How to Cope With Arrogant People

Group of friends getting lunch together.
Group of friends getting lunch together. (Image: Allan Danahar/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you let them, arrogant people can really push your buttons. Although they might appear to be self-confident -- even genuine -- they are quite the opposite. Arrogant people are terribly insecure individuals who perceive themselves as being inferior to everyone else, but portray themselves as superior. A mostly unconscious defense mechanism, acting as if they're better than others shields a fragile ego structure. In fact, many of these individuals lack self-awareness and have been deeply hurt at some point -- usually very early -- in their lives. To cope with them, take this information into account.

Know Yourself

Arrogant people are condescending know-it-alls. They smell fear, seeking out the weak and defenseless. They are drawn to -- and thrive on -- mistreating people who are visibly insecure, passive in nature and seem to be "too attached" to what others think. Ask yourself if you could be inviting this treatment. If an emotional release, closeness or a greater connection to others is what you desire, talk to a caring and supportive friend or a professional, but never look to an arrogant person for validation.

Be More Assertive

Confidently -- rather than defensively -- interact with these individuals. Assert your own interests. However, when asserting yourself, be respectful, patient and most of all, remain calm. These individuals can be bullies, so debating them is ill-advised. Instead, slow down -- before saying something regrettable -- and listen to his point of view. Additionally, have a rehearsed and neutral response at your disposal such as "I can see why you would feel that way," recommends clinical psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher, in the article "Controlling Anger Before It Controls You," published on the American Psychological Association's website.

Embrace Their Arrogance

People who are arrogant want approval and fear rejection. They have a need to be heard and understood. It may seem counterintuitive -- but maintaining a warm and friendly demeanor may disarm and relax such individuals. Try being tolerant and compassionate of these self-absorbed people, suggests clinical psychologist Roya R. Rad, in her article "How to Deal With Self-Centered People," which appeared online in the Huffington Post's Healthy Living section. She adds that arrogant individuals require more understanding due to the internal deficits underlying their behavior.

Avoid Them

Arrogant people can be "energy vampires," according to Rad, taking the fun out of life. However, they cannot generate this negativity and cynicism in the environment when people are simply too busy, or not around. Similarly, if someone offers a minimal response, "Mhhm," "Ah, I see" or "Okay, I'll take care of that," these individuals are not validated and will look to someone else for "ego-fuel." A word of caution: Avoidance as a coping mechanism can be healthy in small amounts, but too much avoidance is unhealthy, especially when it results in not dealing directly with a problem.

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