Nobody likes a braggart. They dominate conversations and only talk about themselves. They self-promote shamelessly in order to get ahead in their careers.
But according to a recent column in The Wall Street Journal, we might all be braggarts in this competitive society obsessed with social networking.
Don’t believe it? Take a close look at your social-networking sites. Do you like to post photos of yourself in restaurants and nightclubs to show others what an exciting life you have? Or if you are in a relationship, do you like to write about how happily in love you are? Or perhaps you are of the subtle type who constantly complain about their jobs but really just want to impress others with the important position they have.
The Internet provides a global audience for boasting and social media sites encourage it, says Elizabeth Bernstein, a columnist with the Wall Street Journal. We are all expected to be perfect all the time. The result is that more and more people are carefully managing their online images.
But the issue is not limited to the Internet. In a fiercely competitive job market we must sell ourselves on multiple platforms and demonstrate that we excel above all others.
In fact, we have become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realize we are doing it, says Bernstein. This is harmful to our relationships and puts people off.
So why do we keep at it?
Bernstein talked to a few experts who said that people brag for all sorts of reasons: to appear worthy of attention or love, or to cover up our deepest insecurities; to prove to ourselves we are doing fine and that people who said we would fail are wrong; or simply because we’re excited when good things happen to us.
Talking about ourselves just feels great. According to the results of a series of experiments conducted by Harvard University neuroscientists, the reward areas of our brain–the same areas that respond to “primary rewards” such as food and sex–are activated when we talk about ourselves.