Conversations with arrogant individuals are experiences we all go through, quite frequently in life, probably because they are a very common ‘species’. They exhibit certain irritating characteristics which make the aforementioned encounters particularly painful at times.
The factor that mainly causes such obnoxious behaviour is a very strong sense of entitlement that makes them expect very good behaviour from others and special privileges without having done anything to deserve it.
What is even more disturbing is that they will not show any empathy to others whereas expect that along with admiration. Handling verbal interactions with such individuals is tricky, but here are eight strong comebacks to their arrogance that can stop them in their tracks.
1. “Now What Makes You Say That?”
This is very interesting, since it is a direct enquiry into the reason for their behaviour. Now, of course arrogance borders on irrationality, and by asking the reason behind it you do stop them in their tracks, because there can be no answer to this question. When they are not able to find it, maybe, just maybe it would trouble them enough to notice the problematic stance they are exhibiting.
Now, this works on many fronts. One: the sarcastic front. They might think their words hurt you like anything. Just keep a straight face and say ouch. Make it clear that they are not relevant enough to hurt you.
Two, say ouch and mean it. If they hurt you, make it clear that they did. Give them the bite of conscience they deserve and maybe they will go home and think about it.
3. “You Know My Mother/Father/Brother/Friend Is So-and-so, Right?”
It is often the case that a person (because of his innate arrogance) ends up slandering a whole community or minority. That’s right, we are talking about racism. This comes from the sense of being holier-than-thou and nothing else.
Now telling them that racism is inhuman won’t work because they have probably lived through that routine their entire life. Now what you can do, and this works especially in a clique, is that you can boil it down to your own subjective experience (and it doesn’t even have to be true). The consequence will be two-fold: one, the rest of the clique sees them for what they are. Second, it gives them the bite of conscience they deserve.
4. “Do You Know That There Are Alternate Opinions On This Matter?”
This will suck the sense of entitlement straight out of them. They need to know that there exist people outside their little bubble of privilege. They also need to realize that in today’s world there cannot be one true opinion for things. It is a postmodern world: nothing is certain and all opinions matter.
5. “Tell Me What Makes You An Expert On The Subject?”
This also sucks the air right out of their bubble, because it is a direct challenge to them, at their own game that is being mean and inconsiderate. Their intense sense of superiority can also be further pinpricked by this additional line: “there probably aren’t many you know?”
6. “I Would Be Grateful If These Were Your Last Words On The Subject.”
Let them know that you wouldn’t stand for that arrogance. Let them know that you want to express your opinions on the subject yourself.
7. “You Need To Stop Talking Now.”
Sharp, succinct and to the point, this is a beautiful extension of point 6.
8. “I Am Sure You Didn’t Want To Sound That Arrogant.”
Sarcasm is your bread and butter, when it comes to dealing with these people. All the better if they don’t get it because others around will.