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The Best Article Ever Written About Bragging (lesspenguiny.com)
362 points by less_penguiny 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 124 comments



I really dont like bragging, but I've noticed in groups where no one is bragging or talking about themselves its really boring.

I have a bunch of really smart friends who do really interesting things and when we meet up its like what are you up to? Nothing much. Nothing interesting. Later you find out that they just visited Mongolia, another is learning Russian and the other built renewable power system for a holiday house they just bought, but they're too worried about bragging to bring it up. (exaggerated) Meanwhile I (and I'm guessing they) dont like social status but kinda disappointed they don't get loved much.

Meanwhile I have other asshole friends who talk about the new expensive kitchen he got installed and its actually nice to hate on him and have a decent conversation about it.

So I'm starting to rethink my views on bragging. Maybe its a good thing.


I'm surprised the author quoted Why Nerds are Unpopular and didn't cite what I feel like is the most relevant part:

When there is some real external test of skill, it isn't painful to be at the bottom of the hierarchy. A rookie on a football team doesn't resent the skill of the veteran; he hopes to be like him one day and is happy to have the chance to learn from him. The veteran may in turn feel a sense of noblesse oblige. And most importantly, their status depends on how well they do against opponents, not on whether they can push the other down.

It is nice to be in a group where people can do praise-worthy things and be praised for them. And, as the conclusion addresses, it is nice to give praise when due. This norm can be eroded by braggers. But it can also be eroded by people taking any mention of an accomplishment as a slight.

For example, the Oxford anecdote seems like the author going out of his way to feel slighted and assume malice. The excited salesperson anecdote is similar. Do others have a duty to mask excitement out of worry that it could be interpreted as bragging?

One of the best habits I have adopted is muttering "good on them" and moving along when an emotion suspiciously similar to jealously starts bubbling up.


I disagree that the "external test of skill" is the direct cause of what makes it less painful to be at the bottom of the hierarchy. It's merely the membership in the group; to be an effective team camaraderie is important, so it will be pursued for its own goals, but there are other ways of camaraderie forming.

I (male) grew up in a neighborhood with several boys my own age. I was the nerdy/awkward &c. one and so I was picked on when it was just that group. However, I was absolutely part of that group, and I saw the difference that made both with my other equally awkward peers that lacked such a group, and my sister, who was less awkward, but had it much rougher.


That is so much more about attitude than bragging. Your smart friends have not been exposed enough or can't put their minds into the mindset of sharing things without maybe being afraid of sounding like a show-off. It could be hard to get them into habit of doing so but maybe if there was other people around who'd showcase the "more interesting" way of sharing things they'd slowly change their attitudes. It's hard to describe but I'm positive by slowly introducing elements of "bragging" or maybe in this case just sharing without care the situation would change.

It could also be that they just don't have strong enough rapport with you that they'd feel sharing all those things with you, I don't know. Maybe next time tease them with something along the lines "c'mon I know you've been up to something". But take your time, don't expect things to change immediately.


> I have a bunch of really smart friends who do really interesting things and when we meet up its like what are you up to? Nothing much. Nothing interesting. Later you find out that they just visited Mongolia, another is learning Russian and the other built renewable power system for a holiday house they just bought, but they're too worried about bragging to bring it up.

I love it how you used "Reflected Glory Bragging" (point 9) right here! It's great, I'm upvoting your comment :)


> So I'm starting to rethink my views on bragging. Maybe its a good thing.

I'm not sure sharing should be conflated with bragging. You can talk about things you're doing or building without being excessively proud or boastful.


You're conflating bragging and simply talking about oneself, which the article has painstakingly distinguished between. Bragging involves imposition, i.e. forcing something that isn't asked for. If I ask someone what they've been up to, its absolutely not bragging for them to actually talk about it.


This. I try to never brag, but I do it without realizing it sometimes. You are lucky to have such smart and humble friends! Unlike you, I am so much smarter than everyone I know irl. Just telling people what I had for breakfast, much less what I was working on while I ate it, literally makes people feel bad about themselves. I'd love to expand on this idea but you guys are smart just like me so I probably don't even need to explain anymore. I also need to get back to this calculation I am doing for my deep learning nueral network model to search for a possible newly discovered particle at CERN, where I work.


Bragging is one thing. Having something interesting to tell is another.

