Before I rant, let me start by noting that I may be overly sensitive to this topic as my life has gone from extremely exciting to overwhelmingly average after walking across the graduation stage this past May. That being said, it seemed like every facet of social media was flooded with updates on how #blessed everyone was in 2013 as the year came to an end, from the countless Instagram collages that captured every great “moment” of the previous 365 days, to the Facebook essays with detailed paragraphs thanking everyone you’re so grateful for. Spare me. We all get it. While you’re thanking everyone for making 2013 your finest year to date, you’re actually just subtly telling us one thing: your life is better than ours. No matter how you try and sugarcoat it, you’ve just successfully humble bragged.
I just recently became familiar with this term, and have noticed it more and more in my everyday life. The humble brag most often appears on social media, as social media is usually the perfect platform for hundreds of people to see such a false combination of humility and pride. A humble brag has three defining characteristics. First, a #humblebrag must be harmless on the surface. Secondly, the humble brag crafts an image of the way the author wants everyone to perceive them. Third, a humble brag is a subtle way of saying, “Fuck you, I’m better than you.”
The “I just got a new a job” #humblebrag
I encountered this one more and more last year as I approached college graduation. Obviously, the closer you get to graduation, the more helpless you feel regarding your future. As the second semester of your senior year rolls along, the job application and interview process gives you a glimpse of how cruel the real world will be. Then, one day you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and there it is. Someone in your graduating class just accepted a job in his field and can now say he has plans to move to a new city to “pursue his dream.” He can try and fool you by thanking everyone that has helped him get this far in his life, noting that nothing would be possible without them. But let’s get one thing straight, this post is self-serving. He’s better than you and wants you to know it. The more likes it gets, the more it pisses you off.
The “I’m in better shape than you” #humblebrag
No one does their body any favors by going to college. The combination of boozing five nights a week, takeout food, and sleeping for 12 hours a day isn’t prescribed by any doctor. But then you’ve got your heroes who really shaped up after graduation. The ones who constantly update you on the CrossFit WOD they just completed this morning while you were nursing one of your worst hangovers in recent memory. This is the guy clogging your Twitter feed with motivational quotes. He’s the one Instagramming his low-carb dinner while you’re scarfing down your second Chipotle burrito of the day. I’m convinced that if social media did not exist, no one would participate in a Tough Mudder or half marathon. Because if your profile picture isn’t you crossing the finish line, it didn’t really happen, right?
The “I work harder than you” #humblebrag
#RiseAndGrind. These are the people that are commonly referred to as over-achievers. During college they were the ones letting people know that they logged countless hours in the library. In the real world, they’re the ones letting us know that a 60-hour work week just got the best of them, but they’re a better person for it. These are people that most certainly got that great job right out of college, or are now pursuing a PhD. They also miraculously find time in their crazy busy schedules to make it to the gym five times a week. While a strong work ethic is a great characteristic to have, no one wants to hear how great yours is. This isn’t a job interview.
Humble brags are extremely prevalent in today’s world ruled by social media and definitely not limited to those mentioned above. So if you find yourself receiving a promotion or starting that new work out plan, do everyone a favor a keep it to yourself. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go meet up with my friends that have always been there for me. So #blessed to have them in my life.