To wonder how some people become so supremely confident and full of themselves?

(120 Posts)
MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 16:28:19

And I mean this as a genuine question. I am fascinated.

I know a few people that are totally uber confident; they think they are more beautiful than others, and that they are totally great and that they are always right. Think along the lines of that girl in the Big Brother house that is spending 18k per month on rent!

What I find too is that super confident people manage to convince the world that they are beautiful/wonderful/amazing even if they are not particularly. And they want their own way all the time, and usually get it.

I'm wondering if it's down to being spoilt as a child, or having really doting parents that tell them every 5 minutes how beautiful and wonderful they are? Or if they're just born that way?

I would describe myself as a confident person in that I'm happy with myself and in my own skin. I'm not loud though, or the life and soul of the party, and I certainly don't think I am better than everyone else and that the world had better sit up and listen to me.

ghayes Mon 17-Jun-13 16:29:36

Where is she living to be spending that much on rent?

MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 16:31:12

God knows! London I guess. She is very rich and receives massive monthly allowances from her parents.

It's her confidence and arrogance though that I'm referring to. I don't understand how someone reaches quite that level of confidence.

ghayes Mon 17-Jun-13 16:34:31

Was it this girl? I've never heard of her. Is she a celebrity?

CocacolaMum Mon 17-Jun-13 16:36:05

I dunno who the BB girl is but I want to see what costs 18k a month to rent!

I really don't know the answer to your question but it fascinates me. I can appear outwardly confident but trust me, my insecurities could eat me alive if I let them.

I don't know many people who manage to convince themselves that they perfect let alone the world but I do know people who exude a confidence and a way of carrying themselves which makes a mark on others - my sister does this, to the world she is a very funny, beautiful woman but to herself she's incapable, needs make up to leave the house and is far less intelligent than those around her.

There are of course those who would say that the people who shout loudest sometimes have the least to say?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Mon 17-Jun-13 16:36:51

She's the type of girl you see in Made in Chelsea.

Vickibee Mon 17-Jun-13 16:38:01

the contestants on the Apprentice are like this, I call it conceited and arrogant. They are not as good as they say as thay fail at Lord Sugar's tasks. They talk a good game

FoundAChopinLizt Mon 17-Jun-13 16:38:09

They listen to Paul McKenna's

'I can make you confident'

Every morning?

MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 16:42:22

Yes, definitely like the Made in Chelsea and Apprentice lot! Totally arrogant.

I know a woman who is mid thirties. She is pretty but I'd say averagely pretty, certainly no prettier than many other woman, and there is nothing that particularly stands out about her.

Yet she is so arrogant full of self belief that she has managed to convince so many people that she is gorgeous and amazing, and has people hanging onto her every word. She is very opinionated, and no one ever really questions her or challenges her, and she posts photo after photo of herself on facebook and has reams of people queueing up to tell her how beautiful she is and how amazing she looks. During her recent pregnancy we were treated to daily - yup, daily - bump photos for 9 months.

I think she has such a high level of confidence that people assume she must be something special.

digerd Mon 17-Jun-13 16:58:51

Anybody who brags , is just a show-off and is not a popular trait. Add arrogance to this manner and is downright unpleasant.
Some people are covering up their insecurities, especially the OTT displays of confidence.

Don't understand this need to feel better than everyone else or anyone else either.

Nagoo Mon 17-Jun-13 16:59:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Tis usually lack of confidence deep down - worked with someone like this, and one day one of our newer colleagues said she wished she was as confident as he was.

About 5 of us said at once "but he's not, it's all a big cover up"! as we had worked with him for years and knew it was all hot air.

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 17-Jun-13 17:13:43

Yes Bottom was just going to say that many times it is all hot air and bravado. I know someone just like this and it's laughable. People do laugh at her. I think it must be exhausting keeping that up and all for what? To be sniggered at? Very sad.

tipp2chicago Mon 17-Jun-13 17:23:56

The only person I know of who is like this is my boss. He is NEVER wrong - even though he hasn't a clue what actually happens around here day-to-day. He certainly makes me inclined to believe that old trope about most leading business persons having at least some of the characteristics of psychopathy. There are days where if you told him your desk was brown, he would tell you it was blue, and be 100% sure he was right. Everything he has ever done was amazing - in his own mind. And his driving is a sight to behold - again, even when overtaking dangerously and being flashed at by oncoming traffic "they don't know what my car can do, and I do". He really does not believe that he can ever do anything wrong.

Needless to say, I am doing my best to get out of here.

tipp2chicago Mon 17-Jun-13 17:24:57

But, to answer the question, no, I don't know how he got to be like that, though evidently he was a late baby, and has been known to refer to himself as "the miracle child", which I think says it all.

FreckledLeopard Mon 17-Jun-13 17:35:40

My mother is like this. She has supreme self confidence, is convinced that she is the most beautiful/attractive person in the room, has never in her life had a moment's self doubt and she manages to project this image to the outside world, so, for example, she has always has people wanting to do things for her, marry her, be friends with her. She can't understand how anyone can be different to her and therefore is bemused if I'm ever lacking confidence or self esteem.

God knows where she gets it from. Unfortunately she didn't pass this on to me hmm

arabesque Mon 17-Jun-13 17:38:28

I've often wondered about this as well. It's rarely the genuinely beautiful or talented or highly intelligent people who behave like this; but usually people who are quite average but seem convinced that they're better than everyone else. I agree that with some people it's just a cover up but with others it seems to be a genuine belief. I dunno. Maybe they believed their deluded parents when they told them they were the bestest, most prettiest, most cleverest little diddums in the world.

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Jun-13 17:48:03

Aren't you confusing confidence with arrogance though? I am a very confident person - although in no way is this based on my looks! I'm not all that. But I'm very confident in my own worth and abilities.

