The Red flags of Smugness and Glibness
Smugness and glibness are red flags for the most serious types of character pathology. In fact, they’re the traits most common to society’s most dangerous predators. So, it’s worth understanding these personality characteristics in greater depth. And it’s also helpful to understand why you should be very wary of anyone who displays them.
The Nature of Smugness
Smugness can is primarily defined as excessive pride in oneself or excessive self-satisfaction. Smug folks have a characteristic demeanor that suggests they feel more than confident. And it also suggests they feel more than a bit superior. Smugness is a sign that the person just knows how much better they are, and isn’t at all ashamed to show it.
It’s important to realize how vast and complex the narcissism spectrum is. (See: Narcissism Spectrum.) That’s especially true in our times, when a culture steeped in egocentricity and entitlement fosters so much narcissism. I’ve written before on the major varieties of narcissism, including the more malignant types. And while all narcissists are problem characters, the smug ones can be particularly dangerous. Their sense of superiority and entitlement can, in fact, be lethal. And that’s even more true when besides being smug, they are also glib (see section below).
Some folks have the ability to come across in a smooth, confident way. They often have a way with words and a gift for gab. “Smooth,” perhaps too smooth, is how many describe such folks. (This is the “slick” salesperson type). Glib folks are often the most shallow of characters. But they can display remarkable interpersonal facility. They seem at ease in any situation, confident that they can sway and charm. See also: Sometimes Charm Should Sound An Alarm.) Folks well-developed in their own character might sense the superficiality of this, however. They intuitively sense a lack of sincerity and genuineness. And they intuitively sense possible danger, too. But folks not all that secure with themselves or who are to some extent naive might well be taken in.
Glibness and Smugness Together
Neither glibness nor smugness are definitive signs of severe character pathology. But nature’s only known intra-species predators – psychopaths – are notorious for being both smug and glib. Psychopaths have a chilling sense of being superior to us lower creatures. You, know, creatures with qualms, principles, … consciences! We hesitate to do the unthinkable. They don’t. No empathy. Cold heart. And they see us as inherently inferior, and therefore, rightful prey. We’re like the ants to them. We can be stepped on and discarded without a second thought.
It’s important to be wary of someone’s glibness and/or smugness. While not definitive signs, they are nonetheless significant red flags. And as I say in my books In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance, pay attention to your intuition. If someone’s smoothness and satisfaction with themselves unnerves you, protect yourself, and stay away!
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