Arrogance vs. Confidence

by DRM2


In my vernacular there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Even though that line is so thin, or in some case completely blurry, it’s amazing to me how differently I react to those characteristics. I do not like arrogance; I can’t stand being around arrogant people. I don’t think I’m openly rude about it, but it’s hard for me to hide my dislike. On the other hand, I am very much attracted to confidence. I work better with confident people. I can relate to confident people, and most importantly I really love being around confident people.

This in itself is not news to me, or you. We’re probably all like that. However, it really struck me recently as I interviewed with many new people. When I interviewed with arrogant people, I bombed. Even when I was dead set on having a job that I really wanted, I hesitated when my interviewer was arrogant. When interviewing with someone who showed confidence, I did great, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

My question is, what makes up that very fine line between the two? Am I arrogant? I feel that I’m rather confident as a person, but am I really arrogant? Time to look at Webster…


ar·ro·gance [er-ə-gən(t)s]

: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

con·fi·dence [kän-fə-dən(t)s]

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

ar·ro·gance [ar-uh-guh ns]

: offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

confidence [kon-fi-duh ns]

: belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.

When reading the actual definitions of the two words there are two things that stand out to me: one, confidence seems to have a underdog notion—the perception of someone stepping up to a challenge. Everyone loves a good underdog story. The second thing that really stood out to me was in the definition provided by Marriam-Webster. The idea of arrogance leading to “presumptuous claims or assumptions,” I believe this is what really sets me off. The thought of someone assuming they know my intentions, abilities or attitude is not something I respond to, even if they’re right.

In the end, the old adage stands true: those who assume are are often an ass. I’ll let you know if I see this idea shows itself more often now that I have an idea of what to look for.


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