I became this way because I either had no help/support/compliments/praise from my DM, or too much of the 'golden child' variety from my DGM. I worked out pretty quickly that there had to be a middle way, and that would have to come from me. My self-talk is pretty much entirely positive. Even when I've failed (and I've failed a lot) I think I have a good knack of taking the positives out of the situation.

I also firmly believe that women in general have to become more confident and vocal about their abilities. But again, I absolutely don't mean that should be based on their looks or perceived attractiveness, but on what they do.

HugAMoo Mon 17-Jun-13 18:06:09

I find it's a very British thing to dislike confidence. In my experience if someone is confident and comfortable in their own skin a lot of people can be jealous if they don't have a lot of self belief themselves.

If you look at other countries, Italy and Spain for example, there are SO many people who are full of confidence!

MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 18:09:55

I don't think anyone has said they don't like it, HugAMoo, it's more a case of how do these people develop that fullness of confidence in the first place?

Vickibee Mon 17-Jun-13 18:11:36

there is a balance between being quietly confident and telling everyone how fantastic you are. I am incredibly shy and terrible at blowing my own trumpet. Wish confidence could be learned

HugAMoo Mon 17-Jun-13 18:19:37

*What I find too is that super confident people manage to convince the world that they are beautiful/wonderful/amazing even if they are not particularly. And they want their own way all the time, and usually get it.
I'm wondering if it's down to being spoilt as a child, or having really doting parents that tell them every 5 minutes how beautiful and wonderful they are? Or if they're just born that way?*

^^ well this doesn't sound like you're too impressed with people who have confidence..

wamabama Mon 17-Jun-13 18:19:49

Confidence is a fantastic trait to have and one we all should have. Confidence is very attractive.

Arrogance and narcissism are entirely different and definitely not attractive traits to have.

There's a fine line between the two. Mainly it's just that arrogant self obsessed people don't see beyond themselves, everything is about them and they think they're the best in the world. Confident people are just genuinely happy being who they are and are able to hold no reservations and go at life. But I can see how the two are mixed up.
I envy confident people and wish I was.

I think some self obsessed people have personality disorders. Others are deeply insecure and mask it with this big facade. And yes I do think some just aren't used to people saying no due to being spoilt as a child. Either way their personality is ugly and most people just laugh behind their backs anyway. I pity them really.

DiseasesOfTheSheep Mon 17-Jun-13 18:23:08

What's that rather salient quotation?

"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt"


TheRealFellatio Mon 17-Jun-13 18:25:56

I have known a few people like the ones you describe and they really get on my tits. I think it's great to have self-confidence but too much is a very unattractive thing. These people are usually quite deluded and narcissistic, I find.

redrubyshoes Mon 17-Jun-13 18:35:48

I have a friend like this and I do laugh quietly when she talks about the problems of 'being beautiful'. In her wedding album there are THREE pictures of her and her new husband together. The rest are a VAST selection of her posing in full model mode and pouting at the camera and staring moodily into the distance. smile

All the uber confident people I have worked with are without exception crap at their jobs and nick other peoples ideas and steal thunder whenever they can. The sad thing is bosses fall for it most of the time.

Yes, you the total cow who won an award at the AGM I am looking at you - you stole, lied and cheated and I have met several variations of you over the years. Identical characters to a tee.

They tend to change jobs with monotonous regularity when they are about to be found out. This is also a character trait.

TheRealFellatio Mon 17-Jun-13 18:51:37

Is your friend beautiful though red? Because I have known so many women who mistake themselves as being beautiful when they are nothing of the sort. They seem to think that having an obsession with grooming, tanning and hairstyling automatically equals being beautiful, and it really doesn't. Some of them have looked like the back of a bus to be honest.

TheSecondComing Mon 17-Jun-13 19:01:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PollyIndia Mon 17-Jun-13 19:03:13

I know people like this, and the thing is, perception is reality, so if they believe they are amazing and gorgeous and talented, then in their world, they are. So it doesn't matter if they are the only ones that think it, as they simply won't see what everyone else see.
As for how they become that confident, I have no idea... Constantly being praised when they are young, but also with an innate confidence and thick skin. Not very self aware or sensitive probably too.

TheRealFellatio Mon 17-Jun-13 19:06:34

It must be quite nice to be like that actually - better than the opposite I suppose! At least you know there's always someone to love you - even if it's only yourself. grin

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 17-Jun-13 19:08:40

It's rarely the genuinely beautiful or talented or highly intelligent people who behave like this; but usually people who are quite average but seem convinced that they're better than everyone else

Yes. Exactly this.

FasterStronger Mon 17-Jun-13 19:12:35

some people have a more accurate self perception than others. IMO, people who have a fragile ego and cannot cope with the fact that reality is not as they wish it to be, and they live in denial that they are beautiful or a genius etc. etc. often they cannot cope with not being super at everything so construct a view of the world which most people do not agree with but cannot deviate from this path, as it would involve facing up to unpalatable truths.

I think really confident people know what they are good at and what they are bad at and happy with themselves knowing both sides of themselves and working with themselves as they are.

redrubyshoes Mon 17-Jun-13 19:14:21


Yep she is pretty but averagely so but is very photogenic. I love her but I want to scream when she talks about being beautiful and the problems it causes her.

She is struggling a bit now that her 13 year old daughter is a 5' 6" willowy blonde and men are looking at her (which we both find just horrible and weird) but she really resents the 'opposition' from her DD.

TheSecondComing Mon 17-Jun-13 19:15:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FasterStronger Mon 17-Jun-13 19:21:53

^ lots of other people seem to agree with them^

I think it is easy to fall for someone's self perception. X and Y work for me. X is very confident in his abilities. Y is much less so.

i see X erode the confidence of Y. X over estimates his abilities. Y sometimes looks crumpled by it.

i am now encouraging Y to be objective and listen to what X actually says evaluate it himself - not just go along X's self perception.

