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[Communication] How to not make others feel like you're bragging?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community6 days ago

Whenever I talk to people (outside of my team) they call me humble but then also mention that I might be bragging by sharing my experiences. Even though I don't mean to. I feel like there's a perception improvement by not bragging but also still being able to talk about your accomplishments.

My experiences could be work related or outside of work like Travel, Adventures I've tried lately, etc



  • Rahul Pandey
    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    6 days ago

    Could you share an example where something you said came across as bragging? I think of this in 2 ways:

    • Work experiences: you should absolutely talk about your achievements, but also lift up people around you and give them credit.
    • Non-work experiences: if you think this could be perceived as bragging, I just wouldn't share it.
  • Jordan Cutler
    Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup
    6 days ago

    Love this question!

    +1 to Rahul's comment about giving credit. Give credit even for the smallest things, like if you did something above and beyond in standup but you being able to do that quickly was due to very fast code reviews from another team member, give them a shout-out.

    A couple of other ideas come to mind as someone who leans heavily on the side of self-promotion:

    • Try to be self-aware of how many times you may be saying something that could come across as bragging, even if you're not, and just gauge it / minimize it based on the vibes you get.
    • Only give updates that are relevant to other team members. For example, if you shipped a change that is an internal tool that people can now use, feel free to tell the people it would be valuable to. But if you are working with someone outside of your team and helping them on something, it's not relevant to bring up in your teams standup unless it is negatively impacting your ability to get your things done. Instead, ask that person for feedback regarding the thing you helped them with when reviews time comes around, and your manager can find out about it then (or in 1 on 1 if relevant)
  • Kuan Peng
    Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google
    6 days ago

    +1 to giving credit to others. Lifting others up is the best way to promote "credit where credit is due" culture fairly and others will eventually reciprocate for you without you even trying.

    Having said that, it sounds like you asking whether sharing your personal experiences outside of work, at work, can be perceived as "bragging".

    It depends, but IMO, I would think about

    1. Is it the right time to talk about it? For example, I would generally say "official" meetings are not a good place to do so, since it distracts from the agenda of the meeting and typically don't contribute anything meaningful. It's great to do so at an off site or a team lunch or a "watercooler" conversation.
    2. Are you being able to have a conversation around these type of topics? Is other people also sharing their experiences when you are sharing yours? A good strategy is to ask and listen to other people talk about their experiences instead of talking about yourself to first, and hope they ask you about yours too.
  • Scott Gardner
    Mid-Level Site Reliability Engineer at Ping Identity
    5 days ago

    I've found that it's useful to consider what you're saying and how the other people might be feeling long after the conversation is over.

    Personally, I'm very much a story teller in conversations and it can be very easy to get into a game of one-upmanship without meaning to, where you've always got a or more interesting story to tell after theirs. Once or twice is okay, sometimes we just have interesting stories to tell. But the more it happens the more noticeable it also becomes.

    After all, if a junior's sharing their story about finding and resolving a difficult to track bug, they probably don't want to hear you start running into a story about spending more time to find an even more difficult to track bug with bigger impact. Especially if it happens all the time.

    Perhaps this (or something similar) is happening. It's not any single specific incident, it's the pattern that's causing people to feel like you're bragging.

    1 Like
  • Anonymous User
    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    5 days ago

    +1 on Sharing Credit, that is something I always make sure to do.

    It's also I think something I feel and I'm not entirely sure if others perceive it that way. I just want to avoid it in the future.

    These conversations always are either water cooler ones or offsite events not during work meetings.

    The one comment that I did get which is what got my head spinning is "You're doing a lot of things at work and also outside work and it feels like I'm not doing either" Obviously I understand this isn't something I can control, but I do wish to think ahead if there's something I should avoid based on your experiences :)

    But otherwise everyone I talk to generally has a positive opinion and reach out to schedule some 1-1 time for catching up/non work stuff. So I'd like to think I'm doing something right. Also good to mention that all the topics we talk about are purely factual and my experiences as in it's not gossip or talking about someone else negatively.

    I will share positive info about someone else if it's related, stating they should reach out and get their view as they've done something similar (sharing links where possible).

  • Anonymous User
    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    5 days ago

    I also would like to thank all of you! For such great insights and responses. It helped me think on other aspects as well which I did not consider before but will keep in mind. I do see where I can improve!

    I genuinely appreciate all the openness and honest feedback on a topic like this!

    1 Like