The psychology of bragging, the reason why some people can’t stop doing it.
Storytelling is fun. We enjoy sharing our own successes in life. Parents do this most of the time. They are proud of the success of their sons or daughters.
But hearing someone boasting about personal or others’ achievements over and over again can be annoying. It is difficult to listen to a story which sole purpose is to boast something.
Sometimes we wonder why some people keep doing it. Why do people keep bragging? Well, they do it for the following reasons:
People who always brag about their personal achievements are actually lacking the sense of self-confidence and pride. In reality, bragging is their medium to make a point and make other people aware of what they have.
They want their neighbors and friends to notice everything that makes them proud. Bragging also their instrument to make other people know that they are better than others.
Bragging is not only happening in the traditional face to face interaction but more so on social media. Notice how many people do post their daily activities online? Most of those photos are irrelevant.
Why would millions of people do that? Again, that’s simply the function of insecurity and illusionary feeling of being not enough.
But the people who habitually do this behavior are mostly unaware of why they do it. Their main purpose is not to hurt or demean someone though. They just try to cover their vulnerabilities with self-proclaimed successes.
2. Need to be recognized and valued by others
In reality, we don’t need to tell the world about what we have achieved. Eventually, people know who you are. Our actions can be a good storyteller.
However, in an intimidating situation, when our ego is threatened, we start to cover up ourselves with great stories. We tend to tell others who we are in terms of our achievements. We want to be recognized and admired.
Bragging is also a vehicle to show someone that we have just moved on from any emotional turmoil that he/she caused us. A person who has previously experienced a relationship breakup may brag a smiling photo of him/her on social media.
Rejection will devastatingly affect our self-esteem. We take care of our personal image especially when we are in a group. We want to be liked by others. And to do that, we tend to impress them with our personal stories.
But why we almost always apply this behavior to social interaction? Sure, there is a scientific explanation. Here is the psychology of bragging.
The scientists realized that bragging is a common behavior. In fact, it is synonymous to our craving with food and sex. This was discovered by a Harvard study in 2012.
As human beings with vulnerabilities, we might be caught up in a situation where we are unconsciously telling our personal stories. We might not be aware of the very purpose of doing so. But, certainly, we are trying to protect our self-esteem.
People with many insecurities may usually engage in this type of behavior. Secure people do not bother to do the same. In fact, they avoid the following:
1. Brag their achievements
Secure people know that they are heading in the right direction of their lives. Their self-esteem is high and stable. They don’t need others to praise them and acknowledge their success to feel good. Thus, there’s no need to talk about their personal achievements.
2. Find assurance and belongingness
Secure people don’t need reassurance from others. They know their personal appearance and looks. They are already comfortable with themselves and their current social circle. Maybe others admire for their successes and talents, but certainly, they don’t purposely pursue it.
3. Seek more followers on social media
Secure people also have social media accounts. But they use it for business. If people like their posts, it will be great. But if not, it is also fine. In short, they don’t strive for popularity. They don’t even care how many followers they have online.
4. Dominate a conversation
A secure person talks and listens. He/she will never dictate the pacing of the conversation. A secure person is open for suggestions and new ideas. He/she will listen even to boring facts because he/she treats everyone equally.
5. Pretend to be the smartest one
Secure people accept their weaknesses. They know that they are not perfect. They don’t bother to impress anyone. Instead, they are eager to learn new things from others.
The human behavior is complex. There are many reasons why a person brags. The points discussed here are only a few. Nonetheless, you’ve just learned the psychology of bragging.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.