Confidence vs Arrogance

confidence vs arrogance
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   What is the difference between these two? I would say that ego at first, but is that all? How can a confident person show confidence without being interpreted as arrogant?

   Since I mentioned ego, I’d like to deep dive in this. In my opinion, a confident person knows his/hers limitations and this will allow that person to express the knowledge based on facts. An arrogant person wants to be always right, even when it’s not the case. An arrogant person will always try to find a way to look good even when it’s not the case. An arrogant person believes he/she is the center of the universe and that everybody has to act based on that, whilst a confident person masters his/her life without the expectance that people will act as if he/she is the most important person of this earth.

   Confidence comes from inner strength which enables that person to be the best thanks to the work and effort invested, whilst arrogance comes from the desire to be seen the best without any effort involved. An arrogant person will believe that the own existence is a gift for humanity and it should be enough for him/her to be seen as the king of the world, whilst a confident person will work his/her ass off to become the king of the world because he/she knows that the tools are within and that work will get thing done.

   “Why is this distinction important?” I believe it’s important because we can realize if an advice/opinion/feedback is worth paying attention to it. When a confident person gives feedback, it’s probably based on some facts, whilst if an arrogant person gives feedback, it will probably be in such a way that will make him/her feel good and superior. A confident person’s feedback can be constructive whilst an arrogant person’s feedback will probably be full of ego.

   Based on your experience, how easy is to distinguish between the two?

46 thoughts on “Confidence vs Arrogance

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      1. Confident people are smart enough to take constructive criticism and learn from it. Egotistical people will argue with you and the wall behind you on why their way is the only way. Even if you’ve shown otherwise. Confidence means knowing and accepting you have flaws, like everyone else. Ego comes across as those who constantly judge others. Wether it’s while they’re driving, walking, watching television-they always have negative to say about the others.

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  1. It is not so easy to distinguish because it depends on the delivery of the criticism, as ones emotional receptivity will be influenced by a variety of asinine factors they may have encountered over the day. When one feels weak inside, they may see any broach as an attack and may likely lash out as an instinctive defence mechanism.
    Tact is critical. Knowing to whom you are speaking, and how they may best be receptive to the message you wish to convey.

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  2. I’ve mistaken arrogance for self confidence in the past. I think they key is that a self confident person will accept constructive criticism with grace, or a “I never thought about it that way” – where an arrogant person will flip out. Some of it is just watching how a person interacts with others as well. If they are self confident, they are comfortable in assisting others. The arrogant aren’t, as if it drained their “awesomeness”.

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  3. “When a confident person gives feedback, it’s probably based on some facts, whilst if an arrogant person gives feedback, it will probably be in such a way that will make him/her feel good and superior.” — well put!

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  4. I would argue that when giving feedback, most people would think they are doing it from a good place.

    I find that if someone prefaces feedback with “if it was me…” or something similar it usually means its ego driven because they want to believe their way is the right way.

    “Did you consider…” is usually a good way to address any percieved gaps in logic.

    Personally I wont (or no longer) provide feedback unless I feel that I will add to someones understanding rather than find or point out flaws

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  5. Tone of the arrogant person is easy to identify. But in some cases, people can be bossy and show arrogant with soft tones too.
    Another angle is our perception on the person. Certain things told by one person may not look arrogant to us, but by different person we may get feel their arrogance.

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    1. True! I didn’t wrote about the perspective of the viewer, so thank you very much for pointing this out! It seems that every aspect comes down to how we perceive others, not only to how those “others” are.

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  6. I have to refer to my martial arts training to answer this one… The various schools I went to and all the books I read on training and philosophy of martial arts all had the same answer, just worded a bit differently. A master doesn’t need to brag, strut or act menacingly. They have confidence enough in their abilities to have nothing to prove.

    Visible arrogance comes from either narcissism or inner feelings of inferiority and self doubt/hate.

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  7. You can be arrogant and confident.
    An arrogant person lacks the ability/ desire to empathise in a given situation. It will lead them to ignore/ undervalue the feelings and opinions of others because they simply do not see (or want to see) how those feelings and opinions might matter.
    An intelligent arrogant person may objectively be right most of the time- they would rightly have confidence in their own intelligence but it would be the lack of empathy and not the intelligence that makes them an arsehole.
    Unsolicited advice
    Ignoring opinions of others
    Assuming other people will clear up after them because whatever they have to do next is clearly more important than what anyone else needs to do.

    Basically disrespectful

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      1. Yes I think so, but it must be authentic.
        It’s not enough just to understand how someone feels- it must actually matter.
        There is an arrogant person in my life who makes this ‘joke’ (it’s not really a joke because it is too real)
        “I have no problem with hierarchy as long as I am at the top”.
        Perfectly able to understand the difficulties that come with being at the bottom of the heap but it’s like the people down there don’t actually matter.
        So I guess arrogance is an inbuilt assumption that you actually are worth more than other people and not caring who knows it.
        Often now I hear the phrase ‘sense of entitlement’ being used (largely in relation to privileged males in capitalist patriarchal cultures). That – that is arrogance epitomised.

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      2. And they can own mistakes sometimes- they can be magnanimous enough to ‘let’ you be right occasionally as long as it doesn’t interfere with the basic power dynamic (ie as long as they retain overall superiority- whatever that means for them)

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  8. Totally agree with the summation that confident people have facts and experiences backing up their assertions!
    in my childhood we had an expression that is no longer used. we said to any classmates or others who were getting arrogant— ‘who died and made YOU God?’ Or, ‘who do you think you are; God?’
    In other words: if someone is acting like God, center of the universe, all knowing and being, capable of knowing or doing things only God is, I believe they are arrogant. Confident people leave room for God, and other people, to do their thing too.

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