No. 273

Have you ever been around someone who was conceited or arrogant? Before I proceed it might be beneficial to pause and ask if you are this type of person. If you are, I hope you will not tune me out, but will read what I have to say because it could make you a much happier person. To be honest, I don’t know many conceited or arrogant people, because my nature is to give people the benefit of a doubt and I try to look for good and positive qualities, and every person has some of these. Its no fun to have to be around someone who is conceited or arrogant but, unfortunately, many people have to deal with it on a regular basis. This is to say they are on the receiving, not the giving end.
A conversation I had the other day with a good friend has prompted me to write this particular column. We were discussing another man we both know and he made the comment, “He seems arrogant to me.” Because I had known this man much longer, I assured him this was not the case. At this point I don’t feel it’s necessary to define the words “conceited” or “arrogant” because you know what I am saying. When we are around someone who has these personality flaws, we usually do our best to avoid them if we can. There are times however, when this is impossible, because we work with them and our job requires us to interact with them on a daily basis. If this is your case, you know it can be quite frustrating because a constant diet of this type behavior has a way of beating you down, it demeans you and it makes you feel inferior.
The reason this type of person makes us feel this way is because in their mind they think they are superior or better than we are. This is certainly not true and I can dispel that myth in a New York minute. If you have to be around this type of person, here is how I suggest that you deal with them. First, give this person the benefit of a doubt. Many people have what I call a “funny turn” and because of this they are just different. In most cases when we get to know them, they are really fine people.
Next, try to understand why this person is behaving in this way. In many cases this type of person is really “insecure” and their “conceited or arrogant” demeanor is only a way to cover it up. If we can go far enough back in a person’s life and look at the people, events and circumstances that influenced them, we can begin to understand why they behave in this manner. Understanding another person is quite often the best thing we can do for them and for ourselves.
Here is another suggestion that may be of value. Have you ever tried to catch a butterfly? Short of using a net it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. They seem to flit along just out of reach but if we will sit down and be quiet, often the butterfly will come along and light on us. That is a pretty good formula for dealing with a conceited or arrogant person. Just be warm and friendly and give the relationship some time.
There is yet another dimension in dealing with a “conceited” or “arrogant” person that is the most important of all. It has to do with our own feeling of self-worth. We must know who we are and be happy with ourselves. Unless we are on ‘solid ground” a conceited or arrogant person will always have a tendency to destroy our self-confidence and our feeling of self-worth. What I’m about to say is personal but here is what works for me. When I became a Christian, I became the child of the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. You just would not believe the difference this has made in my life. My feeling of self-worth is inside and as the child of a King, I don’t have to be intimidated by any person...ever again. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)