We have all known them. They were childhood friends, classmates, co-workers, employers, store clerks, people on the street, maybe even relatives…..arrogant people. Those who claim to be confident, but who are just plain cocky and rude are arrogant. If you call them out on it, they will argue that they are just confident, and you are jealous. No. I’ve known plenty of confident people who are very kind, and sincerely caring…not the least bit arrogant.
Where does arrogance come from? Does it come from being spoiled or over indulged as a child, and a sense of entitlement? Or does it come from a sense of insecurity, and now that person has to compensate for feeling less than others? I think the answer is probably a combination of the two. Some people feel that they deserve to be treated better than others, and can be rude and condescending. Others may be compensating for the need to feel important, and being arrogant is a way of accomplishing that.
I have spent a good portion of my life trying to be nice to people, even when they haven’t been nice to me. It isn’t a matter of wanting to be liked by them. It’s a matter of being the bigger person, even if it has hurt my feelings from time to time. I was taught to be nice! Even today, after my mother has been gone for nearly 15 years (hard to believe!), I can still hear her say, “Now girls, be nice,” talking to my sisters and me. Am I always nice? No. I can be grumpy….but I definitely try to never be rude or condescending. I try to watch my tone with others, so I don’t sound rude (I could probably do a better job at this). I try not to stir up trouble, making others upset with me to start with. I try to show interest in others’ lives and activities. I do try to acknowledge someone’s kindness or generosity, no matter what kind of mood I’m in. If someone is friendly to me, I will always be friendly back (even if I’m in a bad mood, or am busy). I will admit that my humor can be self deprecating, but that’s how I’ve made people laugh over the years. I taught my children to respond to others when spoken to from the time they could speak (even though they weren’t always easy to understand). My father was testing my son’s handshake from the time he was a little boy, to make sure it was firm and strong….a sign of confidence and politeness, not arrogance. A strong handshake shows respect for the other person.
When my students come to my room in the mornings, I always greet them with a, “Good morning,” a hug (if they want it), or a handshake (if they want it). If they don’t respond to me, I have responded to their lack of manners by saying, “Well good morning Mrs. Desport! How are you today?” Sometimes they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Other times they smile and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Desport!” I have learned that not every parent teaches their children to respond to greetings, or have any manners. Part of my job as their teacher, is to make sure they use manners at least while they are at school. This may have an impact on them in the long run, so they are not accused of being rude and arrogant later in life.
What happens when ill mannered people grow up, feeling that they should be handed everything, and that the world should worship them? We end up with a rude, entitled, arrogant society, and a rude, entitled, arrogant society does no one any good.
While we have no control over rude, arrogant, or condescending people, we do have control over how we deal with them. I will always be nice, and try to be the bigger person, but I’m slowly learning that I don’t have to cater to their egos either. I can still be kind, but their need for adoration will be lost on me. I had an employer once who demanded adoration, as if she were a cult leader. I couldn’t do it. Needless to say, I moved on! The only people in this world who truly deserve my adoration are my husband and children. They’ve earned it. They are not arrogant or spoiled or overly confident. They’re just good people who treat me with respect.
No time for arrogance? Then don’t acknowledge it…..don’t respond to it. There is always time for kindness and manners, no matter how consumed we are with daily life. Make time for it. Don’t be arrogant and selfish. Be kind and respectful….and have confidence that is the right thing to do.