10 signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance

Confidence is a powerful and authentic trait, but sometimes it comes across the wrong way. 

Certain people and groups may be mistaking your confidence as an attitude or a demonstration of superiority. 

Here are the top signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance.

1) You’re not included in group discussions 

The first of the signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that you’re generally excluded from group discussions. 

At work, this could mean that you’re not invited into meetings or are only included rarely in joint discussions and deliberations. 

At home, this may manifest as family and loved ones making decisions without involving you. 

To be fair, there could be many reasons why you find yourself left out of group discussions and conversations, including a toxic group. 

But in some cases, it can be because your input is found to be overly controlling or railroading other people

Even if this is not the case, this means your confidence and strong belief in yourself and your views are coming across wrong and being interpreted by others as cockiness or pushiness. 

2) People roll their eyes at you when you speak

The next of the top signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that people roll their eyes at you when you speak. 

Of course, these may just be rude people, but if this is happening a lot it can mean that the way you speak or what you speak about is coming across as arrogance. 

This may be completely unintentional on your part, but it’s especially common that confidence gets misinterpreted when people aren’t used to a certain manner or style of speaking. 

For example, if you have a particular accent or speak more formally, this could come across as arrogance, especially to some sectors of society who are used to speaking more informally or using frequent slang.

Asking a trusted friend whether your way or style of speaking comes across as “elitist” can be a good way to determine if this could be what’s happening in some of your interactions. 

3) You’re rarely asked for advice

The next of the signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that you’re rarely asked for advice. 

When people have the perception that you’re very confident and sure about what you do, it can intimidate some of them who are less sure about what they’re doing and why. 

For this reason, they may interpret your confidence about what you believe and say as a form of arrogance. 

If you’re being perceived as a person who gives advice that’s overly judgmental or black-and-white, it can be a definite sign that you’re being perceived as arrogant even though it’s really just that you’re confident about what you believe. 

4) You’re accused of having a superiority complex

signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance 1 10 signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance

The next of the important signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that you’re accused of having a superiority complex

If people say you act “superior” it can be very hurtful, especially when you don’t intend to do that, nor do you feel superior. 

There certainly is a fine line between feeling above others and simply knowing one’s value. 

The confident person recognizes their value and intelligence while also seeing it in others and giving that a fair hearing. 

Sometimes people who feel less secure may mistake this confidence as arrogance because they are looking at you from the wrong angle or not realizing that you’re actually appreciative of the contributions and gifts of others as well. 

As mindfulness facilitator and performance coach, Cathy Stapleton puts it

“A confident person is aware of their value but also of the value of others and does not claim to be above others. 

“Confidence becomes arrogance when perspective is lost and an individual loses humility.” 

5) Your beliefs are seen as overly rigid

Another of the key signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that your beliefs are seen as overly set and rigid. 

This may be your religious beliefs, spiritual path or personal philosophy. 

If you’re confident about the path you’re on and find it inspiring, you may try to share it with others or at least explain what you believe and why. 

However, this confidence can be mistaken for arrogance by people who are less sure about what they believe or why. 

Hearing you straightforwardly and confidently talk about your core principles and your faith intimidates others in some cases and may lead them to feeling you are arrogant. 

In reality, you’re just very sure about what you believe, but to people who aren’t secure in their beliefs, this can definitely be misinterpreted by them as cockiness or being overly judgmental. 

6) You’re not invited out to parties and events

The next of the signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that you’re rarely invited out to parties and events. 

When you try to find out why, you’re more or less told that people felt you wouldn’t be into that kind of thing or they felt like you seem “above” that. 

In reality, you’d love to go to a pub night with some friends or check out that new Latin dance place on a Friday, but for some reason your coworkers and friends have the impression you’d look down at this.

People get the impression that you feel “too good” for events with regular people even though you never intended to give off that air and may be unsure where they got that impression. 

7) Folks frequently joke about you being a snob 

Next up in the signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that people joke about you being a snob. 

They say that every joke contains a grain of truth, and that’s true at least in the sense that it shows the true intentions of the one telling the joke. 

If you seem to be perceived as a snob or elitist, it can be a sign that your confidence is coming across in a comical or arrogant way to people around you. 

It takes all types to make the world go around, but when you’re seen as an elitist it can be difficult to break through that impression or take all the jokes in good faith. 

8) You’re accused of credentialism and name-dropping

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Another of the important signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that you’re accused of credentialism and name-dropping

Credentialism, or the focus on your education and professional certification, can be a legitimate part of some jobs and situations. 

You may need to mention where you went to school or put it in an author biography or mention it in the beginning of a speech to build credibility. 

But if you do tend to repeat where you went to school quite often and also mention the names of famous or prestigious individuals who you know or worked with, it can definitely land wrong for some folks.

They may see it as a kind of bragging and begin to see you as arrogant mainly on account of who you know and your professional background itself. 

9) Your personal style is the butt of jokes 

Unfortunately, another of the common signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that your personal style is also made fun of. 

This can be particularly common for men and women who prefer to dress in a more classical, formal style. 

Everyday society may see your style as “showing off” even though it’s actually just the way you prefer to dress. 

For all they know you may have purchased your Ralph Lauren blazer at the thrift store anyway. 

But it’s the appearance of expensive and name-brand clothes that can start others perceiving you as arrogant or full of yourself just for dressing well. 

If you hear a fair bit of jokes about your style and how you dress then it could well be that your stylistic confidence is being taken as arrogance. 

10) People tell you that you seem above them 

Lastly in terms of the top signs your confidence is being mistaken for arrogance is that people in your life tell you that you seem arrogant. 

This may come as a surprise to you, and it’s worth asking them what exactly they mean by that.

What exactly is it about you that seems arrogant, and why? 

When you hear more of your specific behaviors, mannerisms, and styles that make you seem arrogant, you can work on either changing them or sticking to them. 

After all, you can’t stop or control everyone else’s impression of you, and it’s only reasonable to change those parts of yourself where you agree a misinterpretation is warranted or likely.

Setting the record straight

Distinguishing your confidence from arrogance is about self-awareness and restraint. 

Confidence is sometimes mistaken for arrogance when it’s too “loud” and in your face. 

You may not have an arrogant bone in your body, but if the signs above are showing up, it may be that your confidence is being perceived as arrogance even though it’s not. 

The solution is simply to continue your confident demeanor but tone down any parts of it which might be unintentionally coming across as arrogant. 

Quiet, solid confidence always wins the day, especially in stressful situations when misunderstandings are more likely to crop up.

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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