Most people will agree to the notion that once in a while everybody wants to feel important. It’s normal, just as long as it is not overdone. In this article, Paida Mpaso writes.
“Me this, me that” are some of the terms used by people who brag. Most of the times, such people will talk about their lifestyle, what they have achieved or what they are planning to do. Whether this is their way of life or just a way of trying to communicate, some people feel bragging is embarrassing to people close to those who brag.
Psychotherapist, Dominic Nsona, who works with Lighthouse Trust -KCH in Lilongwe, defines bragging as the boastful talk about oneself and somewhat your achievements.
“People brag both verbally and non-verbally. In Psychotherapy, it is what we call a defense mechanism. Trying to fit in or cover up for your shortfalls,” says Nsona.
Nsona says bragging is, however, not a disease; rather it is about personality – how one was brought up and the many things they have gone through in life.
“Most people brag because they want to be accepted, or they want to fit in, especially in the company of those they feel are better than those that brag. In this case, it becomes a sign of insecurity,” he says.
Nsona further says braggers usually have a-better-than-you-attitude”, which could make others dissociate themselves with braggers. He says few people would want to associate themselves with someone who always portrays themselves to be on top of the world.
“With the better-than-you–attitude, our society would not want to be associated with you. Some people feel intimidated. It becomes embarrassing when people discover that what you said is not what they finally find out to be true.
“The non-verbal bragging would be seen, for example, during weddings where most people would want to show that they can give better than others. In this kind of bragging, the positive part is that it tends to increase the revenue of the couple or increase presents as there is a ‘healthy competition’ amongst the braggers,” he says.
Nsona says it is tricky to rebuke a bragging friend.
“It’s tricky, especially in Malawi where we do not usually tell someone the truth not only about bragging, but so many related behaviours. The good thing is that behaviours and attitudes learnt can also be unlearned. It might not be easy but it is possible. Since bragging is a personality issue, there arethose of assertive personality who are able to confront such. However this needs skills to avoid counter confrontations since the bragger may feel downgraded.
“The other thing is you have to tell the bragger to gain self-confidence. They need to be encouraged that everyone will like them more even if they don’t brag. They don’t need to brag to get attention and feel wanted,” he says.