An advice column by Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot, Bart
“Hide not your talents.
They for use were made.
What’s a sun-dial in the shade?”
My Dear Vulgarian Miss,
This week I will address a phenomenon known as Humble Brag or, if you prefer, Expressive Individualism. With skillful use — and I dare to suggest that Humble Brag is an art form not to be lightly undertaken — you will be able to spotlight yourself without shame.
For how else will a gentleman learn of your many delightful accomplishments unless you tell him?
Here are my thoughts.
• The desire to be noticed is human. You simply desire to be noticed more.
• Talking is the essence of relationships. Why not talk about yourself?
• Even so, do not boast of accomplishments. Simply mention them in passing.
• Spread good news: “I can’t believe I saved 30% at Louis Vuitton!”
• Complain: “Someone keyed my new Lamborghini, can you believe it?”
• Share disasters: “The write-up in the NY Times misspelled my name!”
• Seek advice: “What should I wear to my TV interview with Jay Leno?”
• Be human: “Tyra Banks, my BFF, can’t come to my party after all. Wah!”
• Practice the darling self-deprecating smile, the off-hand modest shrug.
• Humble Brag in print is very much worse than Humble Brag in person.
• Therefore, use social media, such as Twitter, s-p-a-r-i-n-g-l-y.
• “The Internet is forever.” See #humblebrag for current real life disasters.
Cordially yours in the upward climb,
Sir Walter Elliot, Bart
“With all his tumid boasts, he’s like the sword-fish, who only wears his weapon in his mouth.”
Featured painting is Guests at Table by Adolph von Menzel