Friday, January 8, 2010

Dealing With A Braggert.

photo from romantics
I have a situation that has been driving me nuts lately.  It's a friend (we work in semi competitive fields) that calls me up once in a while and leaves a message to call her back right away.  When I do, the conversation goes like this:
me: Hey!  How's it going?
her: great!  So great!  I'm incredibly busy, my phone's just ringing off the hook with business.
me: that's amazing!  Glad to hear it.
her: Yeah, I got a new boss but he just loves me!  My job is so great.  So busy!
me: really?  that's really awesome.

And literally, this conversation goes on and on like this with my range of answers being great, good for you, and that's awesome until I get off the phone.  At first, this friend used to make me feel really bad after I hung up.  Ummmm, why isn't my life that amazing?  My phone rang 3 times today and rarely rings "off the hook" like hers apparently does.  Am I just jealous? I am not above being envious but she really takes pains to rub it in and I couldn't understand why she never inquired as to how I was doing.  Ever. 

 The thing is I can't really burn the bridge and tell her to eff off because we see each other sometimes at professional events and I don't want to get into a straight out fight.  So if you have to be around a braggart you could try some of these.  Come up with fun games for these conversations like:
Can I actually get through this entire conversation by just saying "that's so great!"?
Try to squeak something in about how satisfied you are with your life and watch the braggart ramp up how amazing life is even more.
Play a fun game inspired by Penelope the One Upper from SNL.  See if they pick up on it. 

I still dread talking to her but it's at least slightly more entertaining now.


Blogger Grace Boyle said...

That conversation made me cringe. Maybe it's good for our ego to feel a little bruised or hurt. I've definitely been there.

I also think it's unfair and not a two-way relationship (like it should be). However, you have a good position. Just go with it. If they start to become detrimental or you don't really want to talk to them anymore, you have that option. However, I think we can learn from almost every situation. Maybe it can be humorous to you. Furthermore, some people talk about themselves a lot and their 'amazing' job or situation, but may not be really happy inside. Just sayin' ;)

January 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Royce said...

I'm wildly entertained that you are now messing with her. That's precisely the way to deal with a dumb bastard (defined by Vonnegut: "The real problem with dumb bastards is they're too dumb to know there's such a thing as being smart"). So good job by you C-Mac.

Why does this person call in the first place? Do you ever ask point-blank? "What are you calling for?"

Anyway nobody likes a braggart which I learned early on, so at least you know to go out of your way not to talk about yourself yes? Do you get over-humble sometimes as a reaction?

And finally is this individual a certain person who FIWK may or may not have had a minor beef with recently? Oh please God I hope it is

January 8, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Royce said...

Forgot to say I completely agree with Grace that the most likely cause of this (other than being a dumb bastard) is that this person is probably not super happy overall with their job situation. Or they get really moody so they'll soon be unhappy. Good call KGB

January 8, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Grace - you're probably right. I just can't help but feel a little taken advantage of.

Royce - I guess I finally just got to the point where it was funny instead of hurtful :) Maybe I'm just as bad by making it a game instead of saying something?

January 8, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Royce said...

Well you are just as bad, but at least you're self-aware haha

January 8, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Andrea V. Lewis said...

So many people forget that communication is a two-way street. Acutely aware of this, I always make it a point to engage in the conversation by listening AND asking questions. So often I find that when I'm talking to someone that they never ask questions back. After one strike I try avoid any long-term commitment conversations and opt for short small talk before hightailing it out of there.

Never heard of a "braggert" did you come up with that? If so, brilliant! If not, take credit Great post!

January 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Karl in NC said...

Perhaps start by not calling her back immediately...

Officiously entitled people don't like it when their victims start fighting back, but that's their problem, not yours. Good luck!

January 8, 2010 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous PRIMAMAG said...

OH MY GOD. This is totally about me, isn't it? Well I can't help if my life is... for lack of a better word... PERFECT.

haha. just kidding. I loved reading this post and thinking of the SNL skit and then at that moment, actually READING your reference to the SNL skit.

I think it's safe to say that people like that are desperately trying to compensate for something that is seriously lacking in their life. I think it has alot to do with being a considerate human, and being genuine. This person doesn't sound too genuine, and almost sounds like someone that is friends with you for whatever professional benefit she can gain.

January 10, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Royce said...

Just punch them in the face next time you see them

January 11, 2010 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Royce - that's amazing advice, why didn't I think of that? Oh, that's right, because I'm not a cast member of the Jersey Shore!!!

January 11, 2010 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Hmmm, I have a friend like this.

My finance once told me that if someone proclaims they are something over and over again, they are usually the opposite, i.e. "My life is perfect," really means: "My life sucks."

Sometimes it just takes a very long time to get through the tough "perfect" exterior. Unless you live in So Cal then there is usually nothing deeper than the exterior :)

Give it time. Maybe this person will surprise you.

January 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

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