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seeler's picture

seeler

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Sharing or bragging - is there a difference

Suppose a situation in which you are filled with joy and excitement.  Something good has happened in your life.   Your child just had a big promotion.  Your grandchild scored a winning goal.  You just returned from the trip of a lifetime.   You want to share your joy with somebody, anybody, everybody.    So whenever anyone shows an interest, asks "How's the family?"  "Was that your grandson's picture I saw in the paper?"   "How was your trip?"   you are ready - perhaps with pictures.

 

When does sharing your joy become bragging?

 

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Tao's picture

Tao

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Great Discussion Seeler...

 

I was thinking of this very thing just the other day. Especially after someone shared several weeks ago some wonderful news they had. So the first time they shared it. It was SHARED but then they kept going on and on over and over time after time each time they saw us telling us the same thing and to those of us who were already told. It took on a tone of BRAGGING and GLOATING.

 

This person didn't miss a single opportunity to remind us that they had been chosen to take part in something their friends had applied to take part in and yet had not been selected. His friends are very happy for him that he had been chosen. However, when the person comes in and in no uncertain terms makes it a point of pointing out that they were selected and the others have not been. Then that changes it from something of joy to be shared and celebrated to something to be loathed and despised.

 

They (his friends) don't want to take away from his joy in any way. They are happy for him and glad he got selected. Yet, they also don't need to hear about it insistently and in a Gloating/Bragging manner. It cheapens the achievement and turns what was once genuine joy and happiness into. an atmosphere of cringing every time  this person is in the same room as they never stop reminding people of what they achieved and the others have not.

 

So, I say yes SHARE take joy in the happiness you have to share with others or what others have to share with you. Be proud if you have achieved something. Yet remember there is a line between sharing/gloating/bragging. If someone brings it up again on their own and wishes to rehear the story or news or joy. Then by all means re-share it.  Yet remember if you love someone, if you are friends with someone, don't bludgeon them repeatedly with it. (unless they are into that sort of thing). Even then show consideration for THEM.

 

Tao

 

(I'm sure this isn't written exactly as I have it formed in my head right at this moment so please keep that in mind when reading - I'm rushed out the door)

YouthWorker's picture

YouthWorker

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I agree with what Tao said...

 

Part of it is also the perspective of the listener and where their thoughts are at.  I used to have a friend that perceived the mere mention of anything good happening to me as incessant gloating.  It got to the point where if I was given an opportunity or a kind word was said about me, I had to keep it to myself and not mention it to this former friend.  I got invited to a weekend conference last fall and I was basically forbidden to mention it with him... He was a quite extreme, though, so I suspect there were other issues going on...

 

On the other hand, I love hearing about the joys and successes of other people.  So, to me, talking about something over and over, to the point where other people would perceive it as bragging, really doesn't bother me.  There is a point where it becomes too much, of course, but I think my tolerance level is at a further point than most people...

chemgal's picture

chemgal

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I think the moment someone is proud about something it becomes bragging.  So in the above examples, sharing vacation photos isn't necessarily bragging, but mentioning an achievement of a grandchild probably is.  I don't think bragging is always a negative thing.  I would using gloating as taking it too far.

So go ahead and brag away about your grandchild, child, whoever you are proud of! Just be aware of the person you are bragging to and limit the amount.

Alex's picture

Alex

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Sometimes someone can be proud because they put a lot of work into something. Look I have this job and I got a promotion. He or she is not proud because they are important, but because they have achieved something important to them, that others did not believe possible.

 

Sometimes a person is saying look I am such and such, I have this job and it means I am better than others. 

 

One is bragging the other is sharing joy.

 

 

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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As a parent and grandparent, I have always thought - If you don't speak up about accomplishments, joys, things that happen, who will stand up for family, and friends?

chansen's picture

chansen

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My parents brag about my kids (their grandkids) every time one of them so much as produces mucus.  But I think grandparents get a pass on this sort of bragging.  I don't know why - I just think there is an acceptable double-standard in play.

