#1. People Who Are Too Arrogant to Argue
If you ask most people to picture an arrogant person, they will get an image of some opinionated guy, confidently laying out his beliefs like gospel for all to hear. Lots of people don't care much for that. They like quieter folks. And it's true that there are some quiet people out there who are humble. Of course, some are just riddled with so much insecurity that they would never dream of expressing their thoughts and feelings out loud. But there is a third category of reserved people who are not meek, humble or even unsure of themselves. And even though you'll never see them getting down into the muck of contrary opinions, they are not without strong points of view. These are the people who are simply too arrogant to even think of arguing with you.
"Right. That's interesting that you think that. I have a different point of view I won't be sharing with you."
Oddly, because they speak quietly or not at all, some people view them as mature or responsible. If you force them to speak, you'll get some sort of beleaguered drawl designed not to test the validity of their point of view against a focus group of people, but to shut down any further inquiry. I find these people more obnoxious, overbearing and, most of all, insufferably arrogant than any loudmouths pontificating their beliefs for all to hear.
Why? Well, let's start by realizing there are two reasons for expressing an opinion. Yes, for some (like dictators, I guess), expressing opinions is about bullying others into believing you, but that's hardly the rule. Many people express opinions to elucidate, to validate and even to test the accuracy of their own beliefs. Certainly, for myself, expressing opinions is meant to be the start of a conversation. Speaking with conviction is not synonymous with closing down conversation. Some of the best moments of being alive are having someone change your mind. And in the process of debate, even subtle disagreements can refine your analysis, making your own beliefs clearer to you. It is a basis of interaction. Unless your opinions are only didactic and you simply do not want to hear a response, expressing opinions can be an act of humility. The speaker is saying I care enough about you to tell you something and I'm interested enough that I believe there's a possibility there is something you might teach me. Maybe that explains why I create opinionated, sometimes vitriolic stuff for the Net, but still wade through the comments it generates on the chance someone can teach me something.
Sometimes it's a very difficult search ...
But why wouldn't someone take the time to argue? Often, it's because their mind is already made up. They simply do not believe there is anything that another can teach them. They have formed their views and have no desire to test it against another person. Maybe they do have people they respect, a trusted cadre of advisers, but if they're not arguing with you, then you know for sure you're not one of them. You don't rate. They have nothing to learn from you. So who's more overbearingly arrogant and obnoxious: the guy spouting his beliefs at you or the dude who wouldn't even think to bother to respond to yours?
The answer will not be found in the new episode of HATE BY NUMBERS. But watch anyway. Also, be sure to follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.