(my view X has strong strengths and sizable weaknesses. Y is much more rounded, sensible, reliable, mature)

FasterStronger Mon 17-Jun-13 19:23:33

I find it bizarre that half of Mumsnet are carting chips on their shoulders about people they deem 'no better than that ought to be'

i don't think there are anything wrong being objective. if someone thinks they are beautiful when they are ok looking - it is very interesting and to me, says something worth understanding about them.

HumpheadWrasse Mon 17-Jun-13 19:26:18

In my experience I've noticed a strong correlation between those with genuine confidence and poise, rather than arrogance, and those who went to private school. I've pondered why that might be - presumably they don't teach them it in lessons?!

FasterStronger Mon 17-Jun-13 19:26:29

inconsistencies are the most fascinating things about people: in this case when someone's self-view is different than the majority's.

TheRealFellatio Mon 17-Jun-13 19:27:28

I am definitely jealous of people who IMO are beautiful - and doubly jealous if they are clever, talented and lovely to boot.

But I am bewildered by people who constantly blow their own trumpets about anything and everything, when I just cannot see that they have any more going for them than the next person, and sometimes less. As I said, self-confidence is a great quality, and self-confidence in itself can make someone otherwise average seem sexy or appealing to others - providing they don't over-do it and just come off like a deluded loon.

Soupa Mon 17-Jun-13 19:30:04

I am supremely confident but only those who know me well would know. I have no idea why so many people are full of self doubt when there is no reason to feel that way. I am well aware that I am average at some stuff and shit at other stuff but this doesn't dent my self belief. I had an ordinary childhood but was shy, unlovely and uncool at primary. I blossomed but by then didn't give two hoots about that kind of stuff and have lived happily ever after.

I really want my children to be confident but have no idea really how to help them. I have made some friends more confident and have caused others to feel less and less confident. It makes me a bit marmite.

redrubyshoes Mon 17-Jun-13 19:30:05


I understand totally where the OP is coming from. I have worked in environments as diverse as surgery, engineering, architecture and education. I have even worked with astronauts.

The quiet ones that hid in the background were the ones you went to for help not the noisy ME ME ME brigade. The quiet ones knew the info you needed and gave it quietly and without fuss.

The egos would only ever divulge information on two counts:

1) It made them look good

2) It made you look bad

I have only ever found one exception to this 'rule' I have applied and he was truly fecking brilliant and knew it.

FasterStronger Mon 17-Jun-13 19:30:23

RF - self-confidence in itself can make someone otherwise average seem sexy or appealing to others i think this is because people are drawn to strength in others - like it will rub off on them.

TheRealFellatio Mon 17-Jun-13 19:30:32

I am not going to pretend I think I am thick, or ugly, or shy, just so I don't offend people? Why would I?

I don't think anyone is suggesting we should all be doing that in order to not be seen as getting above our station, but there has to be a sensible middle ground - and I think most confident people do have that self-awareness. But the odd few are just jaw-droppingly in love with themselves in a way that's not quite normal.

TheSecondComing Mon 17-Jun-13 19:33:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JennySense Mon 17-Jun-13 19:34:38

The BB contestant was living at the Savoy as a resident - that's why she was spending £18K

MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 19:41:23

I think there is a fine line though between confident and total self-obsessed arrogance. I know loads of confident people, and I know a few of the latter too, and I know which type of person I prefer. It's duller than dull having to listen to someone say how wonderful they are all the time. Someone who is truly beautiful/clever/talented/amazing doesn't need to go around telling people about it all the time. They have no need to.

Elquota Mon 17-Jun-13 19:43:33

Some people get accused of standoffishness or arrogance, because they appear self-contained, but actually they're shy and don't know how to talk to others.

redrubyshoes Mon 17-Jun-13 19:44:13

There is confidence and deluded self confidence. I now work in a school where I deal with students who believe they are totally wonderful and therefore have to do no work because mummy/daddy does their homework and please do not think we are too stupid to notice and are untouchable. If they are given a detention Mummy/Daddy will phone and get them out of it.

A friend of mine is a lecturer at a university and has observed in the last ten years a massive increase in parents phoning up to demand why DD/DS did not get an A grade in their last essay because 'they worked sooo hard'. His answer is usually - no they did not work hard, they handed in their paper late or they are lazy fuckers or were hungover.

PollyIndia Mon 17-Jun-13 19:49:19

I totally disagree thesecondcoming. Most of my female friends are self confident and hot but they are good fun and warm and silly and above all, perceptive. The people I know who are just full of themselves don't have that level of self awareness and warmth so you can't ever really connect with them on any meaningful level. I don't think I am explaining myself very well, but I don't think you are either full of yourself or bitter and shrewish with no middle ground.

MrsRhysMeyers Mon 17-Jun-13 19:51:25

I agree, PollyIndia. The people that I know that are arrogant and overconfident have no self awareness, and I agree it is impossible to connect with them. Quite often they are users too, and are fairweather friends with people depending on what that person can offer them.

Dozer Mon 17-Jun-13 19:51:53

I work with a fair few super-confident types (on the surface at least). I don't mean arrogant (some come across that way, but not all). Most of them were privately educated.

ovenchips Mon 17-Jun-13 20:01:49

It's that Katie Hopkins/ Samantha Brick sort of over-confidence in their abilities and looks isn't it? I'm not sure how it comes about but certainly it's much more prevalent in men IMO.

So many women hugely underrate themselves that the ones who overrate themselves stick out. And grate immensely.

redrubyshoes Mon 17-Jun-13 20:03:59

I had a friend once who admitted to me that she had proper 'friends' and 'cup of tea' friends.

I met her years ago when she was a single mum and washing up in a restaurant, then she met Mr Millionaire and classed her friends as above.

The 'proper friends' were her new man's rich friends and her 'cup of tea friends' were the ones who looked after her little boy while she worked, helped her out with cash when she was broke, fixed her boiler as a broke young single mother on benefits etc. She frequently called herself a 'Yummy Mummy' and I remember the day she sewed an Armani label on the back of her M&S jeans to attend a fashion show

She is now divorcing Mr Millionaire and dating a z list celebrity and her 'cup of tea friends' are still in touch but we never contact her.