 

There is a fine line between sharing news, and bragging.  Personally, I walk in the opposite direction and openly criticize my own abilities and accomplishments and those of my kids, who are average at best.

 

My wife is farking brilliant, but I use that mostly as a warning to other men not to marry intelligent women, unless they want to never win another argument again in their entire lives.

 

I have, at times, been accused of having low self-esteem.  I think everyone has a certain level of self-doubt, but I don't think mine is a case of clinical depression or anything.  I tend to share information about my family in a self-deprecating way that I hope is seen as humorous and not boring or conceited.

 

Overall, I have it pretty good, and I recognize there are people struggling out there, in many different ways.  Nobody wants to hear about accomplishments and good fortune befalling someone who already has it good.  Conversely, if you've been struggling, then you probably have more leeway to share positive news and not come across like an ass.

seeler's picture

seeler

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I wondered if its sharing if I do it, and bragging if someone else does it.  smiley

 

Come on Chansen - don't tell me you weren't proud when you posted that video of your little girl skiing.  I certainly enjoyed your sharing of that moment.  She is a sweetheart and very accomplished, I'm sure - even if you did end it with the wish that she had accomplished a turn or two.    I have an idea that you have two wonderful kids - I love to hear you sharing little things about them.  Mind you I have two wonderful grandkids. 

 

 

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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seeler wrote:

I wondered if its sharing if I do it, and bragging if someone else does it.  smiley

 

 

There's a lot of wisdom in that statement, methinks!

 

Also, I don't see bragging about another - as opposed to yourself - is necessarily a bad thing.

 

I've got a thread going on my recent Canadian/Alaska trip. My motivation is to share, not to brag. I'm aware that I'm fortunate to be in a position to make the trip - and besides, what's there to brag about? Literally millions have made the trip before me.

 

 

But, when it comes to my family and friends, I do my fair share of bragging.

 

I'm enormously proud of my eldest grandson for winning a scholarship to university to study engineering. Not content to post it here (now twice!) but I've also posted a photo of him taken with me on Facebook.

 

Did I mention he's also very handsome, as well as clever???

chansen's picture

chansen

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seeler wrote:

I wondered if its sharing if I do it, and bragging if someone else does it.  smiley

 

Come on Chansen - don't tell me you weren't proud when you posted that video of your little girl skiing.  I certainly enjoyed your sharing of that moment.  She is a sweetheart and very accomplished, I'm sure - even if you did end it with the wish that she had accomplished a turn or two.    I have an idea that you have two wonderful kids - I love to hear you sharing little things about them.  Mind you I have two wonderful grandkids. 

 

No doubt, but I try not to be overt about it, and being self-deprecating makes it less nauseating for some others, I think.

carolla's picture

carolla

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I agree with much of what others have posted.  I try (don't succeed always!) to be conscious of context, of considering what I might know about the other person's situation & I hope that this tempers what I may choose to speak of - as this influences how my comments might be perceived.

 

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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Bragging, to me, has a negative connotation. To me, it's about getting attention - and often about bringing someone else down while lifting yourself and whoever you are bragging about up.

 

Sharing is always, at minimum, a neutral event (nobody feels badly at the end of the story). At its' best, it lifts up everyone involved - listener, storyteller and all other participants - in some way.

lastpointe's picture

lastpointe

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I think it depends how often you do it and how long you talk about it.

 

Also who you are doing it too and sometimes there is a reason.

 

I have a sister in law who constantly 'updates" me on her daughters.  She goes on and on and there is alot of "she is such a great kid" editorializing.

 

But I also know that she has felt competitive with my hubby all her life and has felt second best in her parents eyes.  I figure she just needs to do it.

 

i listen.  My kids are more academic and I know there is still that level of competition that she feels. 

 

 

I also think that as parents we love to talk about our kids but in reality other people really arent' that interested.  So i try to not go on about them.

