Hiding Successes and Accomplishments From Friends Can Harm Your Relationships With Them

A University of Chicago study showed that hiding one’s achievements and success from others to avoid hurting their feelings has harmful behavioral, relational, and emotional consequences.

Hiding accomplishments is harmful



Is it necessary to hide personal or professional achievements to avoid appearing vain? A study by the University of Chicago gives us a clear answer: We should not hide our successes from friends and loved ones because it harms our relationships.

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82% of the population hides their success

Amanda just got a promotion at work. When she meets her friend Linda, she hesitates to tell her. Linda is not happy at work and she is struggling to get a raise. So Amanda keeps this good news a secret from her so she won’t feel jealous or uncomfortable. This study shows that Amand’s decision was the wrong one for several reasons.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if a piece of information is worth sharing. On the one hand, sharing our successes and accomplishments gives a good impression of our abilities, and on the other hand, sharing personal information can strengthen bonds with our partners. However, in some cases, sharing this information could create jealousy, lead to harmful social comparisons, or give the impression of being vain. As a result, we vacillate between sharing our achievements and hiding them. Numbers show us that 82% of the population remembers hiding their accomplishments from someone else at least once in their lives.

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Relationships are negatively affected by this

The University of Chicago study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, tested the reactions of pairs of people whose types of relationships were different: Acquaintances, friends, colleagues, lovers, or family. The first person A filled out a questionnaire that was asking them to write about a recent success story. The second person B then received this information with a message as to whether or not person A wanted to share this information. This message was randomly generated, regardless of the true desire of person A. Person B had to answer a series of questions about their feelings and impressions. A second chart measured the same information in a work environment: colleagues had to share or hide their successes. Finally, a third chart measured the reactions of participants who received a public or private Facebook message that revealed or hid a friend’s accomplishment. Interestingly In all cases, the reactions of the people addressed were the same.

What are your thoughts on the study?  Would you hide your successes from friends? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below!

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