The problem here is not lack of bragging, but lack of a desire to share something that others would enjoy.

As usual, solving this for oneself, and always having something curious and smalltalk-worthy on hand can solve it for everyone around.


I've experienced the same. But I think you're highlighting the difference between push and pull sharing. Separately, the content of either method of sharing can be more braggadocious or factual. That said, I find people who need to brag usually push-share.


There's a lot of middle ground between misleading-downplaying and bragging.


Hi less_penguiny - absolutely loved this article.

Brilliant writing.

I'm also finding myself thinking a lot about social interactions, especially the dumb nonsense vast swathes of our populations carry out, and being currently in the middle of Desmond Morris "Human Zoo" (brilliant, slightly dated, but you'll love it if you're not familiar) your piece really struck a chord - particularly with "Bragging is personally imposing what-you-believe-to-be status-elevating thoughts on your audience". Status, tribes, dominance, all seem explain so much modern phenomena from a species which ought to know better.

In "About" you write "I was heartbroken by the tumbleweed response I got for my last writing project, so I don’t intend to spin my wheels writing in vain again."

Please don't feel discouraged I get much the same on pretty much every submission I post here, so it's not you, per se! Writing is the easy and fun part, but like a startup I suspect promotion, networking, and all that play a big part. Being an established name makes a huge difference too - it all gets much harder if you don't have a large following.

Are you on Twitter? That can be good for exposure. Happy to follow and RT!

Best of luck!


Your assessment of the article prompted me to actually read it. Now I can't help but feel that your whole comment is one giant brag!

> Hi less_penguiny - absolutely loved this article. > Brilliant writing.

Bragging about your good taste.

> I'm also finding myself thinking a lot about social interactions, especially the dumb nonsense vast swathes of our populations carry out, and being currently in the middle of Desmond Morris "Human Zoo" (brilliant, slightly dated, but you'll love it if you're not familiar) your piece really struck a chord - particularly with "Bragging is personally imposing what-you-believe-to-be status-elevating thoughts on your audience". Status, tribes, dominance, all seem explain so much modern phenomena from a species which ought to know better.

Also a brag: "I'm so much more aware than the rest of them average people". Followed by one-upmanship brag: book recommendation.

> In "About" you write "I was heartbroken by the tumbleweed response I got for my last writing project, so I don’t intend to spin my wheels writing in vain again."

> Please don't feel discouraged I get much the same on pretty much every submission I post here, so it's not you, per se! Writing is the easy and fun part, but like a startup I suspect promotion, networking, and all that play a big part. Being an established name makes a huge difference too - it all gets much harder if you don't have a large following.

Another "I've been here long enough" brag.


Ha ha it wasn't intended that way but I can't argue with you right now, I need to clean the mess one of my horses just made beside my new Porsche. Honestly, servants can't get anything right these days...


Wow thanks for the praise! The positive response here has been deeply affirming — I'm sitting at my coworking space with the real-time Google Analytics tab open and a grin on my face the width of Texas.

I've got a mailing list: https://www.lesspenguiny.com/email_subscribers/new

Both Twitter and Facebook suspended my newly created accounts for this project – I think they took offense to my entering first name "Less", surname: "Penguiny"

Funny aside: Facebook's tool to un-suspend my account asked me to submit a photo. I uploaded a photo of a penguin, since that's my profile photo, the only one they have of me in their system.

"Sorry, your photo could not be recognized".


I have now subscribed! What ideas you thinking about for your next pieces?

And what are your goals if you don't mind me asking, I mean I don't see any obvious monetization stuff on your site? If you get 10m views a month does that help you avoid rejoining the rat race or are you not really thinking so far ahead yet?


I'm at a juncture – my last project wound down and I'm considering where to take my career next.

Basically my main two options are:

* start another technical company and go all-in

* freelance half of the time, spend the other half on the LessPenguiny project. Monetization would be nice, but it isn't necessary. I'd sacrifice cash for impact in this area.

As for future pieces, I've analyzing my data (about 2000 observations, already coded) and I've got a lot of material on:

* why some people seem so impossibly warm

* how conversations get started between strangers (not in a pick-up way, but more in a normal day-to-day way)

* why some people are fascinating conversationalists

* compliments — are they good or do they make people uncomfortable?


Instantly signed up for your mailing list. Was super bummed to see there was only one article on your site!