Beloved's picture

Beloved

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To me, it is sharing when both parties are engaged in the conversation . . . the one sharing is sharing information about themselves/family/friends that is of interest to the party listening - information that highlights good things, accomplishments, and events.  The sharer gives the information, shares their joy in the accomplishment.  The listener might ask questions, and show joy in it also.  There is a going back and forth in the conversation.  After the sharer has shared, the sharer asks the listener about things happening in their life.

 

To me, it becomes bragging when the one bragging just wants to expound on their good fortune, accomplishments, joys, etc. and goes on and on and on . . . without thoughts of the listener.  The bragger focuses only on themselves and has no desire to listen to what the listener might have to say.  And shows no interest in what is happening in the life of the listener.

 

Awhile back I was visiting with a friend, who asked about one of my children.  I started to tell this friend about a recent accomplishment of my child  - one my child and myself were very proud of.  I was barely into the story, had something I wanted to share, when the friend immediately expounded onto how their child had accomplished the same feat and went on to expound in great detail further scenario about the same topic in their child's life.  I never got to finish my story . . . I have to admit, I was hurt.

 

To me, is it sharing when it is relevant, enjoyable, meaningful to both parties, and there is interaction.  It is bragging when it is one sided, without the one bragging caring about the one to whom they are bragging to.

 

Beloved's picture

Beloved

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To me, it is important to be able to share wondrous occasions in my life and the lives of my family/friends with others . . . there is joy in sharing good news and endeavours.  It is also important to me to have others share these with me . . . it is important for me to rejoice with others in the good things that is happening in their life.  It brings me joy to rejoice with others in these times.

 

BetteTheRed's picture

BetteTheRed

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I admit to being a bit sensitive to bragging about kids. My children, for  a number of reasons, have not been terribly successful (by any number of measures) thus far. Since, like many mothers, I place a lot of the blame on myself, I find these conversations a bit painful.

carolla's picture

carolla

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Exactly Bette - that's what I meant when i referred to knowing the context around the others who may be listening.    I do  hope that self-blame burden will lighten a bit as time goes on ... sounds like a heavy burden to carry. 

carolla's picture

carolla

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lastpointe wrote:

I also think that as parents we love to talk about our kids but in reality other people really arent' that interested. 

Too true lastpointe - a good reminder!!  You made me LOL.

kaythecurler's picture

kaythecurler

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I was taught as a kid that it was socially unacceptable to 'sing your own praises' or 'blow your own trumpet'.   We should instead acknowledge the achievements of other people and/or family members.  To me this sounds like a pretty good recipe even for today.  Mostly I don't enjoy hearing other people bragging about their achievements,  especially when it goes on too long about nothing much.

 

To me there is a huge difference between -

 "I really enjoyed watching my kid/grandkid playing in a provincial sports event on Saturday.  The whole team are very supportive of each other and have learned a lot during the season '

and -

 "My kid/grandkid played in provincial sports this weekend and of course, is the star of the team.  They wouldn't even have got to the provincial level without my kid/grandkid making all the good plays.  S/he is the most talented youngster you could hope to meet and the other children looked like slow moving idiots besides him/her".

 

 

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Its like showing pictures - 2 is enough -a boxful is too many

 

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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crazyheart wrote:

Its like showing pictures - 2 is enough -a boxful is too many

 

Ha Ha!

Suck it up, Princess!

I'm about to add some animal pics to my holiday thread.devil

Motheroffive's picture

Motheroffive

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chansen wrote:

Overall, I have it pretty good, and I recognize there are people struggling out there, in many different ways.  Nobody wants to hear about accomplishments and good fortune befalling someone who already has it good.  Conversely, if you've been struggling, then you probably have more leeway to share positive news and not come across like an ass.

 

I added emphasis here because I think this is an important point. On a personal level, I've gone through some really tough times over a period of years (one thing after another). Life has settled down for awhile and I've made a commitment to go to the gym in response to a health issue. I've never been a fitness oriented person except for one other brief period in my life.