ColdHandLou Mon 17-Jun-13 20:13:48

Well I have always been painfully shy & DM tried to help my confidence by constantly telling me how pretty/intelligent I was but unfortunately it backfired and I ended up feeling quite freakish and an utter outsider.

I agree that private education gives a lot of people seeming confidence. I also think people are more appealing when they don't embarrass easily - think Boris Johnson on that contraption he got stuck on recently.

yellowvan Mon 17-Jun-13 20:19:22

Is it connected with the high value put on extroversion in our society? You have to be outgoing and full of self belief to get anywhere in so many walks of life. sadly, a confident person is much much more likely to get promoted than a shy one even when they are less talented and 'their confidence writes cheques their abilities can't cash." I've seen this many times. Confidence is all. it is THE most highly prized trait in work and in love. No wonder so many 'fake it til they make it'.

HollyBerryBush Mon 17-Jun-13 20:26:56

Do you really think she is confident? really?

I know I’m spoiled, but I need my parents to buy me things to prove they love me

hey - that's the mantra of most a lot of children across the country who have suffered a parental break up .... play one off against the other because a lot of parents are so screwed up with point scoring and using a child as a weapon - presents = love. She just has richer parents.

So do you still think she is confident? Or crying out to be loved? she in turn will be buying people because she can afford to.

I pity her, another product of a broken home.

Samu2 Mon 17-Jun-13 20:34:01

I am a photographer and I have seen amazing photographers do really badly and plenty of crap ones do really well. And when I say crap I mean crap.

The crap ones believed they were amazing and people seemed to believe them. They are amazing at selling themselves.

I find it amazing too. I know someone who isn't beautiful or amazing but she thinks she is and people hang off her every word. I think it's amazing.

Samu2 Mon 17-Jun-13 20:34:44

OMG I said amazing way too many times blush

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Jun-13 21:51:32

Being 'amazing' at selling yourself just means you keep going though. You pick up the phone again, you make another 20 cold calls before you leave for the day, or you use every possible opportunity to network and promote yourself positively. That doesn't mean you have to be icky or brassy - but it does mean not doing what I think thesecondcoming referred to as that 'shucks, me' thing that a lot of women do.

Everyone can be amazing at selling themselves - it's not solely the preserve of the confident or even of extroverts. It's just repetition.

deste Mon 17-Jun-13 22:36:56

Yes I know one too and she was an only child. Constantly posts photos from holidays and all her "admirers" tell her how stunning and beautiful she is. Goes to two different resorts in the same country every year and I think everyone wants to be her "best" friend if you get what I mean. Constantly speaks about her inheritance which we take with a pinch of salt. She bought the biggest car she could to impress everyone and within two weeks relalised she had made a mistake. If anyone has a friend, before you know it she is their new best friend, texting and phoning them all the time. How sad.

thebody Mon 17-Jun-13 22:46:38

I think confidence is something you are born with. I have none and my dm has none.

Despite praising my kids to the sky's 2 are quietly confident and 2 are most certainly not.

Uppatreecuppatea Mon 17-Jun-13 23:23:15

Private schools. They imbue this in the children and you can see it even in small children. The Big Brother contestants are a red herring and just a bunch of chancers.

They are just taught to be and to expect the best. Look at our MPs.

candyandyoga Mon 17-Jun-13 23:44:06

See, I don't see people who are like that as supremely confident. I see them as supreme cunts...
What sort of twat looks in the mirror and thinks they are the most beautiful/better than others/best person ever?!

A twatty, cunty, SAD person!

candyandyoga Mon 17-Jun-13 23:44:37

Confidence is being comfortable with who you are and how you live your life, not thinking you are better than others.

missingmumxox Mon 17-Jun-13 23:57:59

I am super confident, not arrogant like the people on the apprentice I hope they make my skin crawl, not sure I would have answered this AIBU if I hadn't been on a study day today and my old boss was there, she is very like me and i really like her as I don't feel the need to explain myself with her but I found she hogged the session, and I wondered if I did this and I hate to conclude I do, but on the plus side only if there is no one else as in the whole room who will ask questions.
the study was great and about peoples motivating factors and I realised the only odd trait I have is I am not easily embarrassed and don't mind making a fool of myself, as in I will always ask the stupid question, I am of the opinion that if I need to ask then there will be others who don't know (and there be my arrogance, just realised writing this, if I don't understand then bound to be someone else who doesn't, good god I am getting a true picture of myself in this post, lol) and if someone else in the room thinks less of me for it then fine, that is their issue not mine, I want to learn.
I was not always like this, I was the kid who was picked on at school, not good at exams and a little quirky, (but if I am honest, I didn't want to change,) went to college and found that my quirkiness made me stand out, I was suddenly popular a party wasn't a party unless I was invited, people I hardly knew would ask me If I was going in order to decide if they would, which I found odd! I would only want to go to a party if I knew good friends where going, in fact I shunned parties and night clubbing as I would rather be in an old man's pub talking with friends.
I think being confident is something you are born with, My Mum wasn't confident, her dad was arrogant, my dad was confident but could on occasion be arrogant, I am confident,)bet I can be arrogant sometimes) but I always question what I know, and if I don't know the answer I am confident enough to tell people I don't know, but will find out for them, so mix of Mum and Dad

BackforGood Tue 18-Jun-13 00:13:40

I think you are lumping confidence and arrogance together when they are different things. I'm also amazed that you think having confidence is in anyway linked with looking beautiful.
I'd say I'm fairly confident. I'd never in a million years describe myself as even a little bit good looking, let alone beautiful. They say I have a good face for radio wink.
I would consider confidence to be a real asset in a person, not a negative trait at all.

<Am only commenting on what you have written, not on the person you are describing as I've no idea who they are - they may well be arrogant>

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Tue 18-Jun-13 00:17:38

I think TSC speaks a lot of sense.

