This is what a person who has a need to derive self-esteem from others wants from the others…He firstly has a pretense of his self-worth or superiority, which he keeps asserting either through his mannerism or through recitals of his so-called alleged ‘achievements’, and he wants the other person to help him fake this pretense by his approval or aquiesence. This is what he wants from the other person, an acknowledgement of his fake self-worth, a moral sanction.
In cases where James Taggarts meet Orren Boyles (where both parties are parasites), I think both the person might compliment each other, as both would readily each other fake their self-worth. At the same time, both of them would very well know how wretched the other is.
But in cases where the other person has some self-respect, he would feel very uncomfortable. I guess this is the reason why conventionally, no one likes a show-off. Only conventionally, they have got the semantics wrong…they call a show-off as one having pride (a proud man) —I guess false or fake pride would be a better clarification, and they call the person they like a humble person.
Actually what they like is a person who just sees personal relationships as an end in themselves, as a payment to others for their character and values, rather than a means to gain anything out of them, whether material or spiritual. In this sense, a humble person is not the right word, as it may come with a package-deal of a self-debasing person, which is not desirable. Haven’t found the right word for it though…Aristotle would just call him a person with pride (in the proper sense of the word).