The Difference Between a Confident Man and a Show-off


The Signs of a Confident Man: Don’t Be a Braggart

The man listed his accomplishments (degrees in Psychology, M.Sc. in Finance, Ph.D. in some abstract Physics field) as casually as though he were describing some TV show.

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He mesmerized me with his know-it-all tone and steely hypnotizing stare. As he spoke, he rocked back and forth on his knees and swung his thumb to emphasize certain concepts. For about an hour and a half, the man described his failures – the wife he divorced, the marketing job he lost, the book that flopped – and how he swung into the successes that lifted him “high on that tottering ladder” he told me.

You’d be forgiven for thinking he was a braggart, but, as I realized at the time, this man had a certain élan that’s as far from boasting as Kishinev from Toronto.

You’d be forgiven for thinking he was a braggart, but, as I realized at the time, this man had a certain élan that’s as far from boasting as Kishinev from Toronto.

As a research psychologist, I’ve analyzed the signs of a confident man for upwards of ten years. Asserting your value is entirely different from boasting. I’ve watched how the pros bewitch their listeners into giving them jobs, funds, viral attention, publicity – actually whatever they want to achieve. There’s a trick to improving your confidence without people thinking you’re boastful.

Here’s how the pros do it:

1. They express amazement at their success

You endear yourself to people when you casually attribute your successes to luck as much as to hard work. Doing so makes you seem humble, which, according to Network marketing business, Teamzy, is the top trait of success. You also come across as confident and charming.


Who would have known that I would have met Bill Clinton at my presentation last night? That old geezer actually shook my hand and said he’d listened to some of my speeches! Had it not been for Mr-so-and-so, I’d still be serving fries at Richmond’s McDonalds.

2. They’re grateful for their success

According to a Greater Good Magazine piece on gratefulness, when you express gratitude for those who helped you, you’re 90 percent more likely to attract followers and friends. You’re also 93 percent more likely to win respect from your listeners.

In 2017, I met a recognized artist at a Toronto networking event. I expressed my admiration at how he persevered from hopelessness to success. I told him it was unbelievable.

He smiled and said: “I can’t believe it either.”

The artist went on to list friends and mentors who helped him. I left him more impressed than ever with his accomplishments and personality.

3. They acknowledge their tough times

People who successfully employ this tactic, humorously narrate their struggles and failures and entertain you with how they fell before they picked themselves up.

People love hearing the failures of a successful man. It gives them hope and inspires them: Maybe I can be like that too. (Actually, it also secretly makes them feel good!). What better way to seem confident and no braggart than by revealing your weaknesses. Listeners feel more comfortable with you and are more likely to be transparent in turn.

4. They’re not humblebraggers

The term “humblebrag” comes from the late comedian Harris Wittels to describe celebrities who brag and complain in the same tweet. Formally called “false humility”, it’s when we intentionally devalue ourselves to appear humble


  • I really need to play basketball this week so I’m ready to play for this Gala Charity Tournament next weekend with LeBron James.
  • I can’t believe I was invited to this event as a guest speaker and that they’re also going to pay for a five-star hotel!

Cut it out, man! If you want to brag, be open and above board on what you’ve achieved. That’s slightly more likable than being a humblebragger – which, by the way, goes against all the signs of a confident man.

5. They find Wingmen

Want to impress people without making them think you’re boasting? Climb onto the wings of a friend while he climbs onto yours. Each of you will soar.

Here’s how it works: Partner with a friend to praise each other. Now each of you gets the attention of the people you want to impress.

Example: In 2018, Joe, a friend wanted a certain job. One of my other friends, Larry, who knew executives at that company knew they looking for an agent. Larry arranged a meeting for Joe with those executives. They each got what they wanted since Joe got the job and Larry was given a nice referral bonus.

6. They mention their achievements

The pros wrap their accomplishments into interesting, entertaining, heart-thrilling anecdotes.

Here’s what a brag sounds like:

Out of 4,000 people, I was the only one to nail that interview.

To improve on that, I’d say:

Finally, I got called in for an interview. I reached out to shake the guy’s hand and forgot I’d Just eaten a sticky muffin. I still got the job!

See the difference?

Use stories. They’re interesting. Just don’t make them all about you.

7. They use self-deprecating humor

Comedians have the hang of it. Rather than brag, they put themselves down in the funniest ways, indirectly conveying their strengths:

  • I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.
  • I’ve had many paranormal experiences. I’ve been ghosted by multiple women.

8. They use brag bites

Think of “brag bites” as sound bites for powerful first impressions. Use them to fill in tricky situations like this:

You meet someone at a party. They ask you what you do. (You really work in a funeral home cremating bodies). You say: I’m a mortuary technician embalming and dressing celebrities.

Sounds better, right?

Pack several brag bites in your jacket pocket ready to pluck out for awkward questions.


  • Why were you fired?
  • Why are you divorced?
  • Why are you freelancing despite your Ph.D.?

Brag bites make you look smart and sassy and save you from potentially embarrassing situations.

9. They find common points of interest

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People breaks it down like so:

“You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Basically, listen 75% and only speak 25% of the time. Then speak of the other person, connecting their experiences to yours.

Around a month ago, I met a woman at some party whom I really wanted to impress. I fished around until I discovered we had some friends who went to the same university. From there, we lapsed into comfortable conversation, which automatically led to my work. We departed the best of friends keen to resume our connection.

10. They’re careful with what they share.

Great communicators wrap their accomplishments into stories while vetting what they share. Most podcast hosts and guests are advised to keep notes in front of them on exactly what they want to say. You will still come off as if you’re having an off-the-cuff conversation without oversharing. If you talk too much, you may come across as a braggart. You’ll also sound boring, or you may say things you regret. No one wants to be boring and one of the most important signs of a confident man is knowing what to share and when to simply be quiet and listen.

There’s a thin line between coming across as confident or boastful. I’ve found too many men who find it hard to talk about themselves because they think they’re being arrogant. That’s not always the case, it just depends on how you do it.

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