We all know a humblebragger.

It's that friend on social media who posts things like this: “Third night in a row eating greasy takeout at the office. Guess that’s what happens when clients keep sending you work.”

These people have mastered the art of using a complaint or self-deprecating statement to mask the fact that they're actually boasting. It's universally irritating. But there's nothing wrong with promoting yourself; it's how you do it that makes the difference.

Researchers from Harvard and the University of North Carolina found that a humblebrag turned people off more than a straight-up boast. So follow these tips for broadcasting your successes — and getting the kudos you deserve — without annoying everyone in your social network.


Maybe humblebragging isn’t a problem for you because you simply don’t brag, period. And that’s not surprising — women are typically less likely to for fear of being labeled as self-absorbed or aggressive. When men do it, however, they are viewed as confident and competent.

Here’s a trick that can help you get over that negative baggage: Imagine you’re talking about a friend instead. A Montana State University study found that when asked to write a recommendation letter for a friend and for themselves, women were much better at promoting their colleagues, while downplaying their own successes.

So the next time you have a victory to share, use that same objectivity and take pride in what you’ve accomplished.


If a recent win at work resulted in new best practices or lessons learned, consider submitting a case study on an industry blog or write an article about it on your own LinkedIn page. Not only are you showing your colleagues (and future employers) how capable you are, you’re also sharing valuable wisdom and building your personal brand. The more you get your name out there, the more colleagues and clients will be aware of your expertise and influence.


One of the reasons bragging can be off-putting is because it may seem like you’re trying to hog the limelight. Getting a big client or product launch off the ground is rarely a one-woman job, so take the opportunity to brag about how your team pulled together for the win. You might say something like, “I am delighted to welcome Client X to the company family. Our dedicated account team worked countless hours to develop the proposal that won the job,” or “The new software I’ve been working on for months offers never-before-seen features that couldn’t have happened without our tireless developers.”

It’s not just magnanimous to praise your team; it’s also smart. By thanking them, you’re rightfully acknowledging their role — and demonstrating that you can lead, manage or work as a part of a team that gets the job done.

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