 

So, I want to share this with people for a few reasons. One, for a long time when catching up with friends/acquaintances, it was hard to avoid the difficult stuff going on in my life so it's nice to have news that's good. Second, I'm feeling so much better, in respect to the specific health issue but also with my overall health. I quit smoking almost 11 months ago as well. And last, I have never done anything like this before in my life and, frankly, I'm astonished that I can do it. (I did go through military basic training but I was 19 and the physical part of that was forced, which I stopped as soon as I had the chance.)

 

So, I do tell some people but worry about the bragging thing. I don't know, maybe I just shouldn't say anything.

 

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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Good for you, MOF!

 

For an ex-military gal, it sounds like you've won your stripes.

Life - particularly as we age - has a lot of difficult and painful times. We have a choice, we can be overwhelmed by the "bad" times, or else choose to relish the good times when they occur.

 

And to help us on our way, there is always that saying, "This too, shall pass" when we're experiencing the painful times.

Alex's picture

Alex

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A good example is a personal one. I am very proud of the volunteer work I have done. my  political involvement and I am very proud of being able to make B+ and A- in my University philosophy courses. 

 

However I imagine some would assume I am bragging.  I am aware that i have done not nearly as much or important volunteer work as someone like graeme, Pinga and others. , nor political work as Motherof5. Also many people have BAs. However for someone who struggle in youth with an undiagnosed developmental disability and who only aspired to unskilled labour as a youth, and as someone who  also became seriously ill in my twenties, I likely talk more about it than others because I am proud of my self for what I have achieved. I am proud that I never gave up or settled for disability.  I also think I am a good example for others who struggle.

 

Is that bragging?

Motheroffive's picture

Motheroffive

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Hi Alex,

 

Different circumstances but we have the same question. You raise a similar issue, too, when you talk about developmental or other types of disabilities. You have every reason to want to tell people about what you've accomplished in celebration of your achievements, and what you've overcome. The place from which we start is hugely significant, in my opinion.

 

I wonder if telling others about our accomplishments or those of our family members becomes bragging when it is about establishing position with regard to the other person. And, if it's about the motive behind the telling, how is the person on the receiving end to know? It's not likely that someone will articulate "I'm telling you this because I'm better than you"...

 

Some late night wonderings...too hot to sleep, Alex? It's only 10 C here right now. We'll be in the single digits tonight, I think.

Tao's picture

Tao

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Mother of 5 and Alex....

 

In your cases NO you are not Bragging you are sharing. And we are honoured to have you share these wondrous achievements with us.

 

Tao/Wolfie 

Azdgari's picture

Azdgari

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To me, the difference lies in the intended effect on one's audience.  How much of the (sharing/bragging) is for your own benefit, and how much is for theirs?  How do you hope they'll feel?

 

As an aside, I consider the difference between "bragging" and "gloating" to be that bragging comes from pride in something good about yourself, whereas gloating comes from pride in how much better something about yourself is than about your audience.

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Pilgrims Progress wrote:

crazyheart wrote:

Its like showing pictures - 2 is enough -a boxful is too many

 

Ha Ha!

Suck it up, Princess!

I'm about to add some animal pics to my holiday thread.devil

 

You are an example, PP. Your thread on your trip could have been 587 pictures but you know my tolerance. You post 3 or 4 pictures and then we all talk. Then you post a couple more and we all talk. You have learned the game. Bring on the animals. hahahahayes

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Congrats MO5. It is a great accomplishment to talk about.

Beloved's picture

Beloved

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Motheroffive - congratulations on the smoking thing . . . as an ex-smoker I know how difficult that can be - way to go in taking this step for better health!

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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I have a friend, who, while in college won a big award. I remember the conversation in which she told me - it went something like this.

 

Me: So, how was your week?

Her: Well, not too bad. I finished up my classes, handed in some papers and went to choir practice - nothing too major. Oh - and I won an award.

Me: What kind of an award?

