What are the ways to stop being arrogant?

Better than you? What is behind arrogance

Arrogant behavior is annoying - and ensures that we distance ourselves. Ragnhild Struss sheds light on why people are haughty, when we call someone arrogant, and how we can work on ourselves to be on an equal footing.

Everyone knows them: people whose demeanor makes us quickly judge “He * she is so arrogant!”. Whether in their private or professional life: people who report grandly about their successes, express themselves disparagingly about others or who simply seem “cold” in a diffuse way, leave us feeling uncomfortable. But what is actually behind arrogance - and what does it mean for us if we perceive other people as arrogant particularly often? Helpful tips support you in reducing your own arrogance and being able to deal better with that of others.

How we attach arrogance

According to the definition, arrogance - also arrogance, presumptuousness or arrogance - is one Habitus of people who consider their own worth to be exaggerated and who consider themselves to be something better. Typical behaviors that we perceive as arrogant are know-it-alls and the (non-benevolently formulated) pointing out the mistakes of others, subtle or even clear blaspheming and devaluing people, things or situations as well as obvious disinterest and very distant social behavior, such as a greeting to reciprocate or to keep a poker face in a personal conversation. Recklessness and selfishness are also often associated with arrogance.

It quickly becomes clear: whoever can be called arrogant and who only has a pronounced positive self-esteem is in the eye of the beholder. Because very few would describe themselves as arrogant, it is primarily about an assessment we make on someone else. Arrogance is therefore a subjectively attributed quality that results from our perception of a person in the context of our interaction with him or sometimes even only from our (first) impression “from a distance”.

What it says about you if you often get upset about arrogance

The question should not only be why people - depending on the subjective assessment from outside - behave arrogantly. Equally interesting is the consideration of what is going on inside the people who make this judgment. Because how we perceive something always says something about ourselves. If you often get very upset inside and think of many, “What an arrogant person!”, You should be more specific analyze to what extent the topic triggers you. A simple, obvious explanation would be that you may be a little insecure yourself - and the behavior of a supposedly self-confident person increases your insecurity or makes you feel that you are not good enough. Pay attention to whether you label a feeling of aloofness with arrogance. When we ascribe arrogance, we often only mean that a person cannot be assessed by us because he is holding back. "I can't read him * she, I don't know how he * she feels about me and that's why I find it difficult to trust this person." Would be what we really mean in such cases.

Find out exactly where your intense reaction to alleged arrogance comes from: Could it be that part of you feels envy towards the "arrogant" person? Or maybe you would like to be the center of attention more than you are telling yourself. Maybe you refuse - e.g. B. due to your upbringing - reject any form of self-expression and internally admonish yourself to always appear modest. In this case, it is understandable that arrogance collides with your convictions. Ask yourself: What exactly annoys me about this behavior? Do I think that's not how you should be? Why? If I am completely honest with myself: What do I secretly like about the "arrogant" person, what would I also like to have and what would I like to learn from her? By doing this, you are not only condemning, but also gain valuable knowledge about themselves and "your part" in the assessment. You can find out more about this topic in this article about so-called shadow components.

The following Tips help you in dealing with people who you perceive to be arrogant - because regardless of the reflection of the reasons, you will likely meet people from time to time with whom you feel uncomfortable:

  • Clarify your own strong reaction to it
    As made clear in the last few paragraphs, how you rate the behavior of others always has something to do with you. Understanding your reaction exactly will not only help you develop your personality, but also in specific relationship situations. Example: A good acquaintance rarely smiles lately when you talk to her. It seems arrogant to you, you feel rejected by it and you have the feeling that she is no longer really interested in you. On the one hand, this realization tells you that you need a lot of social affirmation (and should work on your own independent self-worth). Then again, she'll give you one Opportunity for growth in the relationship. You can clarify the issue by telling your friend, “You've been smiling less lately. I feel like I've done something wrong. Have I annoyed you with something, or does that have nothing to do with me? ”The acquaintance can now address what may actually be bothering you in your exchange, or she can take away your worries because in reality she is not up to date because of something completely different is in such a good mood or is possibly unsure of himself. Surprisingly often, we take behavior personally, which in fact has nothing to do with us.

  • Set yourself apart and don't let yourself be unsettled
    Whatever the reason that someone is prone to arrogance: Negative behavior such as gossiping and devaluing others can extend to bullying. Of course, in the event of acute psychological stress, you no longer have to show understanding for the arrogant person, but above all protect and defend yourself! Are z. For example, if the comments you make are annoying but not too malicious, it is best not to go into them at all. Because by paying attention to the arrogant person, he will only want to try all the more to rise above you. From a certain level of exposure - which you determine yourself - you should clearly delimit yourself: Calmly but clearly point out to the person that they should stop their negative behavior towards you. Often the arrogants, insecure inside, are so intimidated by such an announcement that they actually withdraw. And if that doesn't help, report the intolerable people to your line manager or the works council because of bullying. If you are dealing with someone in your private sphere, try to avoid them or break off contact altogether. You shouldn't have anyone in your life who makes you feel this bad!

