How To Be Confident Without Looking Like An Arrogant A-hole

(The subtle difference between confidence and arrogance)

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.” Lao Tzu

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Not only that the line is thin, but it’s also blurry. It’s easy to be labeled as arrogant by others if we ourselves can’t tell the difference.

Even though it’s true that other people’s opinion of you doesn’t have to be your reality, it’s also true that it doesn’t hurt to put in a little effort to show them your true nature.

The one that shows confidence, rather than the one that screams arrogance.

As you will read in this article, arrogant people are driven by their insecurities and as a result, their perception of the world around them has a lot of blind spots.

Now, without further ado, let’s see some of the main differences between confidence and arrogance and what you should be aware of when interacting with other people.

The list is not in any ascending or descending order. Everything is equally important and it should provide a solid foundation for your confident personality.

1. Walk The Talk

‘’It’s not bragging if you can back it up.’’ Muhammad Ali

The arrogant person will jump at the first opportunity to brag about what he does or what makes him an expert in XYZ topic. While there’s nothing wrong with being aware of your accomplishments and results, a confident person always backs the claim with real and tangible results.

Mohamed Ali was one of the most outspoken people in the history of sports.

Without a doubt, he was the best self-promoter of his era. Many would consider him the biggest trash talker ever, but no one could dispute his talent and achievements.

Part of his charisma and personality was to make ridiculous claims, but he would always back them up when it mattered the most.

While you shouldn’t try to imitate Ali’s personality, when you find yourself in any social interaction, back up your statements with prior results, not a fabricated story.

If you are exceptionally good at something, don’t tell others about it. Show them.

Better yet, teach them.

2. Share The Spotlight

‘’As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’’- Nelson Mandela

The fastest way to spot an arrogant person in a social interaction is to pay attention to the way he treats others. Arrogance comes from a deep sense of insecurity and it’s something that they can’t hide.

When having a conversation with others, an arrogant person will do everything he can to make himself look good by putting down people around him. An arrogant individual simply can’t appreciate the success of others, and in a way, he feels threatened by it.

He will try to find a flaw in every story someone else shares by calling them out or offering his unique perspective, even though no one asked him to do it. He just feels that he has to be the center of attention at all times.

A confident person, on the other hand, doesn’t feel the need to be in the spotlight all the time. He will gladly share the spotlight with everyone involved in a conversation. He feels that he has nothing to prove to anybody and knows that he doesn’t have to be the life of every party.

Whenever you talk with others and you want to project confidence rather than arrogance, do the following:

Make sure to show the same level of excitement when listening to other people’s stories, as you would by telling your own. Be curious and appreciate them for sharing a personal story or a life lesson with you and everyone else present at that interaction.

3. Stand Up For Your Beliefs (But be willing to question them)

‘’Do not get angry because others question what you believe, be calm and loving, for anger is the root of a faulty belief.’’ - Leon Brown

Knowing yourself is the biggest problem for most of us. For many, it will remain the mystery until the end of their lives.

People who derive confidence from knowing their self-worth and their strong internal beliefs will stand up for those beliefs. Confident people will be more than willing to talk about their beliefs, but also to listen to the others who might question them.

A genuinely confident person is aware that there might be a blind spot that’s preventing him to see the bigger picture.

On the other side, an arrogant person will defend his beliefs and ideas by yelling, or even making a scene when questioned. Not to mention that we can easily spot the arrogance in someone when that person is trying his best to impose his ideas or views to others.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel annoyed or even criticized by others for your view and opinion on a particular topic, remember to keep your cool.

Instead of feeling pissed off or offended, try to win the argument over with facts and logic rather than aggression and violence.

If you can’t do that, maybe your beliefs are not as strong as you thought they were.

4. Be Vulnerable

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ― Brené Brown

I wrote about the power of vulnerability and how it makes you more trustworthy. Unfortunately, the concept of vulnerability is often mixed with emotional instability. Worse than that, many are trying so hard to be vulnerable to gain sympathy from others.

Vulnerability is a term that simply doesn’t exist in a dictionary of arrogant people. For them, it’s a sign of weakness.

You will never hear an arrogant person talk about his insecurities or admitting the mistakes he made. He has a blind spot for anything that can make him look less superior than others.

Confident people, on the other hand, are willing to open up and talk about their struggles if that can help anyone around them. They know that each mistake they made in the past was a learning experience and just another stepping stone to success.

Think about the lessons life taught you the hard way. It can be a bad breakup, a failed business or a death of someone close to you. If you haven’t done that already, try to look at those events as a learning experience that shaped you into a person who you are today.

The next time you find yourself in a social interaction and you know someone can benefit from those lessons, open up to them and share your experience. You will inspire others to do the same.

More importantly, you will inspire them to take action.

5. Don’t Look For Validation

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are. What others say is irrelevant.” ― Nic Sheff

As I mentioned already, arrogance screams the need for validation because it comes from a deep sense of insecurity. An arrogant person is the one who demands attention. More than that he feels the need to be loved and admired by everyone.

At the first notion of opposition from someone, he will reveal his authentic character.

An arrogant person will become defensive and usually aggressive towards anyone who disagrees with his views or ideas. Again, because he measures his self-worth by external validation.

While confident people don’t ask for a validation, they appreciate the external acknowledgment. That acknowledgment can be in a form of a praise or even critique. They know that a critique can be the best way to learn and improve. At the same time, their confidence won’t be shaken when someone doesn’t like them or appreciate their work.

Highly confident people know that someone’s opinion of them is not their reality.

Don’t ever lose your sleep over a hater.

6. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

“No man is an island, entire of itself.” ― John Donne

One thing that separates arrogance from confidence is a perception.

You will never hear an arrogant person giving credit to others. Even when he talks about achievements that required a team effort.

If you pay close attention to the stories the arrogant tells, you will notice that the narrative is always the same.

• ‘’ME against everyone else’’
• ‘’I was right and they were wrong’’
• “The only person who could have done it is MYSELF’’

On the other side of the spectrum is a person who knows that every success he had couldn’t be achieved without the support of others. Their team, friends, and family, or a loved one.

When talking about the success, the stories that a confident person tells usually send the following message:

• ‘’WE did it’’
• ‘’I couldn’t do it without the support’’
• “If I did it, so can YOU’’

Anytime you find yourself telling the story about your success, make sure to acknowledge everyone who helped you achieve it. Even if those people are not present when you talk about them.


As you can tell by now, genuine self-confidence goes beyond your physical appearance, body language or a way you speak to others.

Developing that deep-rooted confidence takes time and practice.

However, the first step is the awareness that the confidence comes from knowing who you are and how the experiences you had shaped you into the person you are today. More precisely, how you choose and allow your life experiences to shape you.

‘’Fake it till you make it and take over the world’’ attitude is the fastest route to the land of the arrogant. Before you know it, you will get there. Once you do, you’ll notice that you are all alone.

There is no taking over the world BS.

You can only make it better by playing along with others. Build bridges on your way to the top and help others get there, too. Sure, not everyone you meet on your journey is going to like you, but that’s ok.

This is the philosophy of the confident people. Everything they say and do is just a reflection of that inner belief.

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