Dear People Who Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously–What Does That Even Mean

*Tilts head to side. Squints.*

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Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

So…I’ll just say it. I won’t waste your time dazzling you with literary samba moves that produce the kind of laptop-facing guffaws I typically go for. I’ll just come right out and admit that I have absolutely no idea what people mean when they say:

“I don’t take myself too seriously.”

Bro, do you even contemplate? Like is this a phrase that means something to you, or is it just something you’ve heard before that makes you sound like the chillest investment banker on the rooftop and you wanted to throw it out there with no more sincerity than you employ when you high five a drunk stranger at an EDM show?

You don’t take yourself too seriously? Okay, does that mean you’re like…not serious about being a person? That you’re cool with just…kinda being here? That you don’t want to put too much importance on yourself and your purpose here on Earth so that you don’t come across as committal to anything from your own opinions to a 12-month lease? K.

I see this phrase a lot–a LOT. And always in the same place, Tinder, Hinge, and the like. While I understand that nobody enjoys talking, much less writing about themselves (unless they’re me, hi), I do expect intelligent life forms to employ words and phrases that actually mean things, instead of words and phrases that, when you think about them, actually mean nothing at all. I’m not big on word vapor, put some meat on your sentences. Vegetarians, put some eggplant on there–give a damn.

Let’s attack the reverse, and see if it survives: If you do take yourself seriously, what’s the negative there? That you believe in your own sense of worth? That you think your thoughts and opinions are of value and importance? That you’re happy to be alive?! Ugh, you sound so terrible, left swipe.

I’d like to hang this phrase’s jersey atop the stadium now, okay? It’s had it’s moment–though we very well could have done without it entirely–and it’s time to move onto new linguistics that express an individual’s laissez faire personality and general penchant for caring about nothing. A bit of creativity, please.

If you don’t take yourself too seriously, there’s a problem–no one else will either. No one will think there’s much point to you, if you don’t think there’s much point to yourself. I think there’s a point to you, yes you–with the salmon shorts and white, team-less baseball cap and button-down shirt at the beach. I see value in you, and I even want to help you increase your own Blue Book trade in here. Thus, I’ll leave you with a few sentences you can use to replace this candy floss phrase, free of charge.

“My personality is pretty relaxed, I’m not easily riled-up.”

“My friends describe me as chill.”

“I’m not very deep, and that’s okay.”

“Sup?”

“I’m a yes person, seeking same.”

Go forth, brethren, and describe. Let the world know who you are in an explanatory, informative way that might even delight and entice, rather than utterly confuse or leave wanting, like wet toast. I know that you don’t want to take yourself too seriously, but for the good of the swiping masses, at the very least, take me.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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