Arrogant people can be tiresome to talk to. They tend to think they know it all, have seen it all, have done it all.
When you bring up a story, they will usually have their own story about how they did something bigger or better.
Their lack of self-awareness could almost be comical if it weren’t so sad and frustrating. They often can’t see just how ridiculous their claims are.
But arrogance is typically not something that comes from maliciousness. It often comes from problems with self-esteem and self-worth.
The person may have a difficult time feeling okay with themselves, so they construct this reality around them that proves they are worthy to themselves. That may stem from a deeper place, like a parent that made them feel worthless or unworthy of love.
And even though arrogant people can be annoying or destructive, it’s good to try to remember the human when interacting with them.
That doesn’t mean you need to tolerate bad behavior or abuse, but to be kind, if possible. They probably need it.
Here are some tips for dealing with an arrogant person.
1. Make sure your self-confidence is intact.
The best defense against an arrogant person is self-confidence. Your sense of self-worth is how you can let their petty attacks or attempts to undermine you slide off your back.
An arrogant person may lie behind your back and try to spread rumors about you to mutual acquaintances, but if your acquaintances know you to be a confident and secure person, then they will likely not believe it.
They may try to throw subtle digs at you or get under your skin, but if you know these aren’t truths, then they just become a mere annoyance more than anything. Boredom is an excellent reply to this kind of subtle digging.
2. Practice your tolerance and diplomacy skills.
An arrogant person may do their best to push your buttons and try to get under your skin. The best way to handle this is with friendliness and diplomacy.
This will typically throw the person off their own game because they are looking for a specific reaction of hostility out of you. If you do react with hostility and anger, what comes next is usually a display of feigned offense or hurt. They may use your anger as a means to paint themselves as the victim so they can look good and maintain their facade.
Responding diplomatically strips them of that leverage. You’ll need to maintain a calm, if not friendly demeanor. Then you start asking questions and looking for the facts about the situation. You can use language like:
“Is that the way it happened? Because from my perspective, X occurred, and then Y followed it.”
“No, that’s not how that happened. X and Y did the thing, and then Z showed up after.”
3. Don’t bother calling them out unless you must or want an argument.
Arrogant people often have problems with their self-worth, so they construct this fictional reality around themselves to convince themselves they are better than they are.
Knowing this is important because when you push up against that reality or try to test it, you will usually evoke an angry response.
There are times when they may just be lying or manipulating to further their goals, or those lies are serving the greater narrative of their lie.
Calling out every lie is going to get really exhausting, really quickly. Also, it can backfire if your reasoning isn’t sound. You may just end up looking like you’re attacking the person, especially if they are a skilled manipulator and have other people convinced of their lies.
But sometimes that conflict needs to happen because they are doing something that can harm you or your life. In that scenario, be ready for an argument that goes in circles or nowhere in particular.
They may act shocked or offended about an accusation as a means to try to reassert control over the situation. They may also just try changing the subject when they get called out.
The best way to proceed will differ from situation to situation. Sometimes it’s best to back off and let them retreat if that’s what they choose.
4. Limit the information that you share with them.
The information that you share with an arrogant person will likely become ammunition later. They may use it, twist it, or downright lie about it as a means to control a narrative and, of course, make themselves look good.
The best way to avoid that is by limiting the amount of information that you give to them. Keep your conversation with them surface level and polite. Don’t go past general pleasantries or engage with questionable comments.
They want you to be involved so they can better identify your strengths and weaknesses. They want to know if you will be someone that will believe their lies so they can use you as a means of fueling their fantasy and narrative. You can cut that off entirely by not engaging on a deep level.
5. Change the topic of the conversation.
An arrogant person will often try to dominate a conversation to help fuel the perception of reality they have created for themselves.
The way to deal with this is to shift the conversation at a natural endpoint to a different topic altogether. This will usually knock the arrogant person out of their rhythm and create some space to limit their influence on the conversation.
Don’t be surprised if they have stories and anecdotes for the new topic of conversation, though. They are likely to just make things up so they can continue feeding their need to be the center of attention or making themselves look good.
6. Disengage and create space with the person.
The most effective means of dealing with an arrogant person is to not deal with them at all.
Must you deal with this person? Is there any way that you can avoid dealing with this person? If they are just a random person that you meet, then it’s easy enough to just not talk to them again.
The problem is a bit more complicated when it’s a family member or someone you have to work with. In that scenario, the best thing to do is to keep it locked to business as much as possible.
Focus on getting done what you need to get done and then getting back to your own life and responsibilities. Don’t make idle chit-chat or talk about your life. Just stay focused on the matter at hand.
In the workplace, document everything that you can. Try not to have verbal communications with the person about whatever you’re working on. Instead, do it through email, so you have a written record as evidence should they try to throw you under the bus or take credit for your work.
This is just a good practice in general, even with people who aren’t arrogant. People are forgetful.
7. Be honest and enforce your boundaries.
All politeness and distance aside, sometimes you just have to be forthcoming to establish and enforce your boundaries.
If you’re okay with the conflict, it might be best to just inform the person that you feel they are acting arrogant and that you don’t appreciate it.
That can have later repercussions if the person does turn out to be a liar or manipulator, though. They will definitely see you as an enemy and may either avoid you or actively work against you.
The working against you is the difficult part. If you work together, they may bend the ear of their friends or management about how you’re not doing your job or carrying your weight. You may never know they are whispering against you until it fully hits you in the face.
An arrogant person in your friends or family circle can do similar damage if your friends and family decide to take their side. So, pick your battles carefully. You’re the one that will need to deal with the repercussions if they choose to go on the offensive to protect the bubble they’ve built around themselves.
You may also like:
- 9 Signs Of An Arrogant Person
- How To Not Be Arrogant (And How Confidence Is Different)
- How To Deal With Bragging Friends / Relatives (+ Why People Brag)
- 13 Reasons Why People Put Others Down (+ How To Deal With Them)
- Why Some People Never Apologize Or Admit They Are Wrong (And How To Deal With Them)
- How To Deal With Emotionally Unintelligent People
- 9 Ways To Shut Down The Obnoxious Know-it-alls In Your Life