Also, I think you can hit a great niche. I've never found any sort of super qualitative examination on social interactions like you have done. Traditionally HtWFaIP is the 'go to' book for this kind of stuff, but its age shows a little and leaves a lot of implementation details in the dark.


I mean, acronyms are fine but what is HtWFaIP supposed to mean?

Article related funny thought: you're bragging about being in enough on a certain study area that you recognize/use foundational texts by acronym even if they're complicated.


I believe the acronym stands for the title of the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."


If it in any way matters, I'd be very glad to read some insights on why some people seem so impossibly warm (assuming you don't mean "body temperature"). My fondest memories of meeting people for the first time is always meeting people who exude genuine warmth and I'd really like to be like them some day.


I'm interested in the compliment one! If is see someone compliment-worthy, I nearly universally don't give the compliment. Ex, "that's a wonderful dress" as I pass someone on the train. Instead of potentially brightening someone's day, I'm worried I'll be considered some creep.


I can remember a specific time where I complimented a stranger. I was probably around sixteen or seventeen. A young lady was sitting in front of me on the bus and obviously quite nervous. I noticed that she would repeatedly dig in to her handbag, get out her makeup, make the smallest adjustment to her face, then put her makeup away again. She must have done this four or five times, putting the entire makeup box away and getting it out again each time. I told myself if she does it one more time, I’ll say something. Lo and behold she starts to get her makeup out again, so I tapped her on the shoulder. She spun round, and I said “You’re pretty enough.” She beamed me a huge smile, sheepishly said thank you and wished me a good day when she got off the bus.


Yep, it’s definitely tricky gauging when and how to complement a stranger. I find it quite fun complimenting my friends and acquaintances. It’s really just quite funny to see a person’s reaction to a completely “curveball” type compliment that you throw at them out of the blue.


> why some people seem so impossibly warm

Not to be confused with the manipulative charisma of a narcissist, these peeps are just a little bowl of Californian sunshine. I'm always downlow super jealous because as far as I can tell it's completely effortless and unforced. I can switch it on but there's a small yet infinite difference. Pheromones? Excess oxytocin? Or is it metaphysics?


Well - good luck whichever path you take. Re your future pieces they all sound interesting.

Out of interest are you a natural intuitive "people person"? I am not - which is maybe why this stuff is so interesting to me. But when it's explained the explanations often feel "right", I wouldn't say emotions and interactions go entirely over my head.


Definitely not a natural intuitive "people person" though I am outgoing and get great joy and energy from meeting new people.

I was informally diagnosed with Asperger's by teachers at school. Also I didn't really get my social life together until I started doing what I do best — analyzing the crap out of how it all works.


There have been times where I’ve off-handedly complimented someone, and their ensuing uncomfortableness makes me feel uncomfortable. Would love to read your insights on the topic!


All great topics. I have subscribed and looking forward reading each of those.


I really enjoyed it as well. I'd also suggest an RSS feed; although it makes it harder to track who reads your articles, I really prefer to not sign up for email updates.

Anyway, keep it up!


Just cobbled one together – LMK if it works https://www.lesspenguiny.com/feed.rss


Check the links on the stories, it doesn’t yet work. Also, why truncate the feed?


well spotted. both should be addressed now


Another tiny little cosmetic error. On your about page you talk about being "file" star Jeff Goldblum. Should that be "film" star?


Excellent, I've subscribed! Thanks, looking forward to future articles :)


The unfortunate reality is that if you don’t sing your own praises, you will miss out on opportunities in life. Most people don’t have the time to really pay attention to what you’re doing (bosses, interviewers, dating interests, etc), so you have to make them aware - or you’re just off in the corner being unseen.


Of course marketing on your own behalf is helpful, but I’ve found that the most successful people don’t brag about their achievements. Instead, somehow they get other people to talk about their merits within the organization.


Is this before they became successful or after? Once we reach a certain level of success, it gets much easier to get other people to talk about us. But when we are just starting and unknown, who is gonna sing our praises (assuming we are good at something) other than our moms? :P


>But when we are just starting and unknown, who is gonna sing our praises

What I've noticed is just conversing empathetically with others a la How to Win Friends and Influence People and having technical discussion is enough for others to sing my praises, from my time as intern through middle-manager. Basically, be interested in others over yourself. For more on the nuance of "interested" I'd suggest the above book.