I used to go around feeling horribly ugly, fat, etc. etc. and feeling self-conscious. I imagine it was fairly boring for other people; it was definitely boring for me! I see younger women (particularly) who do this and I want to shake them and tell them 'just tell yourself you look nice! Believe it!'

Same with intelligence.

However, what I do think matters a lot is using your own confidence to make other people feel better. If you're one of those people who can talk the talk about yourself, you ought to be able to reassure other people they're doing well when they are.

missingmumxox Tue 18-Jun-13 00:22:57

BackforGood missed that bit, I am way off good looking, you say you have been told you have a good face for radio...that happened to me in real life, I was filmed out and about for a children program, like Blue Peter in Kenya "Youth in Action" they bluntly told me I would not be interviewed in the studio as I looked "old" I was 25, but they would like me to do the interview on the radio. thank you KBC I dine out on that story often smile

BackforGood Tue 18-Jun-13 00:25:35

I, at least, have only been told by family hmm

SinisterBuggyMonth Tue 18-Jun-13 00:38:15

I used to work at a local paper. The sales team were a supremely over confident bunch, loud, laughing, talking about themselve, flirting constantly. I used to shrink behind my computer and wish wonder why I couldn't be more like them.

A few years later I ran into a ex colleague who was pretty close to the sales team. Apparently all but one of them was on cocaine! They pretty much needed it to function. It explained a lot!

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 00:53:50

I'm not going to read all the replies because I am desperate to develop a bigger ego. I don't want to be told it's sociopathic, or fake, or this that and the other negative - everything's on a continuum, including narcissism. Mine's somewhat below average and I want it to be somewhat above! I believe a slightly inflated ego is healthy. I'm dead pissed off that I didn't make the most of being beautiful, young and clever when I was, but thought I was shit.

I think of Beth in Corrie grin Her unshakeable faith in her own fabulousness doesn't stop her being a decent person, it makes her a happy and fun person! I've known people like her in real life and I want some of what they have.

I've unearthed my old copy of Ultimate Confidence (Marisa Peer) and am going to do it thoroughly this time - I did it sort of half-heartedly a while back, and it sort of worked.

I'll be the ageing, unwell woman with the bad hair, who sparkles with joie de vivre and magnetic confidence. Say hello when you see me wink

TheRealFellatio Tue 18-Jun-13 05:52:56

I think we are all drawn to people with joie de vivre and confidence, and we all want to be that person. In fact I am often told I am that person, confused which is news to me, as I never feel anywhere near as confident as people tell me I am, so I think I must put on a good act! But I think (or at least I hope) that that confidence doesn't always translate as being 'full of oneself' because that's very tedious for everyone else around you, although I am sure that all very confident people risk crossing that line at times.

It depends what you mean by confidence though. My DH says one of the reasons he loves me is because he can plonk me in a room full of strangers anywhere and no matter what they do or where they come from I can find some common ground with them, chat easily, make people laugh, and ask them lots about themselves, which is the way to get people to like you. When you are placed at a table next to someone you've never met before, and you reflect at the end of the night on whether you liked them, you base your opinion not on what you felt about them but on how they made you feel about yourself. There is a very fine balance between having something interesting to say, and holding court so that it becomes the Me Show, which will win you no fans.

If someone who has bombarded you all day with 'what's so great about me is....' is not going to make a very favourable impression. Whereas someone who has said 'What's so great about you....' is another matter. So long as they can find an angle that sounds sincere. I have mixed with lots of very polished and accomplished 'salesmen' types, highly skilled and successful networkers and political gameplayers. They all come across as having this incredible confidence and all the learned tricks of likability (asking all about you) but only the very, very clever ones manage to seem sincere. Or to remember a damn thing you've said to them next time they meet you. Because they don't really care about the answers to their questions - they don't ant to get to know you really, they are just going through the motions to make you love them, and I can see through most of them in two seconds flat.

My 'schtick' revolves around being self-deprecating and putting myself down a lot. Not in a depressing 'woe is me' way that has people looking over their shoulder for the nearest exit, but in a breezy, jokey way that makes people laugh but probably leaves them thinking I am being falsely modest about my own abilities. I don't know why I do it and I wish I didn't, but it's not an act - I mean it! I do have a pretty low opinion of my own abilities most of the time.

Self confidence can result in either arrogance or likability. The difference between likability and arrogance is the presence of a bit of humility. If that means I have to put myself down a little from time to time then I am okay with that. If it means I never rule an empire then I am okay with that too. No point being massively successful if everyone secretly thinks you're an arse.

Look at Xenia - I've never heard her utter a word that lacks conviction or confidence, nor show the tiniest shred of humility. She seems to have zero self-awareness or empathy. She is undoubtedly very successful and I admire her hugely. But would do I think I'd like her and do I want to be her? God, no.

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 06:23:18

I have no problem with super confident types .....except the ones who are always right!
The two things do seem to go a little bit hand-in-hand.
My XH was a classic example, to the extent that he hated "lets agree to differ" because there was a tacit implication that he might possibly be wrong.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 18-Jun-13 06:33:51

Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides.

I would hazard a guess that most of these apparently super confident people are fairly messed up underneath

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 08:25:00

Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides I think this is v important. its very easy to look at people who apparently have 'it all' and compare you own lot unfavourably when the reality is much more complex.

that said I dont think real confidence relates to feeling beautiful or rich but involves feeling 'good enough' in your own skin. I don't think it involves making comparisons with others.

I also think the whole public school confidence is an act (talk authoritatively in a posh voice) but it is a technique that works repeatedly so instils a confidence by creating success.

ophelia275 Tue 18-Jun-13 08:48:06

I also wonder about this. Especially with people like MP's who seem to have some sort of confidence where real world rules and morality don't apply to them. I think it is probably a case of parents always telling them how wonderful and brilliant they were plus natural arrogance that nobody ever put them in their place for.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 08:53:07

I often wonder the same as the OP. Some people never cease to amaze me, the way they behave, you would think they piss rainbows and shit unicorns. I know a few people like this.

