It's amazing when you get to the point where you feel proud and confident in yourself, and it's common to begin acting differently once you've found your stride. And with that confidence often comes the liberating feeling of being happy with yourself, and your choices, free of caring too much of what others think. That being said, it's a good idea to keep in mind the difference between confidence and arrogance. Often confidence is a feeling we have about ourselves, while arrogance can be a way of trying to make yourself feel better by belittling others.
"Confidence is a manifestation of belief in one’s abilities while also having an openness towards and recognition of the gifts and abilities in others," psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC tells Bustle. "In contrast, arrogance is an aggressive posturing in which someone tries to project self-assurance and confidence. However, arrogant people often suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth."
Feeling confidence is definitely something you should be proud of, and you shouldn't feel like you have to underscore how awesome you are. But you also don't want to make other people feel bad in the process, which is why it's important to make sure you don't cross the line. Here are seven subtle signs that you might be coming off as arrogant rather than confident, according to experts.
1. You Ignore Other People's Opinions
You might feel secure in your choices and ideas, but if you don't give other people's thoughts the time of day, it might come off as arrogant. "People who are arrogant do not consider opinions different from their own to be important, and if someone disagrees with them, they see it as disrespect or an attack," psychologist Inna Khazan, PhD tells Bustle. "Confident people, on the other hand, are not afraid to hear and discuss different opinions." When having a discussion with someone, it's always a good idea to listen as much as you speak — not only will it show people you're interested in what they have to say, but it also shows you are assured enough in your own opinions to hear other schools of thought.
2. You Don't Give Credit To Others
It's OK to take pride in your accomplishments, but you want to make sure you recognize everyone else's role as well. "Confident people do not hesitate to give credit to others when appropriate, and they do not feel diminished when acknowledging other people's accomplishments and praising them," says Khazan. Someone else's achievements do not take away from yours, so always be sure to give credit where credit is due.
3. You Talk Over Others
Once again, to show your confidence, listening is key. "Arrogant people interrupt and dominate conversions," says Khazan. "Confident people let others speak. Arrogant people may start a side conversation in a group when others are speaking. Confident people listen respectfully." Often this need to talk over others can stem from a need to feel heard and find validation for your thoughts. But by sharing the floor with others, you are displaying a confidence in your own thoughts that doesn't need outside validation.
4. Your Relationships Feel Superficial
People are attracted to confidence, but arrogance makes it difficult to have meaningful partnerships, often because this self-centeredness is accompanied by the need to belittle people. "It may be that because of your actions and your demeanor, people think you are not as interested in them or not as easy to relate to compared to others," psychologist Marni Amsellem, Ph.D tells Bustle. Confidence often means having the ability to be vulnerable and let people in, and by feeling assured enough to open up to someone, you'll likely have more meaningful relationships.
5. You Can't Accept Feedback
Confident people are willing to take constructive criticism, as they are secure in themselves and know they can always improve. "They don't always have to prove they're right, they are flexible, and they don't feel the need to demand things be done their way," Jennifer Sweeton, Psy.D., M.S., M.A. tells Bustle. "Arrogant individuals, however, have a hard time accepting feedback and take a 'my way or the highway' approach to life." If you find yourself doing the latter, take a step back and reevaluate your response to feedback. At the end of the day, those giving you feedback often have your best interest in mind, so take their comments in stride.
6. You Worry What People Think About You
Confident people don't require constant validation from others. "Confidence is acting warmly and friendly towards others while not overly worrying about how you will be received and telling others how great ... they are also," psychotherapist Laurel Steinberg, PhD tells Bustle.
7. You Feel Frustrated When Things Don't Go Your Way
Confidence is usually something that lends itself to positive moods, and confident people generally demonstrate a relatively positive outlook on life. "Arrogance, however, due to its foundation in insecurity and dependence on external validation, is fear-based, and lends itself to more difficult emotions such as anxiety frustration and rage," psychotherapist Rebecca Clegg tells Bustle. "When life does not go the way an arrogant person wants it to, these emotions become evident, and there is a tendency to blame others or circumstances rather than look at the role they played in the situation."
Although even the most confident people may seek validation from time to time, or feel insecure in certain situations, it's important to remember the the distinction between confidence and arrogance. When expressing your confidence to the world, make sure you aren't bringing down others in the process — your self-assuredness is your own, and no one can give it to you, or take it away.