Every generation has a universal sense of humour of which it is recognised and stereotyped to have. The boomers have the ‘marriage is an ole’ ball and chain’ jokes. The millennials have Friends and jokes about turning thirty. And the zoomers are calling people Karens; pointing to trash cans and saying that’s me, and then when anything relatable happens, they say the same and move on with their day. Ultimately Gen Z has a growing infatuation with dark and self-deprecating humour.
However, is this helpful? What effect does it have on mental health, and is overtly self-confidence the answer?
Read on as I tell you why we need to let go of self-deprecating humour!
Self-deprecating humour and the effects on others
I love having a joke as much as the next person. I also make the odd self-deprecating joke now and then. We all enjoy relating to a group of people feeling that we are a disappointment to our family. However, have you ever noticed that sometimes when you make these deprecating jokes, the people in the room look at you weird? That the atmosphere goes silent and awkward?
That’s because although you might be joking, many people (especially older generations.) Think you are not kidding and are genuinely worried about you. And because they are not used to that style of humour are not sure to respond.
Plus, it sometimes doesn’t fit an event’s tone and makes things awkward that way because it gets dark.
Another thing to consider is that it gets that dark, and people do worry about you. You may get reactions of sympathy and people giving you the advice you didn’t want! And that might make you feel bad or uncomfortable in return and provide you with the attention you never wanted.
The effects on mental health
Typically we copy our peers, whether that’s at school or work. We all do it. Considering that the gen z generation is doing that type of humour more and more, and mental health rates are getting worse and worse. Now, this is due to a bunch of reasons. From social media to bullying. However, you do begin to wonder if the humour of the generation (which I do take part in starts to affect mental health badly.)
The first thing to note is that these jokes get repeated and recycled both verbally and over text. And when something gets repeated, we usually start to believe it. Hearing and repeating this over and over again can begin to change our perceptions of others and ourselves.
Because it self-depreciates, it doesn’t affect us positively (which I know is obvious, but still.) Believing this type of humour can increase rates of depression, make us more anxious, make our self-confidence drop, and affect our relationship with our bodies. And it can make us feel like we don’t belong. Granted, some of this is a genuine issue, but the self deprecative humour still acts as something that exacerbates these issues.
Egotistical humour is the weapon.
Now many of you that use self-depreciation as a coping mechanism are asking? Well, what do we use to be funny now? What the heck do I do to develop my personality?
My answer to this is egotistical, friendly humour. This doesn’t mean taking it to a level that makes you seem unlikable. However, I’ve noticed that having confidence and ego and being more friendly in tone when you can help a lot.
Why ego over self-deprecating humour?
I say ego and friendliness over self-depreciation. As when you tell these jokes, it is less likely to make people less sorry for you. Plus, there is no awkward silence as people try to figure out how to respond, which puts people at ease quickly.
Also, the egotistical friendly jokes give people more avenues to respond and makes the joke better! To the point where everyone’s ribs are aching from laughter. Which reflects better on you overall as it makes you seem less miserable. It makes people more interested in being genuine friends than they would have been with the previous tactic.
Another thing that people who use this type of humour more have reported is that their mental health has gotten slightly better. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t cured. But the change in attitude has eased specific symptoms!
How it helps mental health
For example, many have reported that they have a more positive mindset overall. They’ve grown more confident in themselves and their abilities, are less anxious about life in general and feel more able to analyse behaviour and see what they want to improve.
In the end, egotistical and friendly humour is better for your mental health. And maintaining friendships than self-deprecating humour will be. And gen z, no matter how good their memes are, need to let go of it as a coping mechanism.
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