Braggers Are More Transparent Than They Realize

Braggers Are More Transparent Than They Realize

Braggers. Also known as the know-it-all, windbag, show-off, and blowhard is a personality type many of us are all too familiar with, sometimes intimately.

From co-workers to friends to family members to spouses, they are easily identified in social situations by more modest members of society, often eliciting eye rolls, head shaking, and complaining to other modest members who get it.

Typing “what does bragging mean” into Google’s search field provides the following definition: “excessively proud and boastful talk about one’s achievements or possessions.” 

Braggers also monopolize the conversation to steer the dialogue toward themselves as though they were reciting a monologue on Broadway. 

They often think they have all the answers to every question and rarely entertain anyone who dares to contradict them. 

They have little to no compassion unless it fits within their agenda and seldom listen to others when they speak, making themselves feel superior.

Sound like anyone you know?

I used to believe that the bragger only existed in younger and older adults. But surprisingly, I’m seeing the behavior in young children under the age of ten as they announce they’re the smartest child in their class, the best soccer player on their team, or the cutest and coolest girl/boy in their school.

I don’t know why I’m surprised. Our society fosters a need to be competitive from a very young age, more precisely, to be “number one” and a “winner.” 

Sure, competitiveness helps prepare children for real-world situations, helps them learn about failure, and forces them outside their comfort zone. 

But competitiveness also leads to unnecessary pressures, causing anxiety and other mental health issues, not to mention destroying one’s self-esteem when failure becomes a reality one can’t process.

But I digress.

Numerous studies have been conducted by researchers and psychologists throughout the generations, all trying to understand how the mind of the bragger operates. Some invaluable information and conclusions have been gathered.

Number One: Bragging enables individuals to control the narrative, which ultimately means holding the conversation hostage as though they’ve been given a personal platform and megaphone to mesmerize their unsuspecting audience.

Number Two: Braggers suffer from personal insecurities. Therefore, the only way to allow themselves to feel superior is by bragging about their personal and professional accomplishments, material possessions, or knowledge (no matter how skewed the examples might be).

While I agree with the evidence above and could provide real-world examples of individuals who fit the assumptions, there’s a more simplistic reason why braggers brag.

They are just not happy people.

Any individual who needs to prove their self-worth or superiority to others through bragging is a pathetic example of humanity as the outward persona they want you to believe is nothing but a work of fiction.

I am a 48-year-old man who still battles with insecurities in my personal and professional life, so I understand why some might turn to bragging to feel better about themselves.

But about 33 years ago, as a sophomore in high school, I learned an invaluable lesson that, to this day, has always made me stop and think before becoming a bragger.

As anyone who has survived high school knows, it is a difficult time for many students, especially for those whose transition through puberty has been physically awkward and embarrassing (think pimples and goofy bodily changes). 

In an attempt to gain attention and new friendships, I began to brag about personal and professional accomplishments, material possessions, and knowledge (no matter how skewed the examples might have been), assuming this would be my gateway into popularity. 

That was until the football quarterback, who sat in front of me in third-period Biology class, turned around and told me, “Everyone knows you’re a nice, funny guy. Why are you acting like such a jerk lately?”

You see, the thing about braggers is they are incredibly transparent, though few think they are, and more modest members of society can see right through the façade braggers are trying to create.

Author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur Carlos Wallace says, “When you flaunt your success, you’re setting yourself up for ridicule. Things can always go wrong. Your career stalls, fancy cars get repossessed, you lose your home. Unfortunate events magnified by your shameless boasting. Nothing in life is foolproof. The only thing bragging will accomplish is prove you’re the fool.”

It’s been 33 years since that encounter in third-period Biology, and even today, the last thing I want anyone to remember me for is being a jerk and a bragger.

I wish all the braggers I know, have known, and strangers across the globe understood how others truly see them.

Yes, we modest members of society sometimes feel envy when around such individuals. But when all is said and done, and we return to our senses, our overall perception of the bragger is anything but positive and certainly not memorable.

In a way, I feel bad for braggers who will spend the rest of their insecure lives constantly trying to compensate for their unhappiness.

Set an example and practice humility in your life whenever possible.

Be proud of your personal and professional accomplishments, material possessions, or knowledge because they give YOUR life joy and meaning, not so they can be used later on as a subject for bragging.

If braggers spent less time talking about themselves and more time being self-reflective, they might come to understand what more modest members of society already know – braggers are fools.