The Difference Between A Confident Guy And An Arrogant Guy

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I don’t think I realized the difference between a confident guy and an arrogant guy until my early twenties.

By Meghan Dillon3 min read
The Difference Between A Confident Guy And An Arrogant Guy

Like most women, I find confidence in a man very attractive. Unfortunately, it’s easy to mistake arrogance, which couldn’t be further from attractive, for confidence. Here’s why we commonly mistake arrogance for confidence, and what the key differences are.

Why We Mistake Arrogance for Confidence

It took me so long to figure out the difference between confidence and arrogance because the majority of the differences have to do with maturity. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out if a guy is confident or arrogant; you can’t always tell when you first meet a guy. 

Rosie Valentine, a writer at the blog “We Love Dates,” examines the difference with two different scenarios. In both scenarios, you meet a guy for a date and you immediately notice how attractive he is. He’s the kind of guy who turns heads in every room he walks into, and your heart can’t help but flutter when he flashes you a smile and gives you a quick hug.

Things change when you sit down for dinner. Valentine describes the guy on the first date: “You browse the menu and he asks what wine you’d like. You make a suggestion, but he mocks you and calls it a terrible choice. How humiliating. The waiter comes to take your order, and you notice your date is rather blunt in his communication; there’s no ‘please’, ‘thank you,’ or any other pleasantries.

As you chat to him over dinner, you see that he’s wearing an expensive watch, but before you’ve had a chance to compliment him on it, he’s already asked if you’ve heard of the watch brand and boasted about how expensive it is. He’s also told you about his Ferrari, his promotion at work, and the expensive restaurant he was at the previous night where he sat on a table next to a famous celebrity. Hold on a minute, has this guy actually listened to anything you’ve said yet?”

Arrogant guys love to hear themselves talk and don’t really care about what you have to say.

The second date goes differently, as Valentine describes: “You sit down and start to browse the menu. He admits he doesn’t know what one of the Italian words on the menu is (neither do you), so he politely calls the waiter over to ask for his help. He admits he doesn’t know much about the wine on the menu so asks if there’s a wine you prefer and lets you choose, commending you on your choice.

You notice he has a nice watch, so you compliment him on it, but he modestly says it was a gift from a relative and changes the topic of conversation. He asks about your work and congratulates you on your recent successes. When you ask him about his work, you’re astounded by his high status and how humble he is with it.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the first guy and I love the second guy. That’s because the first guy was arrogant and the second guy was confident. What’s interesting is that both scenarios start with a charming guy, and it takes a little while to figure out if he’s confident or arrogant.

The halo effect is why we often give attractive guys the benefit of the doubt for rude behavior.

We can’t tell if a guy is confident or arrogant just by looking at him, but we can judge whether or not we find him attractive or not. We often associate attractive people with good qualities, which is where the psychological phenomenon known as the halo effect comes into play. The halo effect is defined as “a cognitive attribution bias as it involves the unfounded application of general judgment to a specific trait...For example, if you perceive a person to be warm and friendly, we will attribute a number of other associated traits to that person without any knowledge that they are true, such as they are generous.”

The halo effect is why we often give more attractive guys the benefit of the doubt for rude behavior, and that includes arrogance. In short, don’t make your mind up about a guy until he opens his mouth. He may look like a prince, but he could have the manners of a beast.

Key Differences between Arrogance and Confidence

I was once hanging out with a guy who was incredibly confident and well-accomplished. At first, I was worried that I found myself talking to another arrogant guy, but I noticed something different when he asked me about myself. He was genuinely interested in what I had to say and was interested in hearing about my accomplishments, making no comparisons to his (yes, I’ve dealt with this in the past, and it’s not fun), and was listening to what I was saying. He didn’t feel the need to interrupt me or look at his phone; he just listened. I compared this situation in my mind to more arrogant guys who I've hung out with, and it all came down to that this guy was simply more mature.

A confident guy can admit when he’s in the wrong.

This is one of the key differences between confident guys and arrogant guys. Arrogant guys love to hear themselves talk and don’t really care about what you have to say, while a confident guy will listen to you because he isn’t threatened by anything you have to say. He doesn’t feel the need to interrupt because he’s comfortable with himself (and his masculinity) enough to where he doesn’t always need to be the center of attention or feel the need to show off in front of a woman.

Arrogant men will often play games instead of being honest, have a sense of entitlement when it comes to sex instead of respecting your wishes (and you as a person), and think he’s always right versus being willing to admit when he’s wrong.

Truly Masculine Men Are Confident

Arrogant guys confuse masculinity with bravado and are focused entirely on getting only what they want. Confident men emulate true masculinity by being secure in their own person, allowing them to respect and help others. A confident guy makes everyone around him better, while an arrogant guy makes others feel insecure or incompetent to boost his ego. 

A confident guy makes everyone around him better.

This also means that a confident guy will treat you a lot better than an arrogant guy because true masculinity isn't toxic. A confident guy is a gentleman and will make a much better boyfriend and husband.

Closing Thoughts

Confidence is hot, and arrogance is anything but. It can be easy to confuse arrogance for confidence, but it’s easier to tell the difference between a confident man and an arrogant man by taking note of his maturity and paying attention to his words and actions before deciding whether or not you're attracted to him — regardless of how hot he is. 

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