Bonsoir Tue 18-Jun-13 09:04:40

Self-deprecation is widely acknowledged to be a personal quality in English culture, and one of the corollaries of that is that over self- confidence is often frowned upon.

Chigley1 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:21:51

My kids go to an Indy school, not a posh one, but good, and they have drama lessons in which they are taught manners and how to conduct themselves confidently. Holding eye contact, polite conversation etc. it's all done with games and stuff but it makes such a difference. As a state primary teacher

Chigley1 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:22:43

As a state primary teacher I know such skills are not explicitly taught. Perhaps they should be.

OnTheNingNangNong Tue 18-Jun-13 09:57:50

I would love to know how some do exude self confidence and learn a few lessons from it. I distinctly remember calling myself worthless as a young child, and it is difficult to shake that feeling off.

Arrogance is a horrible trait to have, I would hate to be arrogant and a narcissist.

RoooneyMara Tue 18-Jun-13 10:03:24

I thought this would be a thread about Saatchi. Fwiw this is how he comes across to me - someone who has never had cause to doubt his own importance.

I think you can cause a child to feel this way by certain parental behaviours. What is known as 'spoiling' them I suppose - not by responding to their needs, but by allowing them to behave as though they are superior to other people, instead of teaching them that they are equal.

I know nothing about Saatchi but I imagine that he was brought up to think that he could do anything and it was ok.

Maybe there is something in the Iraqui culture too - I don't know. But i have known a fair few men from that culture who seemed to be very narciccistic and believe that women (their mother for example) are not to be respected and that they can basically throw their weight around like giant belligerent toddlers, and get away with it.

So it may be a culrural thing or it may not.

RoooneyMara Tue 18-Jun-13 10:03:35


RoooneyMara Tue 18-Jun-13 10:04:46

narcissistic sorry, feeding a VERY wriggly 6mo and trying to eat crisps blush I CAN spell, honest...

TheRealFellatio Tue 18-Jun-13 10:10:57

Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides.

I would hazard a guess that most of these apparently super confident people are fairly messed up underneath

I completely agree.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 10:23:52

super confidence = " The lady doth protest too much methinks"

it is very needy to think you are inherently better than others.

daisychain01 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:19:58

This is a very interesting and enjoyable debate! Perhaps as with many things in life, such as the state of happiness itself, confidence can ebb and flow, and I am sure nobody is confident all the time, even if they put on an appearance of being so. We all go through periods of doubt and feeling everyone else is better/more intelligent/funnier/more attractive than we are. We dont live inside other people's bodies to know the truth, hence judging people by snapshots is not satisfactory (we only see those folk some of the time so any appearance they may give could be sometimes about 'keeping up appearances'). I do it some of the time at work, in a competitive environment, when it isnt acceptable to be human and have a bad hair day! We all try to cope in our own way. Self-esteem which is what I try to focus on says "i'm OK you're OK" I will cut you some slack, and hope you will cut me some slack. I do that because its the way I prefer to live my life... That in itself generates a feel good factor... Then it doesnt matter what people around me do, or say. I am too busy enjoying time on this planet to get caught up in the minutiae - believe me it has taken many years of "beating myself up" to evolve my thinking in this way ;-)

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 14:35:36

We all go through periods of doubt and feeling everyone else is better/more intelligent/funnier/more attractive than we are
....unless you happen to be my XH !!

changeforthebetter Tue 18-Jun-13 14:40:03

<doffs sun hat to Diseases> that is a magnificent quote! grin

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 15:01:26

Bonsoir, I agree this is a particularly English quality. An international business course I attended had to make a special point to English delegates, that we tend to use self-deprecation as an ice-breaker but most audiences will take us at our word! They will think "They're here to show off the best of themselves, yet they're telling us this? They must be awful!"

I like American self-esteem. I realise there are plenty of Americans on either side of healthy self-esteem; I'm talking about your average American compared to your average Brit. They have a sense of being a gift to the world - the very thing that British culture(s) tend to knock out of us as being 'too full of yourself'. It's quite possible to enjoy high self-worth and decent humility. In my opinion, it gives people an attractive glow and enhances their life experience.

Confidence itself waxes and wanes, I think - it's not so long since I had very high confidence. Events knocked that out of me. But they were able to knock it out, because my confidence was pinned on certain accomplishments: work success; polished appearance; that sort of thing, rather than any intrinsic belief in my own fabulousness. If I were raising children now, I'd tell and show them, repeatedly, how fantastic they are! None of this "don't boast" rubbish, I'd have them showing off as often as possible - and appreciating others' show-offs, too smile

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 15:02:40

Soupa ....have just read through more of the thread, and found your post regarding your confidence, and not understanding why some people are full of self doubt.
You probably answered that question with your next sentence .... "I had an ordinary childhood".

If you are constantly criticised as a child, if nothing you can do is ever sufficient to please, if your day to day safety depends on being able to read whether an adult has woken up in a good mood or not .... then self esteem just doesn't happen. You have no confidence in yourself. You learn from a very early age that your contribution is not only worthless but may make a situation worse for you. Just to compound the problem, there is a strong chance that you will marry someone who actually perpetuates the behaviours (again, to some degree or another).

If this sounds like an exaggeration, it is not. It is reality - to greater or lesser degree - for thousands of people. Most would be green with envy simply to feel that their place wasn't normally "in the wrong". It is partially fixable .....a long time sorting it out has let me learn to be "opinionated" while still feeling "safe" (at least anonymously smile ) but in person .....challenged? .... spot the mouse in the corner, who would rather chew off a finger than 'roar'.

