How do you handle a bragger?

If there is one type of attribute I despise in a person it is a lack of humility.

But it is inevitable in life that we will encounter braggers on a regular basis.

The best approach – absolutely nothing.

I came to this conclusion, because the reason a person may brag is that they are insecure and seeking validation.  By not reacting you starve them of this.  But there is temptation to take another approach.  Here, I explain why you shouldn’t:

Mocking

With a bragger the temptation is to mock them or knock them down a peg or two.  The problem with this is that it makes YOU look like the insecure one!

I have known a few braggers in my time and the people who make fun of them run the risk of making themselves look petty and jealous.

bragging

Bitching

If you are in a group situation and you have listened to someone who lacks humility, it is likely everyone else in the group has.  The bragger may leave at some point and then the group descends into bitching.

“Did you hear what she was saying…?”

The temptation is to get in the group mentality and start joining in – whatever you do don’t!  It won’t make you feel any better and their is a possibility that someone could be two-faced and report back what you said.  Just listen and observe and be glad that it wasn’t just you that noticed a big-headed bragger!

 

One-up them

Another method is trying to upstage the bragger.  This is pointless because the reason for bragging is down to their own insecurities and because of this they will always find a way to belittle your own achievements.

In childhood my best friend Simon was needlessly insecure because his parents had divorced and I was in a happy family unit.
How did he make up for this?  He would brag, talking about where his dad had taken him, what his step dad had bought him, all the foreign holidays they went on.  To make it worse he would brag because his family had the wealth to spoil him.

In my young inexperienced age my natural reaction was to try and one-up him, so I would talk about all the great things I did, what my parents had bought me, etc, etc…

But I was never going to one-up Simon – even if it was really impressive he would find ways of putting down everything I ever did.

After a while I had no energy to even try to compete.  I soon realised that Simon was actually a bit of a prick and we grew apart.
Dwelling on a bragger
The worst way to handle a bragger is to dwell and actually be jealous of what they say.  I have already mentioned in a past post, I encountered a bragger who couldn’t help brag about how well his project was going.

Mine was going okay, but nowhere on the level of his success.  So I let myself stew over this, his success was my failure.  I don’t mind people being more successful than me, but what really annoyed me was his lack of humility.

I mentioned this to my mentor and to my surprise she turned round and said “Why does it matter?  Concentrate on your own results”.

And that is the best advice I have ever received and those words I follow to this day.  So focus on being better and not bitter.

I found that once I stopped dwelling on a bragger and put that focus into my life, things for me got much better.

The good thing is because your not insecure, you won’t become another bragger.  Instead let your actions do the talking.

The art of doing nothing:

So to refresh – doing absolutely nothing is the best approach.  The next time someone shamelessly brags in front of you about something they have done, say:

“Oh, that’s nice..”

Or

“How interesting…”

Or

“Well done!”

These are statements that don’t really open up the opportunity to continue showing off.  But make sure this is said with sincerity otherwise it will come across as sarcastic and you go back to coming across jealous and insecure.

Conclusion:

When I learned that the bragger was insignificant my life got better – I didn’t feel I had to live up to others, be threatened by their ‘achievements’* and learnt to enjoy what I had done.

So remember:

  • Starve them of their desire for attention
  • Don’t mock or bitch about them or you just look jealous
  • Don’t feel the need to try and one-up them
  • Focus on living your own life and not worry what they have ‘done’
  • Don’t react to the bragger and say ‘Well done’

 

 


*Note I say ‘achievements’ because as stated a bragger is insecure – although they may have actually achieved what they are bragging about there is the possibility that they have made up the achievement to feel better about themselves.  If that is the case the joke is on them as they will feel more insecure in the long run for lying about things they haven’t actually done.

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4 thoughts on “How do you handle a bragger?

  1. I whole heartedly agree with what your mentor said. “Why does it matter?”

    Whenever ppl complain to me about how others get better treatment and why is it that some ppl get to skive off at work and they themselves can’t and would even get into trouble for it?

    I’d always respond to them this way as well.
    In turn, I’d add in exactly what your mentor said. Something like this:

    “Why do you care? As long as you do your part and ensure things don’t go wrong and you actually learn something through your experience? You’ve got nothing to lose and all to gain.
    And to heck with others who are making you feeling horrible. They aren’t worth your time” lol.

    I mean ppl can’t fault you for doing your job right. A lot of ppl are so focused on others not doing their jobs that they’d start doing the same. Not good.

    If all else fails, indeed:
    “Wow! That’s really interesting!” Followed by an awkward silence XD

    Great article as always, James 😉

    Your pal,
    Benjamin
    http://www.projectbiy.com

    1. No point copying the bad role models – in many ways it is an advantage, because those who work hard, are good and prove themselves valuable move up. The lazy languish!

      And thanks! Always good to hear others thoughts!

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