8 Markers of Arrogant Folks I’ve Known

I write this post with some reticence. Last week, I posted about humility I’ve seen in others, and today I write about the other side of that coin. I hesitate to write it, though, because to declare anyone else “arrogant” is to risk wearing the same brand. I’m aware that some of these traits are in me, too, so I confess them here first.

  1. They use the phrase, “I hope I don’t sound arrogant here, but . . . .” My experience is that if we feel the need to use this wording, we’re probably dangerously close to bragging about something.
  2. They deny any arrogance. Genuinely humble people recognize they could be arrogant; genuinely arrogant people often don’t recognize that trait in themselves. Arrogance, they think, is a characteristic of other people who really aren’t as good as they think they are.
  3. They want to know everything. Knowing all the details about everyone and everything else is a subtle route to power from the inside – and arrogant people let others know how much they’re on the inside.
  4. They criticize others who receive praise. Sometimes the criticism is cloaked in praise (e.g., “I’m happy for him. I never thought he’d get that kind of recognition”), but it’s more often a strong questioning of the recipient’s worth. 
  5. They pray little publicly. This one may surprise you, but I’ve seen humble people pray naturally and recurrently – while folks who exhibit more of these other characteristics seem to pray only because the situation demands it. Arrogance doesn’t require the dependence that prayer demands.
  6. They talk about themselves a lot. It might be simply a report about their ministry, but their conversations seldom veer much from what they’re doing.
  7. They’re defensive when rebuked. Their first reaction is to justify themselves, even when it’s a friend who offers the rebuke. Overall, they’re not very teachable. 
  8. They’re not good listeners. It’s tough to focus on somebody else when your world is wrapped up in yourself. 

Again, I write from my knees because I recognize my own tendencies in these words. May I learn more than anyone from this post.   

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