Humblebrag: a new type of gloating


Magdalene Halikias

Students humblebrag about grades, college acceptance, and extracurricular achievements. There should be a limitation.

Bragging; gloating; boasting. All are known as the human manner of displaying success to others, in an attempt to get recognition or approval. It’s a sin, a no-no, a moral wrong. Yet, why does it still plague us? Why do adults and students alike continue to brag? I guess it’s in our human nature, something that we really can’t escape. But what’s worse than bragging itself? The humblebrag.

If the word humblebrag had a symbol to represent it, that symbol would be Hinsdale Central High School. In a community of overachievers, helicopter parents, and hypersensitive competitiveness, bragging is bound to come up. And it does. Even when this bragging isn’t outright, it’s masked in its rawest form, the humblebrag.

We’ve all seen it; telling someone you failed the test, getting back a 105 percent, and then saying you didn’t even study. We’ve caught you in the act. I know you spent hours on that Quizlet, don’t try to downsize your success in an attempt to make me notice your talent. If it’s recognition you want, you got it. I just can’t promise that it’s positive.

“I hate when we get tests back and someone that earned a mid-A grade says they didn’t do ‘so hot’,” said Borislav Sharapchiev, sophomore. “I just hope people think about everyone else before they say things like that.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines humblebrag as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” Students here use it with test scores, college admissions, or extracurricular involvement. Through pity posts, over exaggerations, and complaining, humble bragging surrounds us every day.

“I see this most on social media, not just of students, but with famous people as well,” said Heidi Wittwer, senior. “Tweets showing fortune and success are translated beyond the walls of Hinsdale Central.”

On the bright side, it shows that Central students have a lot to be proud of, which we undoubtedly do. We win championships, we get great scores, we challenge ourselves. But we’ve also molded our school into a hyper-competitive environment. Not that competitiveness is a bad thing (without it, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful). But we can do with a lot less of the subliminal bragging to create a less competitive, toxic atmosphere. 

“Our school has so many talented students,” said Laura Diggs, senior. “It’s just a shame that we have to look at each other so negatively when people continually brag.”

Of course, any type of bragging can be annoying, but there are a few tips to avoid angering your surrounding audience. Don’t coat your pride with humbleness. It clearly doesn’t work. If you’re really proud of something, you have the right to brag. Take a moment and pat yourself on the back. But don’t let this accomplishment dominate every conversation you have with people from now to the time you graduate. Brag with limitations.

It also helps to know your audience. If you suddenly choose to humbly brag about your A in front of a class with a C- average, be prepared for a negative reaction. Seek the right moments to showcase your pride. Be modest. Consider others’ feelings, and how you may feel from their perspective.

The school has a problem, and that problem has a little something to do with bragging rights. Every student has probably done it, heck, every human has done it. Keep your skewed understanding of modesty outside of the realm of bragging, and start being humble and kind.