Joco 913

If you’re gonna brag, don’t be subtle about it. Or worse: stealth

Sherry Kuehl
Sherry Kuehl The Kansas City Star

I think bragging could be an Olympic sport. Just look at the many different disciplines.

On one end, there’s the well-known boisterous bragger. On the other, the newest entry: the subtlest.

I had an encounter with a subtle bragger recently and it was eye-opening and confusing.

The problem with the subtlest is, at first, you’re wondering if they’re bragging or just imparting information you might need to know.

Then you start picking up conversational cues and realize that you’re talking (or listening, because does a bragger ever desire input from anyone else?) with a hard-core bragger who thinks they’re disguising the boasting.

This, I have a big problem with, mainly because I think the subtlest believes I’m a naive idiot. I have more respect for the blowhard bragger who owns their obnoxiousness.

I was delighted to discover, though, the subtlest’s Kryptonite. It’s never asking a question. It shuts down the flow of information.

I think of the subtlest as the humble bragger (all the rage several years ago) all grown up. The humble bragger boasts under the pretense of humility. The subtlest casts the faux humility aside and masks the bragging as informational.

I don’t understand this trend of camouflaging your bragging.

Everybody brags, at least a little, and it’s okay. Being excited about an accomplishment feels good, and if you’re not a perpetual bragger then I don’t think anyone minds.

Back in the day bragging was a whole lot harder. I remember my mom telling me that in her prime, there were only three places you could get a good brag in — at a neighborhood coffee get-together, in the stands at a football game, and church.

My mom called church the “holy grail” of bragging. She said after all that praying and singing most people felt like their souls were cleansed enough that it was “time to put the Good Book aside” and go the fellowship hall after Sunday service for a brag-a-thon.

My mother, being a very private person, wasn’t big on bragging but she did enjoy listening to other people boast. She always said she learned something and told me that “the people that bragged the most were hiding the most.”

Social media has proved that statement to be true.

Today’s post of “deep, life affirming love” for having the “most amazing spouse ever” is tomorrow’s status change from “married” to “it’s complicated.”

All this intrigue has prompted me to try to predict the next new boasting maneuver.

Stealth bragging.

I’ve already seen parents who “manage” their children’s social media by writing amazing things about themselves and then posting it on their kid’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as if it has been written by their child.

I can only imagine what my mother would say about that.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and