12 behaviors that make you seem arrogant (and what to do instead)

In a world where first impressions can make or break relationships, both personal and professional, it’s crucial to be aware of the subtle cues that might be sending the wrong message.

Arrogance is a trait that can quickly alienate you from others and sabotage your chances of forming meaningful connections.

In this article, we’ll delve into 12 behaviors that can make you seem arrogant, even if that’s not your intention.

With each behavior, we’ll also provide actionable alternatives to help you project a more approachable and humble persona.

So, let’s embark on a journey of self-awareness and learn how to avoid the pitfalls of arrogance while fostering genuine, positive connections with those around us.

1) Failing to Maintain Eye Contact

Avoiding eye contact can have various underlying reasons, but regardless, it often comes across as arrogance.

When you don’t engage in eye contact during a conversation, it can give the impression that you’re disinterested or feel superior to the other person.

To improve, make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact while talking with others.

Strive for a balance that is both natural and respectful.

The “triangle technique” can help – simply look at one eye, then the other, and finally the mouth.

With practice, you’ll find it easier to focus on the other person and what they’re saying.

2) Excessive Bragging

Bragging can create the impression that you’re full of yourself, seeking validation through others’ admiration of your achievements.

While it’s healthy to be proud of your accomplishments, boasting comes across as arrogant.

Instead, practice humility by listening and celebrating the achievements of others.

Being humble doesn’t mean downplaying your accomplishments, but rather presenting them in a way that doesn’t demand praise.

Remain modest and be mindful of timing – there are appropriate moments to share your successes, like in a job interview or when a friend inquires, but avoid making it the central focus of a conversation.

3) Exhibiting Rude Behavior

Rude behaviors, such as interrupting, making derogatory comments, or belittling others, can cause people to perceive you as condescending.

Being the reason someone feels bad about themselves is not a desirable outcome, whether intentional or not.

To avoid this, practice empathy by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes before making comments or reacting.

Developing empathetic communication skills will help you avoid coming across as arrogant.

Remember, we all make mistakes, so apologize when necessary and leave arrogance behind.

4) You Never Listen

When people notice that you aren’t actively listening to them, they might perceive you as arrogant and that you think your thoughts and opinions matter more than theirs.

Active listening entails fully concentrating on what the speaker is saying, without interruptions, distractions, or mental preparations for your reply. Be completely attentive.

I have to admit – I used to be a bad listener. Aside from only caring about getting my point across, I didn’t exactly have the longest attention span.

One way I changed this behavior was by asking open-ended questions. Instead of simply responding with my own opinions and unsolicited advice, I made the effort to unpack the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

This would, in turn, make them feel heard and respected.

5) Acting Like a Know-it-all

Believing you know everything is a classic sign of arrogance. In truth, nobody knows everything, and embracing a lifelong learning mindset can foster humility and open-mindedness.

Make a conscious effort to learn from others, regardless of their age, background, or experience, because everyone has something valuable to offer.

Cultivate curiosity, ask questions, and seek constructive criticism.

Remember, there will always be someone more knowledgeable about a specific topic or field.

This approach not only helps you avoid seeming arrogant but also encourages deeper, more meaningful conversations.

6) Refusing to Take Accountability

Failing to take accountability suggests that you believe you’re infallible, immune to the mistakes that plague mere mortals.

Embrace your humanity and own up to your mistakes; others will appreciate your honesty and efforts to make amends.

Too often in the workplace, we hear stories of co-workers dodging responsibility and shifting blame. Don’t be that person.

Rather, channel your energy into cultivating a workplace that thrives on teamwork and embraces the uplifting power of camaraderie.

7) Craving the Spotlight

Constantly seeking the spotlight can make you appear arrogant. Even if you have strong narcissistic tendencies, learn to appreciate moments when you’re not the center of attention.

Sharing the spotlight or stepping aside completely allows others to feel the same attention and validation you desire.

Pay close attention to group conversation dynamics and ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.

If someone is left out or struggling to join in, invite them to share their thoughts. This demonstrates that you’re not self-absorbed and makes the other person feel valued and heard.

8) You Pull Others Down

Pulling others down in an attempt to elevate yourself can not only make you appear arrogant but can also harm your relationships – which I doubt is something you want to happen.

You don’t want to be busy being lifted by praises that you forget that you’ve let someone else drown in self-doubt and insecurities.

As mentioned, always consider how your words and actions may affect others.

Be generous with your compliments. Celebrate the achievements, skills, and ideas of those around you.

If you want to express disagreement or provide feedback, do so in a constructive and respectful manner.

Skip the severity; after all, I’m a firm believer that what goes around, comes around with a touch of cosmic justice.

9) You Lie a Lot

No one likes a liar. When you lie frequently, you can easily appear arrogant because you’re giving the impression that you’re clever enough to deceive others without being caught.

It also shows that honesty is not one of your core values. Remember that even small lies can damage your reputation and relationships.

Succumbing to the allure of dishonesty simply isn’t worth it.

I recall a high school classmate who fabricated stories about their accomplishments to gain admiration and join the “cool kids” club.

They boasted about high grades, friendships with celebrities, and even dating the school’s most sought-after crush.

It wasn’t long before everyone saw through the lies, leading to a loss of respect and trust among their peers.

10) You Have Aggressive Body Language

Aggressive body language – such as crossed arms, furrowed brows, and finger-pointing – can make you look arrogant.

Some people interpret this as you being confrontational or thinking that you’re superior.

An easy way to change this behavior is by adopting a more open and relaxed posture.

Another conversation technique you could do is “mirroring.” This means subtly mimicking the gestures and expressions of the person you’re speaking with.

You could even go to the extent of paraphrasing what they just said so that it’s obvious that you’re listening.

These small adjustments in social interactions can make a significant difference in how approachable and likeable you appear to others.

11) You Check Your Watch Too Much

Checking your watch frequently during conversations gives the impression that you believe your time is more valuable than the other person. If that’s the case, excuse yourself and respectfully leave the conversation.

The harsh truth is that you’re the one wasting their time.

But if ever you’re just worried about losing track of time while talking, set a discreet alarm or reminder on your phone to notify you when you need to leave or attend to other matters.

You could also explain beforehand that you have time constraints, especially if you’re on a tight schedule or have pressing commitments. Explain yourself. The other person will understand.

12) Your Heavy Sighs Make You Look Judgmental

Heavy sighs, whether intentional or not, are arrogant behaviors as these convey frustration, impatience, or disapproval – not to mention how tired you would look in meetings or serious conversations.

To avoid giving off this impression, practice deep, mindful breathing. Take a slow, deep breath and exhale gently through your mouth. Regulate your breathing to reduce tension in your body.

If you find yourself sighing due to stress or frustration, address the root cause of your feelings instead of letting them manifest as deep sighs.

Communicate your concerns. Doing so also helps foster more honest and productive communication.

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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