Is Your Arrogance Turning Guys Off?

This is article #39 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

(Photo: Sergey Sus)

Enter Stephen

Are you arrogant or confident?

Who cares? As long as you think you’re great, that’s great! Right?

The only problem is, you might not be coming across as confident – it’s very possible that what you see as healthy self-belief appears to a guy as self-obsession and arrogance to the point of nausea.

Self-love is a tricky line to tip-toe. I’ve found many people confuse a high level of confidence with a vomit-worthy, inward-looking narcissism. They think that being confident must mean being a show-off, solely focused on their own success, whilst also showing a complete lack of interest in anyone else’s life and accomplishments.

There’s a big difference between knowing you are great, and trying to crowbar in a hundred ways to remind others in every lull in conversation just how #Blessed and #Incredible your #TotesAmaze-Balls life happens to be. Even if it’s true that you are fortunate enough to be #Winning on an hourly basis, you reminding guys (and girls) of this constantly will only make you seem either desperately insecure or like someone who is playing a childish power game, attempting to assert her superiority at every opportunity.

Traits of Truly Confident People (And How To Use Them To Your Advantage)

Now, it’s true that confident people can also be arrogant.

But the truly confident people I’ve met are able to transcend the ‘cocky confident’ persona, and manage to reach a level of self-belief without all the trappings of arrogance and narcissism that seem inherent in a generation that are taught to constantly broadcast their photos, opinions and good news to the entire world.

Truly confident people manage to combine three traits that make them attractive in conversation – embody these on a first date, and you’ll impress a guy much faster than you will by showing off and singing your own praises:

(a) Modesty – Truly confident people are comfortable enough with their personality to know where they fall short, and they have a sense of realism and humour about their blunders. Arrogant people are too scared to admit fault or doubt, because it interferes with their view of themselves as above those around them.

Try this instead: Be proud of your best aspects and by all means talk about them, but throw in a couple of times you screwed up or a story about a time you found really difficult so that he sees you’re not interested in just pumping your own ego.

(b) Impressibility – Confident people like to be impressed by others. They aren’t looking to win at every single thing in the world, nor are they interested in belittling the efforts of others by feigning indifference to their skills and achievements.

Many of the most confident people I know have heroes and heroines, not to mention mentors whom they look to for inspiration to be better. Arrogant people are afraid to admit they are impressed by anyone but themselves, and this superiority is an ugly trait to witness in anyone.

Try this instead: Tell a guy ONE thing on a date that you find cool about him. Maybe he has a determination that you like, or a kindness or a sense of humour. Just the act of trying to search for things you admire in others and telling them will make you seem more confident and attractive.

(c) The ability to ask interesting questions – The most confident people I’ve ever met are inherently curious. They are outward looking and as a result, they come to interactions looking to make the other person feel understood, instead of simply using a conversation as another chance to further inflate their own self-worth.

They’ll probe into what drives other people and seek to make the conversation relate to everyone, instead of assuming that everyone wants to hear their extended monologue about how much money they made last year, where they travelled, or some lame prize they won back in high school.

Try this instead: Resist the urge to overshadow others with your greater achievements. Instead, try shifting the focus on what motivates and moves others: ask about his ambitions, ask him details about his work and how he does it, ask him how he stays motivated and what his routine is. Be curious about everything around you and you won’t feel the need to bring more attention to yourself.

Try these techniques and let me know how they work for you. The great part is, when you embody the traits above you start to be seen by others as more confident, more desirable and more enjoyable to be around. Arrogance makes you abrasive, annoying, and someone with whom people always want to compete and outclass.

I know you’re great. You know you’re great. With these techniques, he’ll know you’re great without you needing to keep telling him!

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10 Replies to “Is Your Arrogance Turning Guys Off?”

  • Hey Stephen
    Were you and Matt in Boston? I saw a pic of you two on Facebook with the John Harvard statue. Did you know that students pee on the bronze shoes at night which people touch for good luck. I hope you washed your hands afterwards:)
    Anyway, Boston is my second home and favorite city in the whole world so I hope you had tons of fun there.

    This is a really great article. A lot of this seems more applicable to guys because of their tendency to show off a lot and talk non-stop about themselves, often to impress women and taking little interest in them–which often simply backfires. More than arrogant, they come across as extremely boring to me.
    That said, some women DO respond well to such cocky guys so it does seem to work for them.

    Women show arrogance in slightly different ways as per my observation– having a “chip” on their shoulder, selectively interacting with people, not smiling or turning up their nose at things, “ignoring” certain people, intense self-absorption, often an obsession with and huge pride for their looks or any one part of their life, being a know-it-all and Miss. Always Right–as if no one else knows better.

