Today, bragging is becoming a greater norm. Social media foster bragging by providing a microphone for all of us to share the things that are important to us and get attention for it.
With all of the social networks available to blast your good deeds and success stories, when is it appropriate to talk about yourself in a positive way? Should we all feel the guilt of social cost when sending a post about our accomplishments?
There is a fine line of health in the center of narcissism and humility that has become a social norm in recent years – learn how to walk it!
What does Bad Bragging look like?
“Bragging can leave a positive first impression”, says Simine Vazire, associate professor in personality science in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, “but it is inappropriate to brag to close friends.” She explains that our close friends are included in our “ups” and “downs” and bragging is annoying in the sense that it provides a false-truth about who the person is. The tendency of the bragger is to paint a one-sided picture about their lives that leaves an impression that they are dishonest. Close friends and family members already know that our lives are not perfect, so it doesn’t make any sense to paint it that way.
Social media has the tendency to amplify this effect by providing only snapshots of what people are doing – whether its 140 characters on Twitter, photos on Facebook and Twitter, or punchy two-liners about job experiences on LinkedIn. According to Benoit Monin, professor of psychology and organizational behavior at Stanford University, social media can lead to feelings of resentment due to guilt perceived by the braggers audience.
Monin gives the example of the bragger posting on Facebook how “green, vegan, or environmentally concerned” they are in a way that can be perceived as implied judgment. No one likes to be judged and braggers often brag vs. taking a position on a topic! The result is that the audience feels threatened by the implied judgment and they also feel guilty feeling as if they are not doing enough. This type of bragging causes resentment between the bragger and the audience causing a social loss over time.
Good Bragging = Positive Self-Promotion
The opposite extreme includes the overly humble. Those who fear using positive self-promotion because they do not want to be judged as braggers and do not want to feel narcissistic. By being so afraid that self-promotion will cause others not to like them diffident individuals often lose out on gaining admiration and respect for the things they should be proud of.
Positive Self-Promotion or “Positive Psychology” has been proven to have a dopamine affect, giving modest individuals a better feeling about him or herself – a better self-esteem. Used in the right context, positive self-promotion can help calm feelings of inadequacy without costing us our friendships!
However, displaying that you are proud and should be recognized takes some artistry. Unlike braggadocios self-talk, positive self-promotion remains humble using positive self-talk as a form of marketing and branding, or as a way to generally get to know others. In essence, it is okay to be proud of and liked for being yourself!
5 Tips for Healthy Self-Promotion
- Promote yourself by bragging in context- Results are not enough! Paint the entire picture, share the ups and downs so others can be proud of your accomplishments by knowing the journey it took to get the results you are proud of.
- Don’t brag about things everyone else struggles with- This alienates others! Instead promote things that will motivate others and include them in your accomplishments so that they too can be proud of you!
- Tell the story- Start with the vulnerability and finish with what you are proud of and what you have accomplished. It is interesting to hear about how others accomplish things in their life especially when they persevere through calamity.
- Be credible! Tell the truth about yourself. Don’t say you created the top number of sales at work when you are at the bottom. Say you moved from the bottom to the middle and it was a journey! It speaks more about your character to portray yourself in a relatable way.
- Learn to accept compliments and criticism. Be aware of how others are reacting to you. Do they interact? Are they defensive? Are you losing friends or motivating others by creating stronger bonds through sharing your experiences?
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