BoshBosh Tue 18-Jun-13 15:06:30

Garlicnutty, I too think the American self esteem is great! I wonder why the average american has such good self esteem? I'd be interested to know the secret. I watch a lot of Youtube journals and vlogs by American women and they all have good self esteem and are very confident, but not in a cocky, arrogant way, more of in a captivating, entertaining way that makes watching their videos a real pleasure

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 15:08:21

MumnGran, you've just described my personal issue! Thanks. Shedloads of training and therapy have, variously, given me adequate tools to 'manage' the problem but, as you've said, these are partial fixes. I want a solid ego. No, let's change that: I want a big, shiny, solid ego grin

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 15:09:07

YY, Bosh, captivating and entertaining! It is, isn't it smile

iwantanafternoonnap Tue 18-Jun-13 15:13:39

I work with a girl who thinks she is utterly amazing, is loud, talks about herself and seriously can't understand why she is single. Could be because she gets on everyone's nerves, is considered big headed and a annoys everyone by constantly talking about herself!! I think it is arrogance rather than confidence!

Oblongata Tue 18-Jun-13 15:18:26

OP I've wondered this for years. I've had a few friends/pals like this, and I do like them, but it's not hugely satisfying to be around people who believe their own hype.

I think they
- have one or more parents who actively talk their child up all the time, well into adulthood, and are really generous in public with their praise
- have been used to being photographed from an early age, a lot, and have had photos of themselves everywhere
- are possibly youngest in the family
- are naturally extroverted anyway
- are ruthless about cultivating people who are useful to them, and cooling off with people who have outlived their social usefulness
- take a scattergun approach to ideas, therefore seem full of energy and positivity, even if relatively little comes of it (let's not mention that though)
- are quite naturally sunny

I'm quite introverted and I find I can't cope when forced to be super confident like this. I'm learning, though, not to take it absolutely personally when a properly confident friend flits from person to person, project to project, with not as much follow-through as I need.

BoshBosh Tue 18-Jun-13 15:20:12

Someone constantly talking about oneself and thinking they are amazing than everyone else is definitely arrogance. Those types of people are usually very unpopular, in my experience. I was at college with one, and although at first people went along with it, after a year of her constant talk about herself and how she was too beautiful to go into town as so many men looked at her , many got fed up with her, and she didn't really make any real friends on the course. I have kept in touch with her on a superficial level over the years, and even now, at 36, she is still like it and thinks she is better than others.

It's hard to put your finger on what true confidence/great self esteem is. I would say it's someone who is quite positive about life in general and is a nice person, but not so nice that they are walked over. Someone who doesn't partake in bitching, or putting others down in order to make themselves feel good. And someone who is just happy in themselves and what they are/have/do.

Oblongata Tue 18-Jun-13 15:22:43

Chigley I could not agree more (have a child who needs this tbh).
There is something really good about being properly listened to and having your needs met. I have a couple of people in my life MIL for one who can only pay attention to people if they are physically sitting down and have said 'Right, now is my time to listen to you', and I find it very draining and undermining.
Some of the nicest and best people I know just have that skill of paying you the right amount of attention and enjoying it in return.

TheSecondComing Tue 18-Jun-13 19:36:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Jun-13 19:55:54

TSC, I may have got this wrong as am crap at remembering posters - are you an NLP aficionado? I think there's a basic "I'm OK, you're OK" premise in NLP; a belief that everyone has greatness within them. The affirmative idea, that each person has a "best they can be" which is truly great, would seem either liberating or threatening depending on your start position. I have, in the past, found it unbearably demanding. At other times, though, I've been well up for it. Am pretty sure this comes down, again, to inner self-belief.

TSC-you remind me of my younger sister-in a good way! She was a firecracker and a bit of a stunner as a younger woman-but had (has) a chutzpah that made people gravitate towards her. Now she is in her early 40's and her bloom-physically has dimmed a bit, she's still sharp, funny, engaging, confident and people still gravitate to her. Her cards haven't always been good uns in life, but she's a positive person with oodles of self belief. No faux modesty, but not obnoxious either. Confidence is sexy.

TheSecondComing Tue 18-Jun-13 20:45:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amigababy Tue 18-Jun-13 21:28:04

dh is uber confident, but only in his chosen area of work, where he also works harder than anyone else in the department that he leads, and would be able to do anyone else's job there. people love him and work really hard for him because they know he is part of the team but will lead in the right direction and not let them down. His confidence breeds confidence.
Outside, he is shy but sociable with people he knows well. Comprehensive educated just very clever and good with people.
I am "book clever " but have no confidence ( see mumngrans post which explains things perfectly.)
I prefer to stay at home where I feel safe. Privately educated but on a scholarship, school didn't impart a confidence package to me.

If you have a genuine ability and also empathy, and a secure background , I think you will be confident not arrogant

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 21:37:15

Second ... I think you are OK. Narcissists never question themselves for a moment. Just doesn't happen. Oxymoron.

Soupa Tue 18-Jun-13 22:35:24

Yeah mumngran, I was being brief and crap. I didn't mean to sound so disrespectful of people working heard to feel ok. What I meant was my childhood was ordinarily crap really (optimist too maybe?) dad had mh issues that flared sporadically and meant I often didn't know what I would wake up to. Mum was very controlling andI was adopted and kept very safe and separate from my peers. My parents were great too but definitely flawed, I meant it wasn't obviously a childhood to make you confident. I was very overburdened by responsibility for both parents. Additionally I wore an eye patch(for ages!) had awful hair and clothes (mini me of my mother..the horror) and was state educated too. I was shy and nervous and scared for years but all that evaporated and left an oddly solid citizen behind, am not a super loud brazen type generally but am confident. So it's more that I know people of great awesomeness who are so incredible at what they do, at who they are, who were well parented and schooled yet who still lack confidence yet I don't but don't really know why.

MumnGran Tue 18-Jun-13 22:58:15

Oh Soupa, I didn't mean to sound as though I was reacting negatively and am sorry if my post inferred that; just that the phrase 'ordinary childhood' was such a good jumping off point to highlight the root of low self esteem for so many people.
I am sorry your childhood was also awkward, and glad that the adult you feels secure in her own skin!