This easily gets to a semantic argument.

Bragging is making your achievements known. Bragging poorly is doing this in a way that's too obvious & grating to the listener. If you're accused of bragging, this means you are bragging poorly.


Well, that’s only true when talking about past achievements is the only tool to get people excited about you.

But superiors working with you, observing you in action, will come to a conclusion too.


Some people are smoother than others but they still do something to make sure they get noticed.


It's called "work" ;) People are not stupid. They will observe and than judge.


"Working" is not sufficient. If you are not careful others will observe and take credit for your work. Especially in big companies that can happen easily.


I've seen some monumentally stupid decisions happen because work was politicized, whether it's unnecessary work being done or potentially valuable projects being declined.

The difference I've personally seen in getting my projects through is my relationship with stakeholders; e.g., if one executive isn't on-board the project is toast. I've taken to communicating personally with potential naysayers early to consult with them to get their feedback but mostly to get the first impression over with before presenting it to a larger audience.


People will ignore your work if something else has their attention.


This. Had a colleague who kept telling everyone how good he was doing. He started at the same time a lot of us did but got promoted extremely quickly.


Good work + effectively and frequently talking with others is usually a recipe for success. Heck, even without the "good" modifier that's true.


Correlation doesnt imply causation though


Agreed. There's a real art in promoting yourself without resulting in everyone hating you. Not everyone manages that - or even tries to avoid the "annoying one's peers" part.

In business unlike socially it's actually part of the job - or it should be if you want to achieve certain goals: bonus, promotion, peer recognition. Even avoiding layoffs could come down to how well you communicate the good work you're doing.

This does not come naturally to many of us in this sector, but once you are aware of the need for it, there are ways to promote yourself authentically and without being too much of a show-off.


The ideal way to brag is have others do it for you.


The timing of telling might be as important as the doing. If, for example, someone asks about X and you did X three months ago, and you only tell them now, after they mention it, you might put it into their heads "holy shit, this person did X, which I thought was hard, and either forgot about it, or forgot to brag, wow..."


Is it possible to hire an agent to do this for me for a reasonable price?


Or you have to be so good that nobody can ignore you.


Unless you're really lucky, that puts you at the peril of sociopaths who will just take advantage of you without rewarding you or giving you credit. Easy path to bitterness, unfortunately. People need to be able to stand out from the crowd in multiple ways, like it or not.


That's bullshit. If you don't promote yourself you will always wonder why others who aren't as good advance in life while you stand still and are taken advantage of.


It may work in smaller companies, but in corporations this often ain't true. Marketing beats raw skills easily, since those promoting/increasing salary are usually quite far from technical aspects of daily life.


Exactly. If you don't make sure that you get credit for your own work others happily will do so and reap the benefits.


Do great work and tell others.


It's almost as if we're a bunch of barely evolved primates jockeying over money, power and status for a limited pool of breeding partners and resources. Of course I realized long ago that I'm above such petty concerns.


Very good subtle bragging, I applaud you sir.


The statement is missing two words: "other people's". Insert between 'hates' and 'bragging', and the question after the comma obviously isn't needed anymore.


I understood the title more as, "since we all know other people's bragging is insufferable and does little to convince us of the bragger's supposedly higher status, why do we continue to brag ourselves as if we believe it will have the intended effect on others?"

The answer, and the article gets at this in the last section, is a variety of anxious human emotional impulses. I guess we knew that, but the way the article teased it apart was interesting for me anyway.


I enjoyed the article very much, but I question the premise of building a framework around bragging that sets it apart from normal conversation. I preferred the ending where we had the opportunity to understand how the lines between bragging and information sharing break down, and that riding that line can be a positive experience for both parties. I especially loved the end where we realize that our reaction to bragging can offset the impact on ourselves and bring joy to others simultaneously.


Very fun read. Though by focusing (with great humor and nuance) on the "Others" and their faults, it perhaps misses an important question (imo) namely, why does other people's bragging affect me negatively? Why do I not feel genuinely happy for other people's accomplishments, or just joyfully notice their childlike attempts at feeling better about themselves through social approval? God knows none of Their motivations are foreign to me ...


