Humble-bragging: The Mask of Self-Deprecation


Self-deprecation is not the answer to humility.

Viola Davis

Likeability … so critical to your success that it can completely alter your performance. Many people believe that being likeable is natural, just for a lucky few: The good looking one, the super social one, and the incredibly talented one.

Being likeable however, is under your control -it’s a matter of emotional intelligence.

Then there are the ones who confuse being likable with giving themselves bragging rights. I’m going to be the first one to tell you to own your shit –as long as you’re providing value.

But we all know those people who like to brag about themselves behind the mask of self-deprecation. You know, the one who makes fun of him/herself for being ‘geeky’ when what he/she really wants to do is point out the fact that he/she’s smart or the one who makes fun of her/himself for keeping a strict diet when she/he really wants you to know how fit she/he is.

Many people think that self-deprecation masks their bragging. Guess what? Everyone can see right through it. The bragging then becomes more frustrating, because it isn’t just bragging; it’s also an attempt to deceive.

Photo by Graham Roumieu

And …who wants to be known as braggalicious?

Ironically, the attempt at minimizing big news can actually work against us, irritating others and turning their perception of us to a negative one.

We ‘boast’ because we want to feel valued and important, but bragging can be tricky. When we do it IRL, we can see how people react to what we are saying, on social however, not so much.

And to deal, what do we do? We try to tamper with the brag. We add a self-deprecating comment or disclaimer, hoping that our ‘friends’ on social won’t detect it or be offended by it.

And I get, we get nervous about how what we are sharing will be received, and then …before you know it, you’re humble-bragging.

Posting on social media is a modern-day confessional and humble-bragging is manufactured modesty. It’s the dishonesty that bothers people. It can damage your reputation within your online community as people will quickly figure out when you lack authenticity.

POINT: Whether it’s telling your friends about an accomplishment, sharing that we’ve bought a new MAC or car, or bragging about our children’s talents, we’ve all done it.

We feel good when we share our successes or the successes of those we love. In fact, a paper published in 2012 by two Harvard neuroscientists said that talking about ourselves gives us the same kind of pleasure we get from sex or food!

If you’re going to brag, be honest about it. Give some thought to the language you’re using.

Your friends will actually want to celebrate with you!

References taken from :

Travis Bradberry, Entrepreneur Contributor 

Alexandra Kay, Real Simple Contributor

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