Quit the Humblebrag!

By Siew Ching

It’s totally cringe – yikes!

You’re looking through Instagram, happily scrolling and then you see a friend’s post at some important event looking pretty important with other important people. The caption reads: So humbled to be invited to attend this annual conference as a participant. Really honoured to meet all my heroes! Was also asked to give a short presentation – who would believe it! #blessed #humble #proud

You are probably tempted to add #showoff to it… which is what your friend is doing but in a “humble” way. That’s what humblebragging is all about: Where you humblebrag about something great that you’ve achieved or has happened to you, with the disclaimer how you can’t believe that it could actually be true. With humblebragging, you want people to know that you’ve achieved something but you don’t want to flat-out boast about it. So you choose the middle ground – humblebragging. You talk about your achievement but in a self-deprecating way, one that shows that you are “humble” and “shocked” that it’s happening. But really inside you’re feeling like a total badass about achieving it!

Some humblebragging is ok, the more “innocent” type we are probably all guilty of. Like saying how you have so much to do before your work trip to Paris (yeah, yeah, we get it you’re jetting off to Paris) or how you’re thankful your colleagues have chosen you as the most efficient when all you’ve done is just to be a team player (ok ok, don’t have to go on about you being the best employee out there).

Having to listen or read about a humblebrag is annoying, and you can’t help but feel cringe for the person. A new study from Harvard and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill claims that by humblebragging, people like you less than when you straight up boast about your accomplishments. You can read about the findings here.

So the moral of the story of humblebragging? Be sincere. If you are really honoured to be at a talk, just say it as it is – “Guys, I am going to be giving a talk at the media fest event this year. Come and listen!” Or if you’ve worked so hard to lose some weight and look fab now, own it! “Worked my butt off for the past six months. Hard work pays!” Bragging is better than humbly trying to do it. If you want to announce something, go with the brag and own it because it is more genuine than the false modest approach.

But how to brag without being too boastful? Try these tips:

#1 State the facts.
Keep it simple and don’t get too involved. Let the news speak for itself. No need to say things like how you can’t believe it’s happening (of course you can, you worked for it!) or how humble you feel (no you don’t, you feel great!).

#2 Be genuine.
If you are really proud of what you’ve achieved, say it. If you’ve worked hard to be where you are, share your accomplishment. There’s no need to fake how hard you’ve worked. In fact, people are more likely to share in your joy when you are genuine.

#3 Express gratitude.
What would make it less of a brag is if you give credit where it’s due. Acknowledge the team, friends or family who help you along the way. Think of the unsung heroes.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.

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