Her: It was nothing really - just for my co-op job.

Me: Cool - tell me about the award.

Her: Well, it's kind of embarrassing really, but I won co-op student of the year.

Me: For the whole college? Wow!

Her: Actually, for the whole province. And I was the runner-up nationally.

Me: That's amazing! We should celebrate! But why are you embarrassed?

Her: Well, I liked the job and wanted to do well - but I didn't feel like I deserved any special attention for what I did. The awards ceremony is coming up - you could come if you wanted I guess.

Me: Tell me the date and I'll be there.

 

She was so afraid of bragging or showing off that us friends had to do it for her - telling everyone that she knew about this amazing accomplishment. We told people, because we were so proud of her and wanted to spread the joy.

seeler's picture

seeler

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Can bragging be done in reverse?   For instance, B is an excellent bowler, with an average about 100 (very good in candlepin).   Many of us struggle to remain in the low 80s.  Every now and then we will hear her complaining about what a bad day she is having.  She will mention it not once, or twice, but several times.  We glance at her score:   95, 89, 103.   Wow!   We would be walking on air.   We point out the third game.  "No," she tells us, "That should have been more.  I had three spares and didn't do well on any of them." 

 

I thought I was just feeling a bit jealous and resentful, until a mutual friend told me that she felt the same way. 

 

We have people in our league (seniors) who walk with a cane or who are legally blind.   They should for joy and tell us all when they get a strike or even a spare and we all rejoice with them if they break their 84 average.  

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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I think you should stop if you feel that you are hurting the listener. For someone like me this is fairly easy, as I have been blessed with a lot of empathy. For others, especially thinking types, it may be more difficult.

seeler's picture

seeler

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Morning Calm -   laugh

Azdgari's picture

Azdgari

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Seeler:  Absolutely.  It happens all the time.  A very common example for me to see would be the slim girl complaining to her heavier friends about how fat she is.  Or the student whose parents pay for their tuition, car, booze, etc...who then complains to those of us with student debt that they havn't got enough money.

BethanyK's picture

BethanyK

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Quote:
Or the student whose parents pay for their tuition, car, booze, etc...who then complains to those of us with student debt that they havn't got enough money

 

I cannot agree enough on this one! Along with the complaint about not having money are the hints that "I saved my money"...I saved mine too, and then it went to my next tuition (sorry slightly bitter)

Serena's picture

Serena

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I think in context is important.   If you are talking about your third grandchild to your friend whose grandchild died a year ago don't go on and on.  Or if you are happy about your child graduating from high school with honors but your friend who to whom you are telling to their child is an unwed highschool dropout whose bf is in jail maybe keep your pride to yourself because it will make the other person feel bad.  I am not saying don't mention it at all but change the subject. 

 

Proverbs 25:20

he that taketh away a garment  in cold weather, [and as] vinegar upon nitre , so [is] he that singeth songs  to an heavy  heart .

 

So in other words the person may not think that they are bragging but it hurts the person to be joyful with them then it is wrong.   Think of a woman who has just had a miscarriage.   For some women they bounce back into life and go to baby showers or whatever.  Some are inwardly hurting and need to avoid these events.

 

seeler's picture

seeler

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I totally agree, Serena.  I remember one time hosting a dinner party.  Three of the four female guests were grandmothers, the fourth had three children approaching middle-age.  Two were single, without children - the other's wife had recently miscarried and she was in her 40s.   When I realized that much of the table conversation was about grandchildren, I tried to steer it in other directions, but it kept drifting back.  I really felt uncomfortable for her.  But if it bothered her she didn't let it show. 

 

Two years later, her son and his wife (now 44) had twins - a boy and a girl.   She only talks about them if we ask - but the pictures are in her purse, and the joy is in her voice as she tells us about them.    Dinner parties are more comfortable now.   Would you like to see pictures of my grandchildren.  Here is Granddaughter in her dance costume, and Grandson with his two front teeth missing - and this is their dog. 

 

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