do so with a sense of gratitude (“I’m so fortunate!”) rather
than a sense of entitlement (“I deserved this!”).
Garcia says he realizes now that he bragged to
overcome feelings of inadequacy — to fend off stereotyped
expectations he believed others might hold about him due to
his Latino heritage.
But there can be good reasons to talk about things you’ve
accomplished, so long as you avoid boasting.
For example, says Karr, if a fellow student is considering
applying for an award you’ve received in the past, you can
give advice for how to win it.
Job applications, interviews and networking at
conferences are other places where it’s OK to talk about
your accomplishments, says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD,
APAGS associate executive director.
• Seek advice from friends and mentors. Ask trusted
friends or advisors how you come across day to day, and
review your application letters to see if you are bragging
too much — maybe to the point of overinflating what you
actually did, failing to credit teammates or in other ways
using over-the-top language.
If you are a braggart, be ready for some potentially harsh
feedback, cautions Ameen. “When friends tell you that your
brag was annoying, they think you have the ego strength to
handle some teasing.”
• Approach social media with caution. Karr has seen
students post transcripts showing their straight As on
Facebook. (Don’t do this.)
Another no-no: the “humblebrag” — the boast
sandwiched between self-deprecating comments (“Whoa!
I can’t believe I got accepted to the top research team on
campus after messing up my interview!”). This is perceived
as false modesty, and is a turnoff, Karr says.
Before posting something on social media, figure out what
your goal really is. Karr says he’s found that if he only wants his
30 closest friends and family to know about an achievement,
he will tell them personally, rather than broadcast the news on
Others say it’s OK to post successes on social media, as
long as you’re judicious about it — just a few highlights now
and then, rather than an endless parade, and accompanied
by thanks for those who helped you.
• Reflect on your actions. Clark Harvey says she
frequently checks herself to see if she might be coming across
in nonhumble ways, such as by dominating conversations.
• Forgive yourself for slips. Humility requires constant
practice, says Karr.
“To this day and for the rest of my life, I will say things
that are arrogant and I will behave arrogantly — I will slip
up. But it’s not the end of the world.”
Instead, he says, “the value is in accepting those mistakes
and continuing to do your best to maintain confidence —
and to keep being humble.” n
Substance Use Problems
(Advances in Psychotherapy –
Vol. 15 )
2nd ed. 2016, viii + 104 pp.
Norbert Schalast / Matthew Tonkin
The Essen Climate
A Manual and More
2016, viii + 128 pp.
Yael Benyamini / Marie Johnston /
Evangelos C. Karademas (Editors)
Assessment in Health
(Psychological Assessment –
Science and Practice, vol. 2)
2016, vi + 346 pp.
Karl Schweizer /
Christine DiStefano (Editors)
Principles and Methods
of Test Construction
Standards and Recent Advances
(Psychological Assessment –
Science and Practice, vol. 3)
2016, vi + 336 pp.
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