How to Deal With People
Who Think They Are Better Than You
by Peter Murphy
However smart you are, you will need to know how to deal with people who think they are better than you. You are bound to meet people like this in your life. That is the case even if you are an internationally acclaimed scientist or a member of MENSA, because when people think they are better than you it is about them, not you.
Reach some understanding
In order to adequately deal with people who think they are better than you, you need to look at them more closely to find out what made them so arrogant. Often, the reasons are deep rooted, back in childhood.
By finding out more about the person's motives and background, you may find that they actually lack self-confidence and so they need to make you look worse than them. It could also be that they have grown up with overbearing parents and so that is the pattern of behaviour they have learned.
Whatever the reason is for the person thinking they are better than you, once you uncover it, you will feel less intimidated by them and will probably pity them. Their arrogance will have lost its power over you.
This is a two-way street. If you have an increased self esteem, you will not be worried about people who think they are better than you. You will be perfectly happy with your own capabilities and realize that life is not a competition.
It is also possible that if you lack self confidence, you may be mistaking confidence for arrogance. Perhaps the other person has the confidence you wish you had and you are jealous. You are not in control of how the other person acts but you are in total control of how you react to it.
Also, the last thing you might want to do is further boost the self esteem of the person who thinks they know better to you, but it may be exactly what they need. Perhaps they are arrogant because they are feeling neglected and they want their achievements to be recognized.
If they feel secure about their capabilities they will have less need to boast and to make you feel inferior.
However, if they continue to boast, you may want to try a different tactic:
Downplay their achievements
Just treat the person who thinks they are better than you as I they were any other person. Pay them attention, but if they make over-inflated claims about their achievements, play them, down. Point out how other people also contributed to the achievement, if that is the case, or how what they did is just a part of routine work duties.
If necessary, walk away
People who think they are better than you need an audience to show off to. Don't be part of the audience; you have better things to do. That should help to remind the arrogant person of his or her duties and position.
So, in learning how to deal with people who think they are better than you, initially you need to fight your natural instincts to blank them. Get to know them better and find out why they feel the need to put others down. If they need a confidence boost, help to give them one, while at the same time protecting your own self esteem and self respect. If that fails or even makes them worse, they try showing up the arrogant person for what they are: people just like anyone else, with strengths and weaknesses. This will help you deal with them even if it doesn't help them to change their behaviour.
(c) 2010 Peter Murphy, All rights reserved.
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