When people say, “I don’t mean to brag”, you can be sure they are about to.
Why do people brag anyway?
I can think of a couple reasons.
The first is that the braggart is trying really hard to impress the people around him. He’ll drop big names in conversation and inflate an autograph into a lifelong friendship. His sports feats would rival Michael Jordan’s. He is so persuasive he could sell you on the idea that clowns would be good entertainment at a funeral.
Well, at least in his own mind these things are true.
Conceit is a weird disease. It makes everyone sick but the one who has it. It’s like a modern day Typhoid Mary. And it provides such a mask against reality that almost no argument can convince the sufferer that he is full of it.
If you were to peel the layers of the onion away and peer inside the braggart, you’d see a lot of insecurity there. The sign above the prison bars would read, “Desperately Needs the Approval of Others”. But his reasoning is flawed. He thinks that what works with people is that they want to be dazzled. If you can provide them a Disney World experience with you, then you’ll be liked forever, he reasons.
But he brings as much pleasure as that man on Pawn Stars had when he found out his $800 “antique” rifle was a fake worth about $50.
So the bragging is an emotional anesthetic the braggart prescribes for himself to numb the nagging insecurity he feels.
Does this mean then that we should never brag about anything ever?
Let’s qualify that.
If you’ve done something worthy of mention, go ahead. Make sure it’s true, though. If it can be backed by facts, go ahead and blow your trumpet. But do it in an encouraging way if you want the message to be a hit. “I did this, but you can too. Here’s how.”
Wouldn’t you rather hear pride speech wrapped in some good, warm motivation?
If it’s friends you want, you’ll get them by being honest. Sing your praises and share your sorrows. All of us succeed sometimes, other times we blow it. Your friends understand this and if you share both sides, they’ll love you for it. Besides, they’ll get the real you which is worth far more than the phony.
So go ahead. Make someone’s day.
Just don’t brag about it, okay?