This made me smile: I claimed that I was both a Haskell and Lisp programmer, a statement that you can roughly translate into non-programmer talk as “I only listen to My Bloody Valentine shoe-gaze and Radiohead B-sides played in reverse”.


@less_penguiny: Very nice article, as others have said. It seems like you really nailed a lot of subtleties.

Your article hinted at a problem we all face: sometimes we're left guessing whether or not the other person is intentionally bragging. I.e., there's a problem of ambiguity.

I'd like to suggest a follow-up article: suggestions for how to communicate certain ideas in a way that minimizes the risk of being interpreted as bragging. Or maybe better, minimizes the risk of making the audience feel bad because of the same underlying psychological issues (insecurity, envy, etc.) that get tickled by bragging.

For example, another comment in this discussion [0] points out how someone trying to praise you could be (mis?)understood as actually bragging. It would be awesome to post a catalog of ways people can avoid this kind of ambiguity.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18148282


cheers :D

So the intention of the article was partially to do exactly this, but I didn't want the tone to be too heavy-handed or self-helpy so I relegated this information to being between the lines. If you take a look at the number of penguins I gave each technique, that roughly correlates to how positively I view each bragging technique. As the website name suggests, the less penguins the better!


I love this article. Unfortunately, looking back at conversations I had with people this summer, most of the talks I had very easily fit into these categories.

If one can easily categorize bragging techniques in these buckets, it begs the question: how can a person who is genuinely interested in making a conversation interact with people who brag? A lot of people brag. If that makes you feel bad, do you just give up on them and move on? Is there some way to use these bragging forces to a positive effect?

I'm genuinely asking. I'm constantly craving good connections with people, you don't meet a lot of people who are able to talk about themselves and inspire you without looking like they are bragging and get you annoyed. (Any answer will not fit under the "Beneficence Brag" category since I'm explicitly asking for help :))


I don't have a general solution but perhaps a few ideas:

One is to lower your threshold for what you count as being bragging — sometimes people are just sharing and they don't mean any harm. And sometimes they just really need validation. But then again, despite their benign intentions, hearing their status might sting, especially if things aren't going your way lately.

Another option is to poke fun at them, assuming you are on joking terms yadayada. E.g. I caught myself bragging about the achievements of my previous business partner at a party last weekend and the room was having none of it. As soon as I finished my sentence, they erupted into "woopdey doo" or (impersonating me) "I don't mean to brag or anything!!"

So there's that.


Took me a while to figure out why the title was so blunt.


It checks out. My face hurts.


Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see what I call "deal bragging" (which is very common I believe and that particularly irks me).

Basically everyone (but me) manages to get things (or work done) for much less than their common market value is or however much less than what I can get it at.

Be it a car, a pair of trousers or a phone, or the renovation works of his/her bathroom, the "deal bragger" tells you that he/she found (through his/her network or friends, or internet, or whatever other means) a supplier that sold the item to him/her at an unrealistically discounted price or - say - a plumber that did the work for a fraction of what is normal for that kind of work.


Yes, this is definitely a thing. Very modern too.

Indeed I had a whole section on what people brag about (deals being one of them, as well as "potential" or being c-r-a-z-y). I plan on releasing this stuff soon.


This!


Absolutely love this article! This one especially popped out at me

> IV Brag Gags: Avoiding Bragging At All Costs

I've met too many people that say they "go to school near Boston" or "work in Mountain View". I don't think it's the intention, but more than the "status anxiety" part sometimes it feels like the other party seems like the listener isn't "worthy" of knowing, or at least should know from the implication if they were.


Some people will completely change the way they converse once they find out you have X status marker. A famous elite university is one of those markers that triggers a good number of them.

For example, they will instantly switch from friendly to standoffish, or they will redirect the whole conversation to be about this new information, or will start treating their interlocutor as a superior, or asking for some advice/help, or...

It’s not clear whether they have some insecurity about their own education, or just curiosity, or what, but it can be a real drag.

A different group consider themselves to be similarly elite, and will also completely change their conversation when they find another of their tribe, e.g. start talking about how much better “we” are than those rabble in a clubby way. This can also be super annoying.

I assume something similar happens when people find out you are rich, or won a prize, or have famous friends, etc., but “where did you go to school?” is a more common ice breaker than “how fat is your savings account?”

Deflection can save a lot of trouble.


