Beware: There are small talk criminals lurking everywhere. The coffee shop, your kids’ school, the gym, the office, the dinner party. These brazen bullies strike quickly and without warning – and they don’t care who they hurt. My ongoing series, Talk Tyrants, serves two purposes: it allows you the chance to escape the attack of THESE villainous creatures and it guarantees that YOU will never fall into a life of small talk crime. Here we go:
This bold small talk criminal will brag about almost anything; and his arrogance makes it virtually impossible for him to go incognito. He loves himself and he loves and audience. The bigger the group, the bigger the brag.
The Braggarita (The Braggart’s Equally Evil Twin):
The Braggarita prefers to draw blood from a single source. She will speak only to one member of the inner circle, hoping that her greatness will be shared with a larger group.
How to Spot The Braggart:
- Relays all of his accomplishments: My brother is head of Paramount Pictures and George Clooney is on his speed dial and I am pretty sure we’ll be in Italy this summer with him and whatever girlfriend he happens to secure for the holiday.
- Loves a “King of the World” story: I just made a killing in the stock market! Those financial planners don’t know what they are talking about! I took a long shot and it paid of BIG. HUGE. Soon Clooney will be calling me for advice.
How to Spot The Braggarita:
- Never directly discloses how fabulous she is, but leaves it to her solitary audience to spread the news: I wouldn’t want to mention this in front of poor Jackie who is still living in that awful 1987 tri-level buuuutttt, House Beautiful has been just hounding me to photograph my new kitchen. I know, I know…so stressful!
- Quietly but cunningly dangles private information, including financial details, in front of her victim in order to position herself as superior: I don’t understand why anyone would send their children to public school. I realize that private education is expensive, but $38,000 a year for high school is what it takes these days. I guess some people just aren’t willing to sacrifice.
How to Deal with The Braggart and The Braggarita:
- Bring the conversation back to a general topic: Speaking of schools, I just read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – have you had the chance to read it?
- Fake a phone call, choking emergency or mini-stroke: Oh goodness, has my left eye started to droop? What would George Clooney think of me! So sorry to cut you short, but your story has clearly caused me neurological damage. Ciao.
I am kidding about the stroke story. Sort of. The thing is, trying to go toe-to-toe with The Evil Braggert Twins is a lost cause, so either redirect the conversation or redirect yourself to the other side of the room.