Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be talking about turn offs in relationships. It’s important to talk about these because what seems like a turn off to one person may not seem like a turn off to someone else – and it would be a shame for someone who would otherwise be an incredible match to not take the opportunity to get to know you better based on something you’re not aware is a problem.
For example, I tend to be overly apologetic to people. At first, it may not be a problem, but after I apologize for the seventh or eighth time, it becomes annoying. This is not something that happens all the time, but if I’m concerned that I’m annoying someone or that I’ve upset someone, I can find myself apologizing repeatedly. After a while, it can – and often does – get under people’s skin. ~smile~ However, since this issue has been brought to my attention, I can do something about it. That’s one of the main reasons we are sharing this series with you – to make you aware of common turn offs which can cut potential relationships off at the pass.
When was the last time you were stuck in a conversation with someone who could not quit talking and puffing himself or herself up? What did you want to do? Did you think about faking a severe cough and running to the bathroom? Did you hope and pray someone would interrupt you with an urgent message? Did you have a hard time looking that person in the eye because you kept glancing at the clock behind his or her head?
Bragging is a major turn off in relationships. It is a turn off if you are already in a relationship, but if you are just getting to know someone, bragging can slam the breaks on a budding romance. How does listening to people talk about themselves incessantly make you feel? For me, it makes me feel… embarrassed – embarrassed for them, but embarrassed nonetheless. In general, listening to someone brag makes most people feel heavy and uncomfortable.
Bragging is a turn off for several reasons. We could each come up with our own list, but I think most of us would agree that listening to people elevate themselves in conversation shows a lack of concern for others. When we are looking for friends, either romantically or platonically, we want to know that there will be a mutual exchange of giving and taking. Listening to people chatter on about their heroics indicates that they are primarily interested in themselves and think others should be primarily interested in what they have to say too.
It goes against human nature to want to spend time with a braggadocios person. Think about those people in your life you enjoy the most. Chances are, these people listen to you! They make you feel important! They offer you something. There is a mutual care and concern from them to you and from you back to them. We desire relationships because it is a part of our makeup. A relationship with someone who thinks too highly of himself or herself is generally one-sided and the person getting the short end of the stick doesn’t usually hang around long term.
So if bragging is such an incredible turnoff, why on Earth do people do it? There are probably hundreds of reasons we could think of if we held a town hall meeting on the topic, but in the interest of time and sanity I’ll discuss three obvious reasons:
- Some people brag because they think so highly of themselves they cannot fathom anything more thrilling to discuss with others than their awesomeness. (Though this category is not common, it does exist.) It’s hard to stomach these people, but they are out there. Those hard-core braggers who find themselves in romantic relationships are usually sporting someone with low self-esteem; or, in some cases, they find themselves in relationships with equally “important” people, though I would imagine such relationships are volatile and short-lived.
- Bragging is often a sign of deep insecurity. After getting to know someone for a short period of time, we can usually tell if their bragging tendencies stem from a lack of confidence or too much confidence. Years ago, I knew a young man who bragged more than anyone I had ever met – it was nauseating. Some of the nicest people I knew ignored him because they could not look him in the eye or take him seriously as he relayed the details of his latest accomplishment. If you were meeting him for the first time, you might have thought, “Do you and your greatness want to be alone? Are you in love with yourself or is it just a fling?” However, if you had followed him around for a few days you would have figured out that he was simply trying to fit in by showing others that he had good points. He wanted to be taken seriously, but he went about it the wrong way. Unfortunately, he turned a lot of potential friends away in the process.
- Lastly, some people brag because they are uncomfortable in a situation. Have you ever found yourself in a social scene where someone asked you to tell him or her a little about yourself and in your discomfort you shared all of your life’s achievements in twenty seconds flat? Sometimes we automatically click with people and sometimes we find ourselves talking to someone who intimidates us and shares too much. Occasionally, I’ve run across super-awesome people who slipped into brag mode out of sheer terror. “They want to know about me. Umm… I have a Master’s Degree, I have been playing drums since I was six, and I won the cleanest cabin award at camp six years in a row!” Most of us are not this awkward, but you get the idea. People who brag under such circumstances usually stop after they take a deep breath and calm down. Depending on one’s personality type, a social situation can get the best of us at one time or another! ~smile~
So, is bragging incessantly a reason not to date someone? That all depends on the root of the behavior. First, you have to ask yourself if you are evaluating the situation rationally or through your own tinted lenses. For example, my personality loathes name dropping. If someone mentions that they know someone deemed important as a way to get special treatment or rise in social ranks, I roll my eyes. Though, sometimes people are simply making a matter-of-fact statement about something they accomplished without intending to brag – so, I need to be careful in my assessment of their intention.
After evaluating the person clearly, if he or she obviously thinks more highly of himself or herself than he or she should, I would begin a forward motion in the opposite direction. You won’t want to live with someone who exalts himself or herself above you. Marriage is about serving one another. It isn’t a master/slave arrangement. If the other person is haughty, selfish, spoiled, and reveling in self-importance, then run. Don’t look both ways – just run!
If you find this person has a bragging flaw, but that he or she also has excellent qualities such as kindness, caring, selflessness, helpfulness, and giving, you can learn to live with the occasional bragging sessions. People in this category often need a loving boyfriend/girlfriend (or, eventually, husband/wife) to respectfully nudge them when they begin bragging (or give off the appearance of bragging). ~smile~
Do you know someone who brags incessantly? Have you had potential relationships end due to too much bragging?