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Nobody Likes A Humblebragger, According To A New Study

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Dami Olonisakin

Editorial Assistant

clockJan 15 2018, 09:59 UTC

Stock Rocket/Shutterstock

No one really likes a humblebragger, let’s be honest. It's always so obvious what they're trying to do. They don't want their hard work to go unnoticed, but at the same time, they don't want to be too obvious when blowing their own trumpet. It's a bit of a catch 22.

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Now, a new study shows that being a humblebragger actually makes people dislike you (pretends to be shocked) more than when you're bragging in a genuine and sincere way.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and led by Ovul Sezer, a behavioral scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

“It’s such a common phenomenon. All of us know some people in our lives, whether in social media or in the workplace, who do this annoying thing,” Sezer told Time

Sezer and her colleagues looked into how often people were guilty of humblebragging, which can be defined as “bragging masked by a complaint or humility”. According to the researchers, this is done "to both elicit sympathy and impress others". 

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Sezer noted that humblebragging comes in two different forms. The first is humility-based, an example being, “I can’t believe I got the highest grade in my class”. The second type comes sprinkled with a bit of complaint, for example, “I can’t believe that shopkeeper asked me for ID, I’m 25!”

The researchers spoke to 646 people and found that 70 percent of them could identify a recent moment when they had heard someone humblebrag. What's more, 60 percent of these humblebrags involved the humblebragger complaining. 

The study showed that despite the slight difference between the two types of humblebragging, both were seen negatively by others. In fact, people were found to perceive humblebraggers as less competent, be less likely to comply with their requests, and even be less financially generous towards them. 

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“If you want to announce something, go with the brag and at least own your self-promotion and reap the rewards of being sincere, rather than losing in all dimensions,” Sezer told Time.

Past research has also shown that people promote themselves to seem more favorable to others, but according to Sezer's research, it doesn't always do the trick.


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