The Brag-A-Thon


I think bragging could be an Olympic sport or maybe it could have its own Olympics because there’s so many different bragging disciplines. There’s everything from the well-known boisterous bragger, and then there’s the hard-core marathon bragger, plus the newest entry in the bragging universe the subtlest. I had an encounter with a subtle bragger recently and it was eye-opening and confusing.

The problem with the subtlest is, at first, you’re wondering if they’re bragging or just being a pal and imparting information you might need to know. Then you start picking up conversational cues and realize that you’re talking (Or listening because does a bragger every desire communication that features input from anyone else?) with a hard-core bragger who thinks they’re disguising their boasting.

This I have a big problem with mainly because I think the subtlest believes I’m an idiot and they’re pulling one over on me. I have more respect for the blow hard bragger who owns their obnoxiousness and lets their bluster flag fly.

I was delighted though to discover, thru trial and error, the subtlest’s Kryptonite. It’s never asking a question. This is because their bragging is disguised as informational so if you don’t ask a question, most especially a follow-up question, to their boasting it can shut them down.

I think of the subtlest as the humble bragger (which was all the rage several years ago) all grown up. The humble bragger is all about boasting under the pretense of humility. The subtlest has cast the faux humility aside and is now masking their bragging as informational.

What I don’t understand is this trend of camouflaging your bragging. Everybody brags, at least a little, and it’s okay. Being excited about an accomplishment feels good and if you’re not a perpetual bragger than I don’t think anyone minds. So, why the need to pretend that you’re above bragging while you basically brag your brains out?

I’ve thought about this and here’s what I’ve come up with. One, braggers think they’re smarter than the rest us and two, attempting to shroud your bragging lets you justify more bragging. It’s the bragging perfect storm. Plus, there are so many more forums today to unleash your bragging thanks to social media.

Back in the day bragging was a whole lot harder. I remember my mom telling me that in her prime they were only three places you could get a good brag in – at a neighborhood coffee get together, in the stands at a football game and church.

My mom called church the “holy grail” of bragging. She said after all that praying and singing most people felt like their soul was cleansed enough that it was “time to put the Good Book aside” and go the fellowship hall after Sunday service for a brag-a-thon. My mother, being a very private person, wasn’t big on bragging but she did enjoy listening to other people boost. She always said she learned something and she shared with me that “the people that bragged the most were hiding the most.”

Social media has proved that statement to be true. Today’s post of “deep, life affirming love” for having the “most amazing spouse ever” is tomorrow’s status change from “married” to “it’s complicated.”

All this bragging intrigue has prompted me to try to predict what will be the next new boasting maneuver and think I know what it is. Stealth bragging. I’ve already seen parents who “manage” their children’s social media write amazing things about themselves and then post it on their kid’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as if it has been written by their child.

I can only imagine what my mother would say about that.