We all like to toot our own horn from time to time.  For example: “I ran my fastest marathon this weekend!” Or, “I lost 20 pounds!” But there’s a big difference between acceptable pride – and obnoxious bragging. First, let’s start with the don’ts of tooting your own horn:

First: Don’t boast about how great you are and say things like: “You know I’m the #1 player at my tennis club!” Or, “I’m basically a genius.” Because bragging about your skills and abilities just looks like you’re trying to prove you’re better than everyone else.

Another don’t when it comes to horn-tooting: Don’t harp on your biggest achievement. If you’re an Olympic gold medalist, go ahead and mention it in your bio or add a photo to your Facebook page. But it’s a big no-no to wear your medal while you’re running errands to work it into conversations, like: “That reminds me of the summer when I won an Olympic gold medal……”

Another no-no: Starting a statement with: “I know I shouldn’t brag, but…” Admitting up front that you shouldn’t be bragging doesn’t make bragging okay. If you want to tell people about making the game-winning goal, try saying: “I won, and I’m happy.” And leave it at that.

Another don’t: Basking in someone else’s success. Like saying, “Isn’t my daughter a fantastic dancer? I taught her everything she knows!” Bottom line: Let the other person get the glory. Don’t try to boost your self-esteem through the achievements of others even – or especially – if it’s your kid.

So, when is it okay to brag? When you quote what somebody else said about you – and provide unquestionable proof. Like: “Mary said this was the best pie she’s ever eaten. Here, try a piece!” And let the evidence do your bragging for you.