Sunday, 16 December 2012

BRAGGING, BRAGGING, AND BRAGGING! Is it a normal behavior or a disorder plaguing the modern society?

It is on a typical Friday evening. Karis and Joel are on their favorite nyama choma joint in a group of friends and they all are sipping their favorite beer brand. “Hey, didn’t I tell you the other day that I will soon buy a Panasonic Video Camera before Christmas which I will use to shoot my sister’s wedding video who lives in United States of America? Guess What, I bought it yesterday at a cost of Kshs 260,000. I was thinking it may cost more but was surprised to find that it was so cheap.” Joel ostentatiously said. “My sister will be coming aboard the new Virgin Atlantic Boeing 767 which is set to be making its maiden journey to Africa this week. Karis, will you join me to go and meet my sister?” To the surprise of everyone in the restaurant who was eaves-dropping the heated one sided conversation, Karis turned down the offer. You have nearly guessed what type of scenario I am talking about. Why did I give the above scenario? Read on and know.

A Bragger in Action.

Am going to explain:-
  1. What is bragging
  2. Signs that someone is bragging
  3. Why do people brag
  4. How to deal with a bragger
  5. Why bragging is wrong for you
Being near people who brag a lot can be so annoying and at times can make us feel powerless in certain situations.

What is Bragging?
From a dictionary the meaning of Brag: To talk with excessive pride about an achievement or possession. Same as swagger: means to talk boastfully about personal accomplishments. To blow your own horn, to blow your own trumpet are the idioms related to bragging. In psychiatry, there is a personality disorder related to bragging called narcissism. This is in psychiatry, a personality disorder characterized by the patient's overestimation of his or her own appearance and abilities and an excessive need for admiration. It is good to show off to a safe and acceptable level but there is a limit beyond which it becomes annoying and it will drive friends away.
People who brag about themselves are so annoying because, although we all understand that being positive is a good thing, tooting your own trumpet so loudly that no one else can hear themselves think is unbecoming. We also feel annoyed when we come across a consistent bragger because most of us know that people who need to bolster their esteem at the expense of others on a regular basis are generally insecure.

Signs that someone is bragging

The tendency to brag, to center conversations around oneself, and to come across as superior to others has a lot to do with one’s self-esteem. Self-esteem has to do with the appraisal one makes of their worth as a person. Ironically enough, individuals who don’t have sufficient self-respect often feel tempted to validate themselves by bragging about their abilities and accomplishments. The most obvious signs that someone is bragging are:-
  • Constantly drawing attention towards themselves whenever they are in a group of people by e.g. showing off a new item, talking too loudly while cutting someone’s else statement, sitting in a peculiar position to get noticed etc. This is more evident in men than ladies.
  • Wrestling other people’s ideas and points especially in a group of people in order to make their point as to appear more smart and superior.
  • Constantly talking about their achievements and accomplishments e.g. cars bought in a certain period of time, important places travelled, high-profile personalities they are connected with, have met, etc
  • Making noise while walking in a quiet room i.e. shoes that make sharp noise when walking, dragging chairs while standing etc. This is more evident in ladies than men.
  • Coughing, sneezing, wearing etc in an exaggerated manner in order to attract attention.
The signs may vary depending on situations. Keen observation will help you to know when someone is bragging.

Why do people Brag?
The most obvious reason is to attract attention. But according to researches that have been carried concerning human behavior, bragging is normally caused by:-
  • Low or lack of self-esteem. Braggers lack confidence in their own merit as an individual person hence the need to constantly sell themselves to the surrounding. This at times gets outright annoying when the bragger is looking down upon others or lying in order to appear smarter.
  • Incompetence in knowledge and skills also drives people to brag where they do not wish to be seen or to admit that they do not know or are lacking in knowledge.
  • Cultural and social Stereotyping. Braggers wish they had a certain status and recognition in the society that they do not have hence they will brag of their social status, economic status, possessions, accomplishments while in reality they are none of what they claim to be.
Reasons for people bragging vary according to socio-economic situations in our society among other factors.

How to deal with a bragger
The temptation to back off and avoid a bragger is very high but it would be nice to help someone who has a social disorder. It is very difficult, almost impossible to make and maintain a true friendship with a bragger. They just don't make room for you. It's as though they are always the driver, while you are forced to sit in the boot of the vehicle with no control over where you are going. It is equally difficult to deal with a bragger who is arrogant and unwilling to reason. So how can we deal with a bragger?
  • Probably the best way to deal with such a person is with humor that knocks the seriousness out of their self bolstering claims. A touch of lightheartedness, accompanied by a lack of encouragement will help a bragger to fizzle out of bragging material far faster than simply going with the flow. Encouraging the bragger’s talk is like adding paraffin to a fire.
  • Get to know that braggers are mostly insensitive and thick skinned, often proud and unreasoning. This is to serve as a defense mechanism. They are generally unaware that their bragging is annoying and anti-social.
  • If you are as cocky as the bragger, pull him/her down by conspicuously outsmarting him/her. Bring up different topics. If they said, "I am getting a red sports car for my birthday!" you could say "My dad works at a place where they sell sports cars! Where does your dad work?" This will do the magic. Be smart!
  • The more impressed others appear to be, the more the bragger continues with their behavior. By neglecting or ignoring their bragging you can keep the behavior to the minimum.
  • If you say to her/him that you have something good and want to tell her/him about it, and then she/he says they have that and something better, say that you doubt it and walk off to other friends. Encouraging the bragger to show the “better” thing will fuel the bragging.
  • Ignore the bragger completely if he/she keeps on saying that he/she is everything.
  • Avoid yelling to a bragger or else you will end up in a heated argument.
  • If the bragger keeps on annoying you, gather the courage to tell him/her that you are not interested.
  • If all does not work, ditch your bragging friend and concentrate with other friends who you have common interests. Remember, you are the only one who can measure your self –worth and you should never let other people’s actions or words affect your mood or self-esteem.

Why bragging is wrong for you
A good level of blowing one’s own trumpet is socially beneficial. But when overdone, it will have a negative impact upon our lives. Among the reasons why bragging is wrong for you are:-
  • Bragging will lock out potential friends from your life and drive away the existing friends since the behavior leaves no room for other people to come in our lives.
  • Sooner or later, people will know your real nature and will not only hate you but will despise you. People will have no reason to trust what you say and do.
  • It is difficult to have people help you since they subconsciously think that you are self-sufficient in everything.
  • Bragging prevents someone from acquiring new knowledge and skills since it makes you feel that you are “an expert” in everything. It also makes you stagnant socially and economically as braggers rarely or never attract potential business deals. Why? They are already “rich”.
For a healthy social life, avoid blowing your own trumpet so loudly, you will scare people away!!
Have a good day.


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