you can laugh about it – it is not good if you use it as a way to avoid real criticism about anything remotely related to you.

#2 – You use it as a way of responding to compliments.

Making others laugh is great. However, being able to appreciate yourself and accept a compliment without making a joke about yourself is even better.

#3 – Deep down, you think your jokes are true.

The idea behind self-deprecating humor is to exaggerate some of your flaws to bring a smile to someone’s face or show that you accept all areas of your personality. But if you think that all your exaggerations are probably true, it might be a sign of deeply rooted insecurity.

How to deal with these issues?

What can you do if you notice these negative signs about your sense of humor? Here are a few quick tips that can help you start changing for the better:

  • Spend time developing a more positive approach to life. It might take time, but it will also help you appreciate yourself more.
  • Stop telling self-deprecating jokes for a few weeks. See how often you get to urge to mock yourself and try to avoid it.
  • Learn how to accept a compliment. Next time someone compliments you, thank them for it and acknowledge that you deserve it.
  • Stop trying to make others laugh at the cost of your own self-esteem. Overly repetitive self-deprecating humor can easily lead you to start believing the things you say. Do it in moderation.

So, Is Self-Deprecating Humor Good For You?

A guy wondering.

You might be noticing there are two sides of the coin here.

What are the good sides of showing a self-deprecating sense of humor?

It can increase your power or status.

There is a direct link between status among groups and humor.

A funny leader who accepts and laughs at his own mistakes will bond with the team much faster than a bossy, strict leader who is always right.

When you seem to be a fun-loving and humorous person, people may find you more convincing.

As a result, you help the chances of them perceiving you as a trustworthy, confident leader.

It helps you cope with difficulties.

There will be times in your life where you might find yourself in a tense situation. Perhaps you made a huge mistake, a bad choice or life is pulling a trick on you.

Regardless, during such situations, self-deprecating jokes can be a great way to lighten the weight of the problem.

Laughing at the difficult situation you got yourself in to makes you less critical about yourself while still accepting that you are in a rough spot. 

It can neutralize negative information about yourself.

Harvard Business Review found that we perceive people as warmer and more competent when they tell things about themselves through humor.

This approach can help you fight off any untrue or harsh comments about yourself. The more you joke about it, the less true the information seems.

After all, we all avoid talking about touchy matters. By embracing the critique or a nasty comment and turning it into a joke, people will pay less attention to it and admire your way of dealing with it.

Self-deprecating humor helps you to convey your shortcomings by addressing them in a funny way so that they do not sound as negative as they would seriously.

Hopefully, by now, you understand how it works and what it means inside and out. Now, let’s move onto some examples and see this unique type of humor in action.

Self-Deprecating Humor Examples

Here are a few examples of great self-deprecating jokes that can make you laugh after this long read:

My life’s purpose is to be a cautionary tale for others.


I finally discovered the reason why I look so bad in photos.

It’s my face.


My acne is a lot more reliable than my friends.


In photos, I’m ugly. In real life, I’m also ugly


I just realized that my life wouldn’t be able to fall apart if I never have it together in the first place.

Your Turn

Now, we would like to hear from you.

What is your favorite self-deprecating joke? Write it down in the comments below!

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Oliver Sykes
    October 30, 2021 22:44

    I use it to make people happy I mean I am crazy in a way n crack jokes as been bullied and it helps me and others life too short

    • I agree that self-deprecating humor can be a wonderful way to lighten the mood and help you take yourself a bit less seriously! It’s great that you’ve found a way to use it in a good way 🙂

      – Katarina


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