The Self-deprecating Comment

There is nothing more unattractive than a woman who says she is unattractive.

A woman usually claims she (or that which she is wearing or that which she said or made) is unappealing because, A. she is begging for attention and compliments (“oh no it’s true, you ARE utterly fabulous!”), but is usually because, B. she doesn’t trust and love herself enough. Either way, it’s not charming, it’s not stylish, and it’s not attractive.


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Accepting a compliment will not make you look like a snob or self-absorbed. When someone says they like your blouse, thinks you look thin or feels that a certain color is flattering with your skintone just say thank you.

And smile.

And really mean it.

Be thankful that a person in your world took time from their day to notice you and let you know that they are pleased with what they noticed. Be gracious. No need to go on about how the blouse should have been donated years ago, that you are in desperate need of a root touch-up, that you are so bloated from binging on French fries the night before or that your dress clings to your hips. When you shoot down a compliment with a self-deprecating comment it is as though you are refusing a gift. It is okay to accept that gift, the person wasn’t forced to give it to you, offer your thanks and carry it with you for the day. You deserve it.


Many women think that compliments aren’t truthful. Yes, mean-spirited backhanded compliments make for great comedy in chick flicks, but they aren’t doled out that often in real life. People just don’t have the time and the wit to think them up and give them at the opportune time. So maybe Linda your coworker is telling you that your hair down is flattering because she thinks that your usual ponytail is too severe for your soft features. It’s still a compliment, and she didn’t have to take the time to say anything in the first place.


When you tuck a self-deprecating comment into casual conversation, it only causes your audience to scrutinize you. You mention how you have crooked teeth, and now your audience will concentrate on nothing but your teeth. You joke about how you are “pleasantly plump,” and now your audience has forgotten what you are saying and is focusing on your midsection.


Women often think it’s better to laugh at themselves before another will laugh at them. Again ladies, we do not live in an episode of Gossip Girl. The world is not out to snark about you behind your back. When you make self-deprecating comments, you are screaming to the world that you are self-conscious, lack confidence and love for yourself. Not attractive characteristics.


Be confident, don’t be a snob.
Be strong, but don’t be a bitch.
Be demure, but be definite.
Care about what you look like and others assume you are hiding behind clothes.
Don't what you look like and others assume you lack self confidence.
Wow, it’s tough being a woman, isn’t it?


Stop trying to BE smart or funny or witty or cerebral or stylish or classic or fun or artsy or creative or quirky. Just be. When you stop trying to be SOMETHING and just listen to yourself, observe your world and roll with the waves, you find that there is less need for the armor of self-deprecating comments.


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With the next compliment you receive, respond with a heartfelt thank you and a smile. And nothing else. Don’t explain, don’t apologize, don’t add detail. Just look the person in the eye and thank them for the gift. See how that person reacts and how you feel. Wear that gift of a compliment like a scarf all day. Let it show in your posture, your demeanor.


The next time you trip over your words (or over your feet), don’t tell the world that you are a klutz, an idiot, a mess. Just pull yourself together and more forward. In your mind you may be replaying the situation over and over, but don’t cause the rest of the world to hit instant replay and dwell on your mistake.

And if you want a compliment or a suggestion, stop fishing for one with a self-deprecating comment. Find a good friend and ask that person what they think. How do you really look in that dress? Why do I have a hard time looking good in photographs? Do you think I look better in green or red? Only then will you know if the response is honest, or stated to make you feel better. Trust the feedback from those who care about you, and use it to develop and gain confidence and poise.

And remember, you ARE a fantastic human being! You have wonderful exterior and interior traits that make you unique and charming and loveable. Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel and look good and you will need less self-deprecating comments.


  1. October 22, 2009 / 7:35 pm

    Perfect post! Just what I needed to read today- thank you! 🙂

  2. September 17, 2009 / 3:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more: there’s nothing more off-puting than complimenting someone and have them start putting themselves down – it always makes me feel like I’ve said something stupid. A smile and a “thank you” is all that’s needed!

  3. September 16, 2009 / 7:53 pm

    Super post Allie! It is tough being a woman, it is tough being a human, and I really love your statement about just “being.” It is so easy to over-think about ourselves, when just following our heart usually sets us on the right path.

    Many, many thanks for the inspiration!

  4. September 16, 2009 / 6:17 pm

    Excellent post Allie. I believe that words hold more power than we give them credit for. I think its important to be deliberate in our communications–not just when complimented, but at all times. If you want your boyfriend to think you are a strong, confident woman, don’t play “coy” and bad-talk your cooking, appearance, housekeeping, etc. If you want your coworkers to hold you in high self esteem, don’t talk about how impossible your current project is and how you’re low-man on the corporate totem pole. When we put things into the universe, we are laying the foundations for things to come. If you are employ positive self-talk, positive outcomes will follow.

  5. September 15, 2009 / 10:15 pm

    This us soo true, what a great post.

  6. September 15, 2009 / 9:02 pm

    Never turn down a compliment or free food, those are the words I live by.

    A compliment is more than a gift to the receiver. It makes the giver feel good, too.

    If you’re really no good at accepting compliments, turn it back on the giver: “Thank you–that’s so nice of you to say.” Even if you don’t agree with what they say, you can appreciate that they said it.

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