Have you started telling your colleagues how you’re SO busy whenever they ask you for help? Have you ever suggested you should be getting paid SO MUCH MORE for all the work you’re doing? Or how about acting SO SHOCKED you got a promotion, even though you’ve been busting your ass the entire time?
All these are prime examples of the humble brag: a statement that SOUNDS modest, but is actually just an attempt to get people to pay attention to you and notice how AMAZING you are.
While you might think you’re *politely* pointing out your accomplishments to people, everyone else can see right through you, honey. Here’s why humble bragging is having the total opposite effect than the one you intended:
You seem incompetent.
If you’re constantly complaining about how busy you are at work, you might feel like doing so is making you look more important than you really are.
You might be under the impression that saying how busy you are shows how much work you’ve been trusted with. But BBC writer Lennox Morrison says being busy has completely lost its appeal in the workplace.
Rather than making a positive impression, you’re more likely to be seen as inefficient and rude.
We’re ALL busy, so if you act like you can’t help someone else because of how little time you have, people just think you can’t do your job or don’t care enough to help anyone.
So, maybe slow down on that “I’m soooooooo busy” talk.
Nobody likes a show off.
It’s been seen when we brag to another person – humble brag or not – we actually OVERESTIMATE how happy the person will be for us. A study in Psychological Science involved speaking to several participants and asking them to determine both their feelings and the feelings of the person they bragged to.
It turns out we place more emphasis on positive responses and undermine someone’s negative response to our bragging. So, yeah: People are annoyed at you, and you’re just kind of clueless about it.
You come across as insincere.
This tweet from Taylor Swift says it all:
My Instagram just hit 50 million, thanks so much guys. Though I’m pretty sure it’s just because I have cute cats. pic.twitter.com/e2ZacE66JK
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) October 8, 2015
CLEARLY, not many people can relate to having so many followers, and she could’ve just been grateful about it. There was no reason for her to mention her cats, or pretend like she doesn’t realize what a huge star she is.
Adding those details to her complaint makes her seem fake and insincere, and people could read RIGHT THROUGH her.
Researchers at Harvard Business school even conducted a study to assess the effects of humble bragging. They asked 302 participants to imagine the person who said each of these statements:
1. I am so bored (a neutral statement).
2. People mistake me for a model (an obvious brag).
3. I am so bored of people mistaking me for a model (a humble brag).
The complainers were actually seen as most sincere, with the humble braggers being – surprise, surprise – the LEAST honest.
Sorry, guys: Your humble brag isn’t fooling ANYONE.
So, yeah: The next time something great happens to you at the office and you want to draw attention to it, just brag about it like a NORMAL person.
People are expecting you to be happy about your accomplishments because it’s a totally normal reaction to have. You won’t come across as arrogant as long as you do it in a way that’s polite, excited and yes… ACTUALLY humble.