We often write about the virtues and qualities that promote healthy and mutually fulfilling relationships, such as generosity, respect, commitment, and compassion, to name a few in the top ten. Cultivating these qualities through intentional practice will do a lot to enhance the quality of all of our relationships. Strengthening virtuous qualities alone, however, is not sufficient to maximize one’s capability to optimize the quality of relationships. The other side of the equation has to do with identifying those aspects of our character that not only do not support this intention but actually serve to weaken it. Of all of the tendencies that diminish the quality of our relationships, few, if any are as damaging as that of arrogance.
Arrogance in a Relationship
Arrogant, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, comes from arrogate which means “to appropriate for oneself, presumptuously; to claim without right” and “to be overly convinced of one’s own importance.” One of the unfortunate consequences of arrogance is that people who are guilty of possessing this trait often have no awareness of it and when confronted by feedback that suggests that they may be grabbing more ground than they are actually entitled to, often become highly defensive and even combative, which ironically demonstrates that they probably are.