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Three Type of Arrogance


Explanations > Relationships > Three Type of Arrogance

Belief arrogance | Crowing arrogance | Perceived arrogance | So what?


Arrogance can be viewed as appearing in three forms: belief, crowing and perceived, each of which is quite different.

Belief arrogance

Belief arrogance comes before a person is agreed as being right. They are arrogant because they believe they are right. They may even still believe they are right after they are proven wrong. This is often based either on excessive self-confidence or as a cover-up for a lack of self-confidence.

In practice, belief arrogance can be quite persuasive as we fear that a confident person may know more than us. It is also natural to be confident in what we believe, although it also makes sense to be open to having beliefs changed through evidence and reason.

Crowing arrogance

Crowing arrogance is that which people display when they are agreed as right and use this opportunity to denounce those proven wrong and push their own social status upwards.

People who crow at others are effectively attacking them in a moment when they are vulnerable. This can lose the crowing person social capital as others (and especially the person attacked) view this as an unfair and unkind act, and consequently downgrade the person's social status.

Perceived arrogance

Perceived arrogance occurs where a person is seen as being arrogant while in fact they are actually not feeling arrogant. When we have been proven wrong, we feel our own social status sinking. To try and rescue this, we take a pot-shot at the person who has been proven right, to bring them down a bit too and redress the social balance. We often dislike feeling wrong and may use this attribution of arrogance as a means of shoring up our discomfort, even to the point of believing our own rhetoric.

So what?

So be self-aware about the arrogance you may be feeling and displaying. You can use Belief arrogance to project confidence and so convince others, but beware of over-doing this when it could lead to others denouncing you for being too arrogant.

Avoid crowing. Be generous when you win an argument. When others crow, think carefully about what to do. Attacking back or saying nothing can be unhelpful. A simple response is to say something like 'That wasn't very kind'.

When others win, beware of reactively thinking of them as arrogant. Let them be pleased with their victory. Be generous. A simple thing to say is something like 'You're right. Thanks, I didn't realize that'. When you win an argument, beware of others perceiving you as arrogant. Generosity here can help short-circuit such attribution as they find difficulty in calling a person arrogant who is being so kind to them.

See also

Vulnerability and Values, Beliefs, Attribution Theory


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