Soupa Tue 18-Jun-13 23:26:16

Oh bless you mumngran, no you were right it came out all wrong. 'Awkward' is such a good term for my childhood.

And on a related note I do have one friend who is relentlessly vocal about her aceness, never gets why contracts aren't renewed or relationships fizzle etc. she worked for me and drove me to distraction, she kept trying to be my friend too and didn't mind rebuffs. I had to sack her and still she was friendly, at this point I realised that she was actually fabulous and I was an idiot not to see her great points. We are good friends now and whilst at very different points in our lives still love to catch up and I still love her chutzpah . Her confidence borders on the delusional sometimes but she is great funsmile

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 05:48:41

I've just seen something pop up on my facebook feed and I think it's very apt, and one of the great things about getting older and becoming more confident and comfortable in your own skin. It says:

I used to walk into a room full of people
And wonder if they liked me

Now I look around and wonder
if I like them.

grin I'm sharing that fo sho.

Vickibee Wed 19-Jun-13 11:24:58

I beleive you are born with certain personality traits and you carry them with you all your life, it is very difficult to learn confidence

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 11:29:57

going back to the op, I think part of how you perceive your talents, is related to your expectations.

I personally would not say I was good at something if I was only better than average. I am also surprised how G&T (which means the top 10%) is valued by parents as to me it needs to be top few per cent or less to be meaningful.....

I did A level maths in 6 weeks and got an A (and an S level) so I have specific views about what good is grin grin grin

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 12:15:34

It doesn't even mean the top 10% overall Faster. It just means the top 10% in your cohort. All it does is give thousands of parents an unrealistic idea of their child's supposed 'gift'. confused

ARealDame Wed 19-Jun-13 12:19:02

I haven't really met anyone as described by OP, though as maybe I am not privately-educated, have little power and not useful to them in real life, they wouldn't bother to cultivate me!!! grin. I'm not really attracted to such people either, tbh, it can feel a little forced. Quiet confidence, or someone with confidence but a lot of wisdom is much more attractive in my books.

The kind of super-self-confidence that annoys me is for example when a young woman at the GP surgery yesterday just spent the whole time on her mobile ('cos she is young and sexy and happening and sick people waiting around her are just whatever!)

Perhaps, this kind of genuine super-confidence is usually only apparent when people are young and privileged. But even then, that will usually be countered by age and the knowledge that we are all vulnerable, in the end.

And I agree with those who say a lot of talented and valuable women in UK lack confidence sad.

I think the difference between here and abroad though is interesting, whether US or the Continent.

p.s. Note, alot of the super-confident in The Apprentice have gone in the first half!

Anyway, must go, Millionaire Matchmaker is on grin, wow there's some confident people on there!

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:26:58

I guess the other thing is: did your un-interviewed ? secondment pass over someone else ?

Swings and roundabouts ?

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:27:41

Wrong thread, ignore! blush

garlicnutty Wed 19-Jun-13 14:34:30

Vickibee, while I'd agree that we're all born with an individual mix traits & characteristics, I dispute that any child is born without the potential for confidence. All babies are narcissists. What happens as they learn about their separateness from the world around them, and about interdependence, shapes their belief in their own strengths growing up.

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 14:52:39

I think every single person's personality/character is a unique blend of nature and nurture. If we could all play lead role in a film of our life like Sliding Doors, then we could all have an infinite number of personalities, depending on how many alternative plots ran simultaneously.

The 'recipes' for each of our personalities would first be based on the character we were born with, and then shaped by our early experiences, whether we had siblings, the sibling birth order, age gaps, the relationship between our parents, the individual family dynamics and circumstances of the people around us, whether we experienced fear or complete security as a child, whether we were short of food; in fact there is an infinite number of variables that could potentially affect the person we end up as.

I like to think that if I'd had less shit in my early life I'd be monumentally successful at something or other by now. grin

cumfy Wed 19-Jun-13 14:54:12

These uber-confident individuals are typically uber-confident paradoxically, because they are crap at stuff.

Their very lack of proficiency at stuff and objectively evaluating themselves and others is ironically precisely what enables them to be blind to others virtues and their own inadequacies.

There are social psychology studies showing that the least competent people actually rating themselves far more highly than competent people do.

Whereas, people who are highly competent are generally only too aware of pitfalls and imperfectability of human action and observant of their own errors and near-misses to rate themselves highly.

Disclaimer: This comes from someone who can't even post in the right thread

NicknameTaken Wed 19-Jun-13 15:26:42

*Confidence is a fantastic trait to have and one we all should have. Confidence is very attractive.

Arrogance and narcissism are entirely different and definitely not attractive traits to have.

There's a fine line between the two*

Thanks for this wama. It's so obvious now you say it, but you have articulated an important distinction - it's a mistake I made when choosing my ex....

I've been told I come across as confident, possibly overly so at times. It's compensation (and sometimes over-compensation) for the fact that I don't feel like that inside. I recently started a new job and I'm having to carefully monitor my self-talk, because if I'm not careful I'll be telling myself I'm so stupid and so slow at grasping things and I don't deserve to be here at all. I'm doing my best to fake it till I make it, but you probably wouldn't guess if you met me (or maybe you would. It's possibly I'm more transparent than I think).

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 17:39:55

I'm doing my best to fake it till I make it, but you probably wouldn't guess if you met me

I think you have just articulated the innermost feelings of 95% of successful, competent people. Then there is the other 5% who are blessed with unwavering confidence in their own ability and/or charm. But they are very much in the minority. Most people suspect deep down that they've bluffed their way up the corporate ladder, and are always one mistake away from being exposed as a fraud.

Of course the ones who really do bluff their way through are the ones with oodles of misplaced confidence or plain arrogance, and they are very, very lucky if they never come unstuck.

TheRealFellatio Wed 19-Jun-13 17:41:46

And I refuse to believe that the only way to succeed is trample on people and be a bastard or a backstabber.

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