Well, I'm guilty of that, but it's because I don't assume people actually know the specific company I work at, or the university I went to. Even if the latter is generally deemed "prestigious", in the end, only a small set of people know it, so it's a generally useless precision.

Admittedly, if you work for a let's say a GAFA, you can probably safely assume people know the name. But for let's say MIT, I'd very curious to know which percentage of the us population actually know the name and attach it to academic excellence.


> I don't assume people actually know the specific company I work at, or the university I went to.

When I started interning out of state I thought this as well, but then people thought I was just obfuscating going to Duke or UNC (when in reality my actual school was a few tiers lower). In most circumstances where this sort of thing would come up, I would imagine even the general public would understand the weight MIT has - hell, Tony Stark went there!

(Also, what's GAFA? Google, Apple, Facebook, Airbnb?)


Haha, I don't know either Duke or UNC ! (but I'm french, so there's that I suppose...)

Around there, GAFA is what you said except it's Amazon and not AirBnb


Another reason to brag is to quickly establish credibility/confidence in noisy markets. You want to quickly establish yourself as a peer or credible individual so that you can get down to business without wasting time feeling each other out. If you’re a VC it’s much better to get an email with team credentials. Similarly if you’re a VC that wants to get into a deal you might say who you invested in and who you coinvest with.


This article reminds me of a phenomenon I sometimes see on LinkedIn streams: people who post about their own accomplishments, and use the headline "Humbled to/by ..."

As a contrived example: "Humbled to be named to SomeRandomMagazine's Top 30 under 30 list".

My first thought when seeing such as headline is, like heck that person is humbled. I can't think of any honest reason to post a story about one's own humiliation on a website focused on self-promotion such as LinkedIn.

And, perhaps I'm over-reaching here, but... Based on my assumption that such posts are disingenuous, I hold this against whoever posts it. Not only because it's (AFAICT) dishonest, but because it diminishes the avenues available for persons who which to show genuine contrition as a first step towards righting a wrong.


Humble and humiliation are completely different. I think the word you are after is humility.

Just trying to help - not attempting to brag that I'm better than you in any way :-)


You're right of course. It was a mistake for me to use the word "humiliation" in that way, especially where it would cause such confusion.

Here's my main point, reworded:

Being "humbled" is basically the opposite of being "exalted" [0]. But posting on LinkedIn a story about being recognized as awesome by some third party is absolutely a form of exaltation.

And IMO it's a particularly revolting form of exaltation: it's self exaltation using the verbiage of self-effacement.

[0] https://www.dictionary.com/browse/humble


On further exploration of this topic, I'm also noticing that maybe I could put a certain spin on this blog post by the following logic. The age we're living in we're seeing a lot of boundaries become far less rigid. Class and social distinction being a few of those boundaries.

I'm not sure if this was the intention of the author, but I'd prefer to look at this maybe as a "guide book" for etiquette in this regard. Regardless of a speaker's intention it's also perception that is at play here. If braggarts are more aware of the audiences they are with, and audiences are less sensitive to these things that separate us in our life experiences, on both ends of the spectrum this has the potential to "move the needle" to a more comfortable place for everyone.


I can't believe this guy wrote this whole essay just so he can brag about having an athletic girlfriend.


Caught me red-handed :D



I am proud to say I have never bragged in my life.

:)


"Think you're really righteous?

Think you're pure in heart?

Well, I know I'm a million times as humble as thou art"


"in fact, I'm much more humble than you could understand"


"In fact, I am the least bragging person in the world. No one brags less than me."


I considered downvoting you for needless bragging, but I did not - I think I am a better person that way.


> I am proud to say I have never bragged in my life.

How is that figure of speech called in English?


You might call it "tongue in cheek" in the UK, a statement made with no pretense that it's true, with a gently humorous intent.


If anyone is wondering, "tongue-in-cheek" is also a term used in the US.


I would call it sarcasm, except it's too funny for me to simply label it sarcasm.... Not that sarcasm can't be funny, it just sometimes has such bad connotations.


I see what you did there. And I approve.


Do people really brag about their salary? I've always found that announcing my income will provoke jealousy and the expectation that I'll "invite" people to more things.

Perhaps it's also tinged with a little bit of inner guilt that I should be doing more for people that are less fortunate.

But I've always had a policy of "that's between me and my accountant (though my accountant recently has been those cheap online tax filing websites)." For example if a recruiter tries to ask me how much money I make. I have shared with my mother and my uncle also.

