Marrying Well for Fun and Profit: Humble Brag

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?”

Benjamin Franklin

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.”
(Samuel Madden)


Index of Sir Walter’s columns


Featured painting is Guests at Table by Adolph von Menzel

2 thoughts on “Marrying Well for Fun and Profit: Humble Brag

  1. Susan Kaye

    I’m so tired of those who have perfected braggadocio-in-140-characters. (re: #11 above.) I am muting many on Twitter these days.

    Too bad hashtag humblebrag hasn’t been active for several years.

    Liked by 2 people


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