humblebrag2

Stop Doing This If You Want People to Like you.

In a strange coincidence, I read two articles today that each offered up reasons why people may not like you. (I’m not sure what that says about the types of articles that somehow end up in my inbox or Facebook feed.)

Between the two articles, there was just one characterisitic that was in common to both.

One article, Science Reveals Why We Don’t Like Some People by Robby Berman, offered up four behaviors that can potentially turn off people. Those behaviors are:

  • Being an egomaniac
  • Humblebragging
  • Pestering people about their ethical choices
  • Correcting people’s typos

The second article, “13 things you’re doing that make people dislike you immediately written by Shana Lebowitz, offers up the following advice:

  • Sharing too may photos on Facebook
  • Having too many, or too few, Facebook friends
  • Disclosing something extremely personal early on in a relationship
  • Asking someone questions without talking about yourself at all
  • Posting a close-up profile photo
  • Hiding your emotions
  • Acting too nice
  • Humblebragging
  • Getting too nervous
  • Not smiling
  • Acting like you don’t like someone
  • Having a hard-to-pronounce name
  • Name-dropping

So if you look closely, you will notice that one characteristic is common to each list – humblebragging. If you’ve never heard of the phrase, here is a definition from Wikipedia:

an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.

Here’s an example I found on the Internet:

the fact that Wikipedia lists me as a notable alumni of my college speaks ill of the reliability of crowd-sourced info

There’s even a Harvard Business School Research working paper on the topic, “Humblebragging: A Distinct – and Ineffective – Self-Presentation Strategy“. The study concludes that “despite the belief that combining bragging with complaining or humility confers the benefits of each strategy, we find that humblebragging confers the benefits of neither, instead backfiring because it is seen as insincere.”

So it seems as if a key aspect to getting people to like you is to not engage in humblebragging.

So moving forward, I’m going to stop pretending to be humble, and instead just start bragging about everything I accomplish.

The problem with this new approach is that I guess I actually have to accomplish something…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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