Deciphering Humble Brags

You’ve seen them, they’re everywhere.

You can’t log onto your newsfeed in Facebook without seeing them. People are posting them, sharing them, commenting on them. You can’t get in a harmless tweet about your rash weekend plans without seeing them.

They’re taking over the world. Or at least the Internet.

The humble brags.

When exactly did people think this was a good idea?

The humble brag for those of you who have never used the Internet before is a blog post (or in some cases a status), whereby you brag about some aspect of your life, from the point of view of it being some kind of problem. Your real aim, however, is not really to talk about your problem but to tell your readers about some aspect of your life that you are dying to brag about but are too afraid you’ll look like a douchebag if you brag outright.

“I ate so much chocolate in First Class that I might not fit into my size 1 Calvin Klein cocktail dress this evening when I attend a State Dinner at the White House.”

Translation: I’m rich, I’m thin, I hob knob with important people.

“My 4 year old daughter can do Algebra and we struggle enormously with trying to keep her engaged and challenged. ”

Translation: I have a gifted child and she got that way through my wonderful, sensitive parenting.”

Now before you get all defensive and tell me I am a douchebag for getting on here and complaining about douchebaggery. Or telling me that I hate children or that I am just an angry b*tch, I have no problem with people being proud of their lives or their children or their pets (although I draw the line at dressing pets up in costumes) or whatever else floats your boat.  What I do have a problem with is people thinking that they can write this kind of stuff and that the rest of us are too dumb to see what they are really telling us.

I hate to say this because I am one, but the mommy bloggers are often the ones that engage in the most humble bragging.  Because thanks to our socialization as women, our history of being oppressed, the mental, emotional and physical assault that women have endured throughout the ages, coupled with the fact that by nature and nurture somehow we have all learned that being insecure is the right way to fish out a compliment, we women have learned that humble bragging seems to be the way to go.  Add on top of that the phenomenon of social media, which allows each of us to now have voices behind our keyboards with little-to-no-accountability for what we say.   And finally,  in the Internet age, motherhood, like many other things, has become a blood sport, one in where we are all garnering to feel good, but are afraid that if we actually admit to feeling good, we will come off as pompous a**holes so we we pretend that what we are proud of are actually problems so that we will come off looking sympathetic.

Be proud of your accomplishments and your good fortune but instead of just trying to look humble, why not try to actually be humble? Or at least compassionate?

Many people in the world are fighting illness, going through excruciating emotional circumstances, have extremely challenging and difficult daily lives, are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table.

Try to remember that  people from all walks of life dealing with loads of different types of issues are reading your posts and when you humble brag, you may be coming off in a way you don’t intend.

About the Author
Dana has made it her habit to break cultural barriers and butcher languages wherever she goes. Born in Pittsburgh, Dana lived and worked in Tel Aviv for five years, before moving to the Netherlands where she lives with her husband and daughter in Amsterdam.