9 Subtle Differences Between a Confident & Arrogant Man

difference between confident and an arrogant man

Confidence and arrogance may seem similar, but between them is the thin line that separates a guy you should date and a guy you’re better off without.

There is no denying that there is a relatively fine line between being arrogant and being confident. Many say that one trait cannot be present without the other and to some extent, that belief rings true.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “arrogant” refers to “having or showing the insulting attitude of people who believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people” whereas “confident” is “having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.”

I surveyed 20 girlfriends and gay mates asking them what their top five favorite and most hated traits in men are. Arrogance was listed in everyone’s top 5 most hated traits, whereas confidence was listed in everyone’s top 5 favorite characteristics. So what do these general findings tell us? There is undoubtedly a fine line between arrogance and confidence and thus, a fine line between being loved and hated. [Read: 15 reasons nice guys finish last all the time]

How can you tell the difference between arrogance and confidence?

If you are new to the dating game or if you simply feel that you have to pay more attention to the signs that your partner is exuding, here are 9 hints that can help you determine if your man is arrogant or confident.

#1 Modesty. First, you have to keep your eye open for modesty. Arrogant men do not even know what this means. They tend to be very boastful about their accomplishments, love tooting their own horn and constantly show off. Not once will they attribute their success to someone else.

Confident men, on the other hand, will be happy to engage you in conversation on their successful endeavors but tend to say things like, “It took plenty of hard work on my part, but I would never have accomplished what I had without the support of my mentor.” [Read: 12 things to look for in a guy before dating him]

#2 How he treats others. Another way to tell if the man you are dating is confident or arrogant is to pay attention to the way he treats others. I do not mean watching him suck up to his boss or more successful friends. I’m talking about waiters, cabbies, housekeepers, the parking lot operator, the barrister and so on.

Arrogant men tend to be rude and snappy whereas confident men never forget their manners. Always remember that a man should not be judged by how he treats his equals but rather, how he treats those whom he deems are lower down on the totem pole than him.

#3 Admitting mistakes. Another difference between a confident man and an arrogant one is that the former is not afraid of making and admitting his mistakes. For example, if you are on a date at a haughty French restaurant that lists several items on the menu in French, a confident man is not afraid to ask your server for help.

An arrogant man will probably act like he knows exactly what every item is, even if he does not speak a word of French. He would rather project to the world that he knows everything and can do no wrong as opposed to admitting that he has a weakness.

#4 Maintaining eye contact. A confident man will have no problems maintaining good eye contact with you during a conversation. He will undoubtedly focus all his attention on you, urging you to assuredly express yourself.

On the other hand, an arrogant man will probably have a shiftier gaze. Whether he looks behind you, next to you or around you, arrogant people will not focus on the person they are having a conversation with as they are more concerned about finding someone else to speak to, more aptly, someone else whom they think will benefit them more.

#5 His general behavior. Your man’s general behavior will indicate whether he is arrogant or self-assured. An arrogant man will likely give off the impression that he is better than everyone else. From the way he brags about his expensive car to the way he shows off his shiny watch, his arrogance will be all-encompassing, negative and hard to miss.

On the other hand, a confident man will be more down to earth and respectful in nature. He may own an expensive car and a $30,000 watch but will choose not to tell you about them. [Read: 30 characteristics that make him an alpha male]

#6 Willingness to learn. An arrogant man would rather work his butt off to give others the illusion that he knows everything when in fact, he knows nothing. A confident man will work his butt off to learn something and excel in it. He is not ashamed to admit that he cannot do something and will make a conscious effort to make it happen. His confidence lies in the fact that he will eventually learn what he needs to learn, but he just hasn’t gotten there yet.

#7 Do rather than say. You will know that you are dating an arrogant man when his words count for more than his actions. For example, you may mention in passing that you are looking to make a career switch and want to test the job market. He will not be ashamed to boast that he knows this CEO and that manager and that headhunter and that shareholder, and will promise to hook you up. Whether he is unable to or simply not bothered to, he will probably not follow through with his promise unless it is going to directly benefit him.

When it comes to a confident man, actions speak louder than words, and if he says something or promises you anything, there is a very high chance that he will follow through.

#8 What is said and how it’s said. What he says and how he says it separates the arrogant men from the confident ones. Arrogant people somehow operate under the pretense that they know everything and everyone. Even if you know that what they are saying is absolute bollocks, they do it with such certainty that you start doubting yourself. Arrogant men tend to speak to others in a condescending tone and are not afraid to correct or dismiss others, even if it means sorely embarrassing them.

On the flip side, confident men value other people’s beliefs and opinions and are very likely to value opposing views and ideas as it gives them the chance to learn and grow. [Read: 5 clear giveaways of emotionally unavailable men]

#9 Social relationships. How your man behaves in social situations will say plenty about him. If he is arrogant, he will most likely put people down, embarrass them, dismiss them or ridicule their viewpoints. He will likely have many acquaintances but only a few true friends.

On the other hand, confident people attract others to them like moths to a flame. They are usually loved by many as they tend to uplift others and are happy with other people’s successes. They don’t feel threatened when there are other people who are doing better than them.

At the end of the day, do not brush someone off just because they are arrogant. There is a very good chance that they are that way because of how they were raised or because they are simply making up for a shortcoming. Tell them honestly that their arrogance can be bothersome, and no matter what, be as patient as you can with this person, especially if you love them.

[Read: 11 sure signs you’re dating a real keeper]

Though confidence and arrogance may seem alike, these signs can help you tell the difference. Once you do, you can discern whether the guy you’re with is just there to toot his own horn, or if he has a genuine belief in his own abilities.

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Lianne Choo
Lianne Choo
Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...
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2 thoughts on “9 Subtle Differences Between a Confident & Arrogant Man”

  1. jeri says:

    I think there’s nothing subtle about an arrogant man. Given he has accomplishment, that doesn’t mean he’s better than anybody else. Staying humble after all that you’ve accomplished, for me is the definition of a real man. Staying grounded is what will take you to a whole new other level. Being arrogant on the other hand may take you to higher places but you will still be stuck on the same level. What important overall is attitude and a woman will be more satisfied with a man who’s humble and confident at the same time.

  2. remoal says:

    There’s a fine line between being arrogant and being confident. Look into the eyes of a confident person and you can tell that you can learn from him but look into the eyes of an arrogant person, you can see selfishness and narcissism. A confident man boosts his ego by boosting other people while an arrogant person would boost his own ego by eating the souls of every person he meets. He wants them to know that he is better in every single way. That’s an arrogant person. If you ask me who’s better? Well, I’d be a confident guy instead who helps others and not a guy who only thinks of himself.

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