By definition, a “Humble brag” is a specific type of bragging which masks the brag in a faux-humble disguise. The false humility allows the offender to boast their “achievements” without any sense of shame or guilt. The biggest challenge for any humble bragger is letting the world know about something that is either of value and happens to include the humble bragger OR it is fully about them and they are using a humble statement to brag. Confused yet?
In my humble opinion, the humble brag has become synonymous with actual bragging. The fine line between the two is so far blurred I’m not sure the braggers and the humblers know where it exists. And yes, there is a fine line.
Humble brags come in all shapes and sizes. I have my favorites and have some that annoy the heck out of me. Here are some examples I’ve seen, please fill in the blank with some you’ve seen:
- Sorry to be namedropping, but __________________
- It still amazes me that after all these years I can __________________
- Still not used to this question: “Can I have your autograph?”
- Ok, how do I stop Tweetdeck from notifying me when someone has favorite my tweet? It’s clogging up my @replies.
- I’m “genuinely” asking about…
- Hey! I made another list!
- (And many many more funny ones from my facebook post, click here to check them out)
Now let me be clear, I’m not perfect here either. I think we all suck at this. I can tell you I work really hard to put out more posts that are in honor of thanking others, celebrating life situations or offering value/humor with nothing else expected in response. Otherwise if you see me brag, I am clearly shouting it from the rooftops because I am indeed excited. Will I slip into the humble brag now and then? Can’t guarantee I won’t, and now you can call me on it.
To counter the social media plague of posting of only successes or in excesses of (i.e. accomplishments, vacation, party, kids, elaborate meal photos, etc) – a practice, by the way, from which I am not exempt – maybe throw in a failure or two? Even better, add humorous posts on top of your failures. Every single day something happens to all of us that is funny, I guarantee it. Pulling out those unique instances and sharing life moments as deeply flawed humans is hilarious. When I see someone share a failed life moments, it actually makes me like you more.
How should we react to this false modesty? When we encounter it on social media, it’s usually easy enough to stop following or to unfriend yourself from the culprit. On Facebook, if someone tends to do it too much, your likes and comments will go down, and then the Facebook EdgeRank takes over showing you less and less in other people’s feeds. If you are wondering why no one likes your stuff, see above.
FINAL THOUGHT: While my opinion about humble bragging is clearly the greatest in the world, it’s really not about me (see what I did there?). But seriously, please share more human moments. The ones that make you laugh, cry, and think. These are the moments that make life worth sharing. Welcome to humanity, fellow human.
Image: brag-hat (unknown source)