People who brag about themselves are so annoying because, although we all understand that being positive is a good thing, tooting your own trumpet so loudly that no one else can hear themselves think is unbecoming. We also feel annoyed when we come across a consistent bragger because most of us know that people who need to bolster their esteem at the expense of others on a regular basis are generally insecure.
We are then left to deal with mixed feelings of our own. On the one hand the bragger is so self concerned that we want little to do with them. On the other hand we may feel sorry for them, knowing that they probably really have a low sense of self esteem, despite the bragging which is an attempt to cover this up.
What is especially annoying about people who brag about themselves so much is that there comes a point when we have heard enough. Possibly we are bored, or simply need to move on, but they just keep plugging away, telling us about their finer points as though they are attempting to sell themselves to us.
Then we may experience a dilemma. Do we have the front to speak up and try to silence them? Should we sit tight and hope that they run out of steam while we remain polite? Would tactfully attempting to change the subject hurt their feelings and make us appear rude?
At the end of the day, when faced with a person who brags, we are in an almost impossible position that is difficult to get out of. We have our own needs, which will be overlooked by the bragger, and may find having to put up with the bragging fairly intolerable.
The fact is that a conversation is by rights a two way street, where each person takes a turn at listening and talking. A real conversation gives equal power to both parties involved in a normal, everyday situation. Braggers don't tend to indulge in the unspoken rules which govern two way conversation.
It can also be belittling to spend too much time with a person who is very full of themselves and who boasts about their achievements, material possessions and talents. If you dare mention anything about yourself which you are proud of, the bragger is highly likely to attempt one oneupmanship, and so to make light of your own achievements.
For this reason it is very difficult to make a true friendship with a bragger. They just don't make room for you. It's as though they are always the driver, while you are forced to sit in the boot of the vehicle with no control over where you are going.
Probably the best way to deal with such a person is with humor that knocks the seriousness out of their self bolstering claims. A touch of lightheartedness, accompanied by a lack of encouragement will help a bragger to fizzle out of bragging material far faster than simply going with the flow.
Also remember that people who brag are thick skinned. This insensitivity occurs as a defense mechanism. It makes them less emotionally vulnerable, and less penetrable as a result. They are generally unaware that their bragging makes others around them annoyed, and mistakenly believe that people are impressed by their bragging.
The more impressed others appear to be, generally because they are being polite, the more the bragger continues with their behaviour, under the false impression that what they are doing is working as planned. By reacting in a totally non plussed fashion, and by neglecting to fuel their bragging, you can keep it to a minimum.