“You know, I’m kind of a big deal…”
Nerds are notoriously bad at singing their own praises. Some of this comes from having been raised with the (selective) cultural mores that insist that anyone who boasts about their own accomplishments is an obnoxious narcissist. Some of this reluctance to emphasize their own good points comes from the belief that their accomplishments are somehow worth less or less praise-worthy than others; after all, who gets celebrated in our culture, the sports hero or the brain? Then there are those who lack faith in their own self-worth; why should you brag about yourself when you have nothing to brag about, after all?
The problem, though, is that sometimes being able to brag about yourself is a good thing. After all, when it comes to the dating world, you want people to understand that you’re awesome and they should get to know you because you’re awesome.
But how are you supposed to convey your awesomeness without showing off a little? How are you supposed to let people know that you’re money if all you can say is “Well, I guess I’m ok…”
You need to quit being so afraid of being willing to believe that you’re incredible and you’re not afraid to say so. You just need to learn how to do it without coming off like a complete asshole.
Why Do You Need To Brag?
Let’s take a moment to talk about confidence.
I’ve said over and over again that confidence is one of the most attractive attributes in people, regardless of whether their male or female. Confidence is an outward sign that somebody has faith in themselves and trust in what they have to offer. It shows in their body language, in the way they relate to others, in the way that they talk to others. They radiate security and accomplishment because they take pride in they’ve done and what they know they can do.
Confidence is one of those areas where lots of little things contribute to a more attractive whole. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those areas where little things can betray a lack of confidence and bring the rest of the issue into question. Having pride – and being willing to admit to having pride – in yourself and your accomplishments is one of them.
It’s understandable why people – nerds especially – are loathe to indulge in a little crowing about themselves; everybody knows somebody that can’t stop talking about how amazing they are and how they’re just King Shit of Fuck Mountain. They’re the ones who remind us that “great” is sometimes spelled G-R-A-T-E. Nobody wants to be that guy. Nerds and geeks frequently define themselves in opposition to the people around them – when all the jocks, queen-bees and other assorted assholes who make your life miserable are the ones who’re proclaiming their glory to anyone who will listen, it’s only natural that we work to be as unlike them as possible.
The problem is when you take it too far in the other direction. It’s fine that you don’t want to make a fuss about maybe being more gifted with facial symmetry than your classmates or the fact that you’re smarter than the average bear, but when you qualify everything good about you with “well… I guess I’m a little…” or “people say I’m…” it doesn’t read as “modesty”. It reads as “low self-esteem”. It tells people that you don’t believe in yourself and in all the amazing things you have to offer other people – and if you don’t believe in it, why in hell should they? It makes you incongruous with the image you’re trying to project; you may have that confident body language that says you know what you’re worth, but when you can’t back up the look with being able to speak with authority about your good points, you’re going to confuse people. At best you’ll come across as someone who’s trying to project an air of false modesty… which most people will take as arrogance.
This is one area where assholes have it all over nerds; they have no problem telling everybody how awesome they are. They may be a raging bundle of entitlement issues, but they have no problem believing in themselves and making sure that other people know it too.
Selling Yourself vs. Bragging
Imagine this if you will: you’ve just landed an interview for your dream job. You’re in your snazziest suit, sitting in that well-upholstered chair while the head of HR is looking over your resume. She nods to herself, folds your resume down and looks you square in the eye. “So,” she asks, “why should we want to hire you?” You need to wow her. You need to impress her. This is not the time to say “Well, I’m not sure…” You need to be able to explain exactly why you’re perfect for that job… and this means no hemming and hawing and disqualifying yourself by saying things like “I guess I’m ok at $SKILL”
Think of being willing to brag a little as advertising. When a company is selling a product, they want to make sure that you – the prospective customer – understands that their product is the greatest thing in the history of things. Nobody starts off their commercial with “PRODUCT_X is alright we guess. I mean, it’s not terrible, but there’s a lot out there that’s better. But we’re pretty good… kind of.” That sort of thinking sabotages the product in the customer’s mind right off the bat. If you were to try to suggest that your company should open a marketing campaign with the slogan of “WE’RE TOTALLY ADEQUATE!”, you’d be lucky if security wasn’t instructed to toss you out the door head first.
If you’re trying to sell a product, you want them to know that this product is what they’ve been looking for, even if they didn’t realize it. You want people to realize that your product will enhance their lives in wonderfully sexy ways. You want them to understand just how superlative your product is, especially compared to the competition’s inferior versions. You want to say “yeah, we make a lot of promises… but we can back ’em up too.”
Not to drive a metaphor into the ground, but when it comes to dating, you are the product. When you’re talking to someone you’re attracted to, you’re essentially marketing yourself to them. You want them to realize that a relationship with you is the best possible thing that could happen to them – all those other guys or girls out there are inferior knock-offs. It’s great to want people to discover who you are and what makes you a wonderful person… but you have to get them interested in investing the time and effort that it will take to realize your true depths. Very few of us are so amazing that we wear our awesomeness like a halo for all to see.
So you need to be willing to talk yourself up in a charming and attractive manner.