Boasting about busy life may be new status symbol

Last Updated 24 March 2017, 08:39 IST

'Humblebragging' - or boasting about how hectic your life - may be the new status symbol, according to Harvard researchers, including one of Indian origin.

Researchers found that being seen as constantly busy and overworked is the new way to prove that one is 'in demand'.

Taking the afternoon off for a round of golf or enjoying a beach holiday in a five-star resort were once signs of having social capital.

However, phrases such as 'I have no life' and 'I desperately need a holiday' are now used to imply social standing, researchers said.

While ordering food shopping online is the perfect way to prove to neighbours that you are simply too busy and important to go to the supermarket.

"Movies, magazines, and popular TV shows often highlight the abundance of money and leisure time among the wealthy," said Neeru Paharia, an assistant professor at Harvard University in the US.

"In recent years, featuring wealthy people relaxing by the pool or on a yacht, playing tennis and polo, or skiing and hunting are being replaced with ads featuring busy individuals who work long hours and have very limited leisure time," Paharia told the 'Telegraph'.

"Displaying one’s busyness at work and lack of leisure time operates as a visible signal of status in the eyes of others," she said.

The study, carried out in the US, found that brands that marketed themselves as timesaving were becoming increasingly high-status, because of the people who used them.

However, in Italy the effect was completely reversed. Italians still view a leisurely life as representative of high status, researchers said.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. 

(Published 24 March 2017, 08:39 IST)

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