What are some HN commenters' attitudes or policies towards this and how is it working for you?


Depends on where you live. I've been both in the US and in Europe, and I heard it much more often in the states. In fact, it led to some ugly evenings, e.g. if someone finds out someone else is getting paid way more for basically the same job.

I also noticed that freelance stuff gets bragged about more often — how big their last contract was closed for, or what daily rate they got from a client.


I think sure there is bragging in the world, but in my experience I have come to learn that most of it is in the head of the person judging you, or you judging the other person's intention. I'd say probably 90% of what people think is bragging is more likely simply misunderstanding or a difference in one's perception and / or misreading context of either party. Or even each party's difference in upbringing / understanding of or attention toward certain styles of etiquette.

The other 10% is probably legitimately what I would call bragging, none of which really tends to get under my skin.


Enjoyed the article and was surprised by how exhaustive the brag type list is. It really activated my restrospection. The pictures I could have done without, though.


Thanks for the compliment!

The idea behind the pictures isn't so much about them being useful (they mostly aren't — I'm well aware of that). Instead it's about breaking up the wall of text and adding visual variety so as to prevent reader fatigue.

It's a tip I picked up from reading the Star Slate Codex piece on writing: http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/20/writing-advice/

Also: HN readers != average internet readers


Some counter-anecdata, I was rather amused by the images.

Congrats with your fascinating article, really enjoyed it!


Fwiw, I very much enjoyed the pictures. I enjoyed the levity.


Haha, how many penguins for the title? What category would this classify? As I'm sure it's the author playing a joke


~4 penguins :)


In my view there is a certain amount of bragging that is warranted. And that amount depends on the person: his/her "utility" to the people that take the bragging, his/her "objective greatness", his/her willingness to take your own bragging with awe, etc.

Terms quoted as they shouldn't be taken in literal meaning.


I read the entire article to my girlfriend earlier. Yes, she can read, she just prefers to listen to the sound of my own voice #blessed. Just wanted to say a big thank you! It prompted a lengthy discussion that went on till late. Would love to read some more of the potential articles you’re thinking about writing.


Oh wow that's great! Did you two come up with any ideas or personal epiphanies about bragging and status?


excellent read. My brother in law has been extremely successful with real estate from his single apartment beginnings, nowadays when we meet and I ask him "how are you" he replies "I'm blessed".

dude I know you have a lot of money, I just wanted to know if you were sick or something. smh


this is a fantastic read. i thought i was a connoisseur of bragging but this is next level. also a little painful- it may expose your own bragging to you. to the author: truly enjoyed this, thank you and keep writing!


In my culture people are, if anything, too humble about their achievements.


But there are other people who point about others achievement, everyone still feels same.


I noticed author did fantastic job on bragging about his writing skills!


Why does everyone ask questions they know the answer to?


Hey, some of us truly clueless people have no idea. Like I'd been searching for years for an article to explain to me why people get emotional, as there seemed to be no utility for it to me. Finally someone posted a couple to HN that finally explained to me, and I appreciated it.

Take it from a socially clueless person, some of us don't know the answers to these questions. :)


> I'd been searching for years for an article to explain to me why people get emotional, as there seemed to be no utility for it to me. Finally someone posted a couple to HN that finally explained to me, and I appreciated it.

That sounds interesting, would you have the links handy? :)


Articles listed in order of what I felt was most educational, useful, and enlightening, with most educational at the top:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17493303

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15356760

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12885356

edit: Interesting, the most useful article for me is also the newest. I guess I'd been dissatisfied with articles I found for a long time. :)


Calm down.


[flagged]


Please keep the discussion on topic. You start with an example from the article but then just ramble about massively over-simplified issues and socialist strawmans, adding in some up-to-date buzz like amazon workers. This is not constructive.


I didn't read any article.

1. Tell me what's oversimplified

2. Socialist strawman - i don't care about what a socilist is.

3. Amazon workers is something people can relate with, it makea sense to use it.

Go somewhere else for your moderation skills.


What is "free?" I eat food regularly and have never had to raise animals or crops, nor harvest or butcher them. I live in a home I didn't build.

I don't see how that is a tragedy. It seems like things are going pretty easy for a good number of us.


[dead]


Stop it.




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