I’m Awesome at Humility
Bragging is an interesting practice. I can’t be sure but I suspect that men are better at it than women. Although that might just be a man bragging. But then again, perhaps the notion of being “better at bragging” is something of a contradiction or possibly even, an oxymoron. Hmm…
Where’s a bloody English teacher when I need one? Or a philosopher?
As is my daily ritual, this morning I found myself immersed in the middle of coffee, newspaper and general banter with the some of the regulars at my local cafe. Perched at my outside table in three degrees with steam coming off my early morning cuppa, I found myself soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of the microcosm that is my bayside community. It’s my favourite time of the day and it’s often a fascinating study in humanity. Some people rushing, some not. Some stopping on their way back from the gym, some heading off to work. Some loading up on their drug of choice to kick-start their brain and some having a pit-stop on their early morning stroll with Fido.
And some doing their best to impress.
Today I found myself in the middle of (okay, a metre from) one of the all-time great displays of bragging. Again, maybe ‘great’ is not the best choice of words but you know what I mean. There were four guys at a table across from me and one of them was so desperate to impress his buddies that his stories seemed to escalate from unlikely to ridiculous to ‘that’s total bullshit’ over the course of about twenty fascinating minutes.
At every opportunity, the dude would re-direct the conversation back to himself and when there was no opportunity, he’d interject and create one. At one stage he cut someone off mid-sentence and then with zero self-awareness began to regale the group with accounts of his all-around amazingness. It was so amusing that I had to look up from my paper. I couldn’t help myself. I needed something visual with my audio. As it happened, the dude in question had his back to me but two members of his audience were facing me. I felt sorry for them as they both looked frustrated and bored. If not, a little pissed at his self-indulgent monologue.
I was just about to return to my paper when one of the guys glanced across at me. It was subtle but it was a knowing glance. I think it was a mix of ‘I’m really sorry’ and ‘help’. Although it could have been ‘could you please hit him over the head with your chair?’ I can’t really be sure. His next action made me laugh. In a nano-second, he half-smiled at me, shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. He said nothing yet he said everything. The braggart was so self-absorbed he didn’t notice a thing.
We know why people do it (fear, insecurity) but the irony of the brag is that it almost never produces the desired result. In fact in most instances, it will create the opposite. The braggart wants more respect, his self-indulgence generates less. He seeks approval, he creates disapproval. He wants engagement, he creates disconnection. He wants to be more attractive, he becomes less.
In conclusion, three things to ponder…
1. Humility is one of the more attractive qualities.
2. If you’re awesome, people will figure it out.
3. If you want to connect, talk about them (not you).