    Direct bragging is often more subtle in women –“Oh, I’m not much of a baker but I made an apple pie for my office party and everyone loved it and wanted my recipe. There was nothing left of it after only 2 minutes!” kind of thing. Most direct bragging happens on Facebook–often related to their relationship status updates or wedding ring or bikini pics–how great their bf is because he cooked one meal (in 365 days)..that they HAVE a bf/husband (unlike some other unfortunate women), a great tan and bikini body that everybody should KNOW this and this PROVES they are #TotesAmazeballs.

    One of the key traits of high genuine confidence in women without arrogance is a lack of insecurity and “bitchiness” and cutting others down.
    If women can openly appreciate another woman’s beauty, good fortune or some other good trait without being bitchy or worrying they will lose their man to her…THAT shows true confidence and is admirable. It makes her come across as cool….to both men and women.
    Another is being at complete ease with oneself–so there is no nervousness, defensiveness nor any need to “prove” anything to anybody.

    I like your suggestion to be easily impressed and find at least one good quality in a guy and appreciate it. I think it goes a long way–more than avoiding making a woman look arrogant. The last suggestion to ask questions about the guy and be interested in him is also excellent.

    I’m not sure about the modest part. I mean, sure, one can and should be honest about what one cannot do or isn’t good at but being modest has usually backfired in my experience, leading the guy to either think less of me or resulted in a long lecture of unsolicited advice. It is something that has to be done carefully. Guys are not always perceptive enough to understand self-deprecating humor, let alone open admissions of weaknesses. That said, many guys are very good at using self-deprecating humor themselves (regardless of how modest they actually are) and come across as extremely funny and likable. So I believe this suggestion works for guys better than women.

  • Hi Steve, some parts of your articles always make me giggle. #Blessed #TotesAmaze-Balls #winner. Oh my dog…what kind of world are we living in! “Look at me” culture…Talking about hastags, I disagree with all those articles written about how facebook made people stupid and self-centered. Facebook didn’t change people or made them stupid. It just brought all the arrogance and stupidity out that was already there. Before fb. and instagram people didn’t have much opportunity to show their arrogance. Now it is out there for the whole world to see.

    The root cause for all that arrogance is insecurity, as you mentioned in your article. The more insecure someone is the more they try to take attention. I am at a point in my life I tell people off if they start talking self-absorbed. I used to be quiet and listen for the sake of being polite. But I realized it was the wrong approach. When I meet an arrogant guy person, I make sure I let them know somehow that I don’t give a sh*t about how they are so #blessed. Ironically, they respect me for it. ha! Humans are full of paradoxes, yet so simple.

    When I meet truly confident people who don’t feel like they have to prove something to the world, I appreciate them so much. I want to hug them. LOL! They are so rare. That is the kind of person I can get along myself, both as casual friend and partner. That is why I have only a couple of good friends (by personal choice). Because, I rather sit and stare at a blank wall for hours than spend time with people that suck the energy out of me with their loud, personal stories. Oh and those stories are always boring…what kind of exciting life could someone have if they never even left their own country. #justsaying :) :) :)


  • Very Interesting .) I read an article the other day saying that men prefer Asian women because they are not as arrogant and “bitchy” as the western ones. lol. What is so ironic is that although I have strong opinions and I’m no pushover, I much more demure and less in your face than other girls ( and I have always been criticized for it). I found that a bit of cockiness shuts then the hell up. .)

    Maybe not all guys are as aware as you Stephen, but, it seems like most twenty-something guys still chase after the seemingly “popular chick” that brags too much about her likes on Facebook.

    1. 100% agree. Stephen a lot of what you say doesn’t apply to a lot of guys. Especially immature ones. The good thing is–who wants them?

  • “Be curious about everything around you and you won’t feel the need to bring more attention to yourself”. Already on a post-it on my cork memoboard. LOVED this article, thank you Stephen :-)

  • Hi Stephen,

    I love your articles; they’re loaded with great, practical information. I have a question that will blow your mind though, really. But I can’t ask it in an open forum like this because too many people know me! Perhaps if you contact me on email you could write an article based on my experience, for the benefit of all your lovely readers;-)

    Kind regards,

  • Hi Stephen, loved your article. I would be really happy if you could help me with something.
    I´ve had a big crush on a guy for months, he´s not the attractive kind of guy but I just think he is cute as hell; last week we got lost together at a music festival and as it was cold he hugged me in his car and it was super lovely, then he had to go home in a cab because of me so I obviously took advantage and got his number to say thank you, he followed the conversation and as I´m an artist he asked me for an specific drawing and I complied (I don´t know if this was too desperate) then on friday he asked me to come with his friends to a bar but I already had plans so the next day I told him I was going somewhere and that he could catch up but he arrived too late, we kept talking but last night he didn´t respond my last message. I don´t know what to do, should I say hi? should I wait? It would be amazing if you could help me :)

    Greetings from Mexico

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