Sometimes it takes a while to recognize the clues found in the actions and words of a braggart. Are you dating one? Or have you?
You know…that interesting person you met and thought was going to be great? But despite having some qualities you look for in a partner, like independence, good looks, manners, humor… this person does something that really bugs you—brags. Like a kid at school broadcasting his “coolness” or the marginal coworker who always tells you how much the boss loves her. These people can go on and on about their professional accomplishments, possessions, talents, and even how much other people admire them. Why do braggarts feel compelled to advertise?
Let’s look at some of the reasons some people brag and the difference between confidence and arrogance.
First of all, realize that there is a certain amount of bragging to be expected in dating — especially in the early stages. You are trying to impress one another, show your value, and sell yourselves. No matter how humble you are—at some point you may be tempted to do a little boasting.
However, chronic braggarts never seem to slow down after those first couple dates. Why?
They seem to be in love with themselves, don’t they? But, in fact, the opposite may be true, and often is. One of the most common underlying causes of bragging is low self-esteem. These people crave the attention. If they feel insecure about perceived failures, they will likely overcompensate by drawing attention to the things they consider worth bragging about.
Your initial assumption that these people are supremely self-assured soon gives way to an understanding that it’s not self-confidence you see…it’s simply arrogance. Confident people are positive, optimistic, enjoyable to be around, and do not seek approval for their accomplishments or possessions. They know and accept their faults and are okay with themselves.
Arrogant people feel insecure about their weaknesses and will rarely if ever acknowledge them. In addition to frequent bragging, arrogant people build themselves up by putting others down. Does your date talk about people at work only to point out how foolish their mistakes are? Or maybe how it was your date’s job to “clean up” someone else’s “mess?” At first you are intrigued by what you see as competence and success in your date, but in time you may realize these comments are merely overcompensation.
The result of chronic boasting is that these folks don’t have many, or any, close relationships.
At first you may not realize that your date doesn’t have any friends, as he or she will talk about other people all the time. It seems obvious at first that these are friends. But in time it dawns on you – there are no actual relationships with these folks, because the braggart’s competitive nature and unattractive tendency to boast and put others down impedes any true connections.
Often braggarts were raised in a culture of competition in which siblings had to jockey for position and recognition. If they did not feel unconditionally loved by their parents, they may have compensated by using bragging and self-advertising as a way to prove their worth to their parents, and, eventually, to themselves. These braggarts may be so used to this way of being that they are unaware that their boastfulness is annoying and believe people are actually impressed.
A braggart is very unlikely to be able to see and value you for your wonderful qualities. Appreciation for you and, ultimately, true intimacy, may be impeded by a sense of competition with you, or simply an inability to recognize others as autonomous and independent people, but merely as mirrors to reflect their own glory back at them. Whatever the case, I’m sorry to say that William Shakespeare was right when he wrote: “Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.”
As you navigate the dating world you will meet all kinds of interesting people. Take the time to get to know and experience them in different situations before investing in them emotionally and physically. Enjoy the journey with your relationship requirements intact and settle for nothing less than you want and deserve.