5 Ways to Handle Arrogant People

The Know-It-All

We all have that person in our lives who knows more than everyone else about every possible topic. They’re arrogant, infuriating, and irritating. They can make us angry, drive us crazy, and sometimes even reach their true goal of making us feel like idiots so that they feel smarter.

The arrogance of some people makes even their virtues appear vices. – Bouhours

They’re easy to pick out in a crowd.

  • Their conversations are about themselves.
  • They don’t like for anyone else to be the center of attention.
  • They brag, boast, and dismiss other people’s stories and ideas.
  • They know more about any topic than anyone else.
  • They frequently interrupt.
  • They put other people down, make fun, and joke at the expense of others.
  • They try to be around people of high status.
  • They find it ridiculously hard to admit to being wrong.
  • They don’t understand complexity and prefer black and white situations.

Generally speaking, these people have much less experience than they pretend to and assume a lot but know very little.

The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. – Albert Einstein

The interesting thing that I’ve learned about these people is that they are often quite insecure. It may seem hard to believe but it’s true.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.

The truth is that they talk about themselves and brag (endlessly) because they feel the need to show how important they are. They fear being insignificant or unimportant.

Of course, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. There are those people who truly are simply so full of themselves that they can’t see, or hear, anything else. They are, however, in the minority.

Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair. – Thomas Faranda

Sadly, regardless of the reason they act so arrogantly, we still have to deal with them. Here are tips for handling them… and having a little fun along the way.

  1. Change the topic. Arrogant people try to keep conversations on topics that they are comfortable with. Each time they start dominating the conversation, change the topic and throw them off balance.
  2. Avoid interaction. The arrogant person’s tactics work best with an active audience. Don’t give them one.
    • Smile a lot. Say little. Do not get drawn in.
    • Laugh loudly at an inappropriate moment then change the subject while they’re confused.
  3. Feed the Fire. Pretend you don’t understand something simple and watch them swoop in and prove their superiority. They’re too self-centered to catch on but everyone else will.
  4. Call Them Out. The next time they interrupt you or take over, take a page from your teenager’s playbook. Look them in the eye and say, “Really?” in a tone of disbelief. Practice in the mirror if you need to. The look on their face will be worth it.
  5. When all else fails, take mental notes so you can laugh about it with your friends later.

Whatever you do, don’t lose it. Remain calm. Smile. Use your manners. You don’t want to look like the bad person but you do want it to be clear that you don’t tolerate fools. Give yourself a high-five for not getting sucked in to their spirit-robbing ways and your intelligence in out-witting them. And remember:

An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person. – Leo Tolstoy

Have a tip to add or a funny story to share? We could use a good laugh… share it in the comments! Find this interesting or know someone who needs to read it? Please share it! And – find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If we can help you communicate with your audience or grow your business, we’d love to help. We promise not to brag.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group





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