Modesty is a very British quality. A quality we are proud of, like our ability to queue and utilise a cup of tea to remedy any situation no matter the severity.
I fear however that on occasion we are too modest and may have a little to learn, (though it pains me to say it) from our American cousins. So many people I know have achieved great things in their lives, but turn pale at the mere mention of them in public. They simply cannot accept compliments on their deeds or even on their character without a hugely defensive retort or using humour like a giant fire hose to dampen the flames of conversation.
Now the Yanks love nothing more than to turn everything into a celebration. You take your dog for a walk and you get a medal, you post a letter and your neighbour high fives you and don’t get me started on the whooping and hollering that accompanies any sporting achievement.
Now I’m not suggesting for one minute that this sort of behaviour sits easily with us as Brits, nor that it should be used on a daily basis - let’s face it who has the energy?! But sometimes it would be more beneficial than harmful for us to accept that we are good at things and to let others praise that publically. You don’t have to blow your own trumpet, but let’s at least alert the world to the fact we own a trumpet.
What do you think? Are we too modest? email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to be a Mercury columnist, contact Phil Bramley at email@example.com