Two truths behind the facade of "arrogant" people

We should be careful not to pass the judgment on “arrogance” too quickly, but first consider why someone might come across as that. Because it can very different reasons behind it. The arrogant demeanor of some people should convey radiant self-confidence, superiority and authority with full intention. In reality, they often suffer from pronounced inferiority complexes. The Arrogance as self-protection: Out of sheer fear of criticism and insults from outside that would shatter their fragile self-esteem, they present a polished, supposedly flawless facade - so that others admire them and don't even think of looking for any faults in them. At the same time, arrogant people talk themselves into being “something very special” in order to be able to indulge in the dream of their “ideal self” and to be able to suppress the “deficient reality”. Overcompensation, so to speak. In this respect, arrogant behavior is often related to narcissistic traits. Instead of real closeness and respect, however, such people tend to generate rejection in others, whereby the generated distance supposedly serves the arrogant person - in this way nobody can get too close and discover how insecure and "worthless" they really are. Sometimes such people also actively devalue others: They tear down other people's houses, so to speak, in order to have the biggest one themselves - instead of building on their own.

In many cases, however, the truth behind a supposedly haughty facade is completely different: Often other people are already taking it reserved, silent demeanor or the absence of friendly, non-verbal communication signals (like smiling or eye contact) true as arrogant. People who are perceived in this way neither see themselves as something better nor do they consciously want to distance themselves - they just are very introverted, shy, insecure or self-sufficient. If you find yourself in this description and want to appear less arrogant and more accessible, you should pay attention to your behavior in social situations: Do you make sure that you greet everyone present? Do you keep eye contact when someone tells you something? Do you smile and nod in agreement from time to time, or does your face stay serious all the time? Are you interested in asking other people, or are you mainly telling about yourself? By showing yourself more accommodating in social situations in facial expressions, conversations and general behavior, you will no longer be perceived as arrogant.

If you've already had the feedback that you seem arrogant or aloof, or if you secretly suspect that your behavior borders on arrogance at times, refrain from the following Tips for personal development to inspire:

  • Strengthen self-worth
    As described, the main problem with arrogant people is a low or fragile self-esteem. Those who like themselves have no reason to devalue others. But this is also the solution for the shy and arrogant, as a strong self-esteem helps them to be able to approach other people more easily. Therefore, both groups can get to the root of the problem by starting there: It is fundamental to develop a more loving look towards yourself! You can do this, for example, by focusing on what is really positive about you - not the artificially idealized version of yourself, but the characteristics of the real person, just as you are now! Focus on the traits you value in yourself. Also, be sure to speak to yourself in a benevolent way. Because between your soaring flights, your inner critic is sure to get you down more often. Finally, you should bring your envy under control by comparing yourself less (or at least more benevolently) to others. Often people behave arrogantly when they secretly perceive someone other than them to be superior. For more helpful tips on building your self-esteem, check out this article.
  • Questioning “arrogant” beliefs
    Beliefs like "I'm bad, but nobody should ever know that." Or "The world is full of failures - I'm better than them." mostly in childhood, developed. Perhaps a parent persuaded you that you were inferior while conveying the need to present yourself as successful and flawless in life. Or it was common practice in your family to portray yourself as something better or to want to feel better by negatively delimiting certain groups. Perhaps there was simply no intimate, genuinely close relationship between you and your caregivers, so that you did not experience a feeling of security and therefore developed strong self-insecurity. Try to find the source of your arrogant attitudes through your beliefs - and ask whether they are really useful to you today.

  • Behave constructively in social interaction
    This tip is also important for all groups - whether self-absorbed or insecure - because it can be used to transform your relationships in a sustainable way. A few points have already been mentioned above for the correct behavior in the exchange: Pay attention Kindness in your facial expressions and body language. Maintain eye contact while speaking, smile at the other person, and nod in agreement. Also, practice Active listening: Let the other person finish, summarize in your words how you understood your statement, or if in doubt, ask how something was meant. Also, ask open-ended questions that invite the other person to express yourself, e.g. B. “What do you think of the implementation of the project?” Or “How are you coping with the current crisis?”. Relationships thrive through too mutual appreciation and gratitude. So express when you are excited about something someone else has done, or when you admire them for something. Share your appreciation and compliments - this also effectively removes feelings of envy. After all, positive social behavior also includes that taking responsibility: Admit your mistakes, sincerely apologize and try to make the best of them. At the same time, you can stand by your weaknesses and ask others for help from time to time. Not always being strong, independent and supposedly perfect, but showing yourself human and "with flaws" makes you much more accessible and tangible for others.


Arrogance is always a question of perspective. Uncertainties on both sides very often play a role - that of the arrogant behavior as well as that of the person who makes this assessment. Then arrogance is often a word, what simply the misunderstood distance between two people describes. Therefore, apart from malicious bullying, in most cases Understanding and compassion are the keys. Namely for yourself and your own flaws, if you behave arrogantly yourself or rashly describe others as arrogant, as well as with the arrogant behavior of others who try to protect themselves in such a clumsy way. “Arrogance” is ultimately always a cry for help. Try to meet someone who appears arrogant at first glance in an open, friendly and appreciative manner. This often works wonders to nip the mutual domino effect of uncertainty and demarcation in the bud - and to create space for benevolent, authentic exchange.

The most important basis for professional success and personal satisfaction is a lifestyle that is in harmony with your personality. Knowing them is the first step. With our free Trial test we offer you the opportunity to walk it and get a first glimpse of yourself.