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Hiding success has disadvantages

You lose the option of strengthening relationships




It´s better to share than to hide success. At least when we are talking about people you are having close ties with: family, selected friends, business partners and peers. This is because by sharing success you are definitely strengthening relationships with individuals who are important to you. The logic goes like this: You apparently trust them to rejoice with you instead of being envious about what you worked out so well.

On the contrary: any direct reference person of yours interprets hiding of success either as rejection or as arrogance. The common approach not to talk proactively about things which went fine because your interlocutors would then feel bad or perceive you as a bragger is not true anymore. Or is to be seen differentiated to say the least.

These are the key findings of a recent US research. The scientists point out: you are paying a high emotional and social price if you keep believing hiding success means not to damage sensitivities of others.

Roberts, A. R., Levine, E. E., & Sezer, O. (2021). Hiding success. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120(5), 1261–1286. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000322



From the practice:

It is simply terrific to tell people who are close to my heart unlimitedly about my successes. I got it. And still I have to warn of potential pitfalls:

Even if everything is 100% correct what you are mentioning about the things which you have managed cleverly, please beware of

  1. Talking constantly about your successes – one might think you are dependent on constant praise
  2. Talking excessively about your successes – people can perceive you as penetrant.
  3. Using words and tone too self-importantly when talking about your successes – the other one might interpret this behaviour as exaggeration or yourself or as devaluation of him/herself.


So we get back a very old story: It is the How which is as crucial in communication as the What.

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