Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada movie is one of the most complex characters in popular culture. Although she is admired and honored by many, people are afraid of her. None of her assistants want to work with her for more than a few months. Her leadership style demands respect and is authoritative in nature. Her confidence comes off as arrogance and she is titled as ‘heartless’ by many.

Although Priestly’s character is complex, it’s relatable nonetheless. We’ve crossed the fine line between confidence and arrogance many times, often without realizing it. It not only complicates interpersonal relationships but affects your professional reputation.  Let’s see how to be confident without being arrogant.

Confidence Vs Arrogance: Learn The Difference

Before we fast forward to the difference between confidence and arrogance, let’s understand what they mean. When you believe in yourself and your abilities in a realistic and healthy way, you are confident. It’s a powerful trait that’s instrumental to success as confident people capture the attention, trust and respect of people around them. Arrogance, on the other hand, is grounded in unwarranted confidence that manifests itself in an offensive display of superiority.

Situations often force us to forget the difference between confidence and arrogance. Here are signs of a typical arrogant person to help you realize if you’re overstepping boundaries or not.

  • You have little to no regard for others’ viewpoints; you interrupt others and don’t pay attention to what they have to say

  • You think that saying no to someone is a sign of weakness and you readily agree to take up responsibilities because you’re too confident about your abilities

  • You don’t respect others’ personal boundaries but when someone oversteps theirs, it makes you angry

  • You don’t like challenging ideas and perspective; you like it when people agree with you and share similar viewpoints

  • You have a difficult time self-reflecting and acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses; you can’t let go of failures or mistakes

Nobody likes an arrogant person, especially when it comes to building professional relationships. Arrogance in the workplace comes at the cost of hurting your reputation, troubled social relationships and loss of opportunity.

Confidence Without Arrogance: The Balancing Act

The fundamental difference between the two traits is emotional intelligence. It will teach you how to embrace confidence without arrogance. Here are a few ways to use your emotional intelligence skills to avoid being arrogant:

  1. Watch Your Step

The way you communicate says a lot about you as a person. Not only should you be mindful of the words and tone in your verbal communication, but you should also monitor your body language as well. For example, never give feedback in a condescending tone. Don’t cross your arms and legs and keep your emotions at bay.

  1. Talk Less, Listen More

An arrogant person loves the sound of their own voice and hardly appreciates someone who begs to differ. Allow for transparent discussion and be the person who respects individual perspectives. Not everyone at work will share the same thought or opinions; you need to keep an open mind and let others freely express themselves.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Wrong

Nobody likes to accept their mistakes but a confident person isn’t afraid to. Always own up to your mistakes and apologize without making excuses. The more dismissive you are, the more arrogant you will appear to others. However, this doesn’t mean that you apologize for every single thing. ‘Sorry’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way in mending relationships.

  1. Celebrate Others’ Efforts

Life is not a zero-sum game where only one person can emerge as a winner. If others around you celebrate successes, make an effort to participate and celebrate with them. For example, if your teammate comes up with a better business strategy, congratulate them and check whether you can contribute and make it even better. There is no ‘I’ in teamwork.

  1. Never Fake It

They say ‘fake it till you make it’ but that’s an unhealthy way of creating expectations for yourself. Nobody is perfect and you need to acknowledge your weaknesses the same way you embrace your strengths. The more you identify your drawbacks, the more you can work and improve on them. If you aren’t able to do something, don’t hesitate to ask for help or say no to the opportunity.

If you want to identify the best version of yourself, who is empathetic, kind and confident, work towards self-improvement. Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course will teach you how to foster self-awareness and identify your strengths and weaknesses. The River of Life framework will help you reflect on life-shaping experiences. Be confident, be vulnerable but most of all, be yourself!


Explore topics such as How to Build ConfidenceExamples of Self-Confidence & Difference Between Confidence and Overconfidence from Harappa Diaries and identify the best version of yourself.

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