Showing off Your Toys

“You got to come over and see my new (car, BMX bike, kayak, boat, stock options, horse ranch, lawnmower, home theater, etc),” says The Braggarts. You can substitute any gizmo, gadget, tchotchke or THING and the sentence is the same. Look what I own, can afford, deserve —is showing off— mindset that I truly mind and am sooooo sick of hearing.

braggarts bragging business networking working a room

I’m not the only one who feels that way. One sales director of my acquaintance told me that she took her elderly mother to Hawaii for a vacation. “When I returned, one of my colleagues asked which island. When I said we went to Oahu, he started ragging on it; saying he’d never go there because it was too commercial and they ONLY go to Maui or Kauai. He was so insulting. That’s the last time I tell him anything!”

 Wheeler Dealers

The flip side is the braggart who tells you about how many sales they’ve made, how much money they’ve accrued, invested or even outsmarted someone to get. “I bought google at $55 a share”. Really?!?  Keep it to yourself. The brag is often about the ‘deal’ they negotiated though that is too classy a word for it. Haggled is a more accurate term for a game that creates winners and losers. Maybe even “conned”. All the Braggart does is annoy those of us in their network.


How Big Is Yours?

Whether it’s diamonds or bank accounts, you find the Brag Hags (male and female), everywhere: in our offices, in our churches and synagogues, in our professional associations and, of course, in our families and on FaceBook and other social media outlets. When we showoff in the workplace we annoy —and often alienate —colleagues and co-workers. One doesn’t have to have a PHD in Office Wisdom or Connected Communication to know that’s a foolish error. As for Facebook, well that’s another story.


business networking working a room braggarts

Sadly, in my own speaking profession  I see an abundance of posts that aren’t even “humblebrags” as there is nothing humble about their sharings. Colleagues  post about how the size of their audiences, how much travel they’re doing to speak and include photos in first class…excessively.

 “Y Are You Saying This”? Chromosome

The Braggarts , Blowhards and BSers always talk about their latest exploit as if we care. I used to think this was a trait passed through the Y chromosome but not anymore. While it used to be mostly males of the alpha variety that had to let us know how great they were by what they earned, charged, invested or cashed out, androgyny or, perhaps, an odd facet of gender equality, has impacted the braggart gene. When I think about my FaceBook posts, I realize I, too, on occasion, may have succumbed to crossing that thin line between sharing and bragging. Apologies.

Lately, I hear women talk about how well they are doing, how much money they are making, their wheelings and dealings and now they talk about how smart in all of this they are.

money dollars braggarts bragging

PUH LEASE. Truly wealthy people of the old money variety do not talk about it. They don’t have to … they have it. And it is not evident in their Rolex watches, Rolls Royces and other nouveau riche accoutrement of $$$. As one descendant of Philadelphia’s Blue Line explained to me, “People of Old Money have original art. They endow. The silver in their cabinets may have come from England on those original vessels.”

Not So Smart

It’s much the same of truly smart people who are brilliantly intelligent. They don’t reel off their IQ numbers and tell us of their genius. Their words and actions speak of their brilliance and not always in five to seven syllable words. In my part of the world, the much maligned (too often deservedly so) Marin County, I hear people tell me how ‘spiritual’ they are. It’s an inaccurate brag. Believe me, if that were true I could tell on my own by the way they treat others, their empathy and good deeds. And they wouldn’t park an SUV in a compact space and bang open their car doors into the truly compact cars parked next to their behemoths.

Methinks the lads and lassies doth protest and tell too much. Wondering why do people feel compelled to say way more than we want to hear about their success, money and toys? I posed this question to a minister friend who has done pastoral counseling for over 30 years. His answer was illuminating,

“ I don’t think these braggarts say these things to impress us; they do it to impress and convince themselves of their worth because they are not sure of it.”



Susan RoAne, AKA The Mingling Maven® is an international keynote speaker, best-selling author of 8 books including How To Work a Room®   . Susan is the undisputed networking expert.





About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915