How To Know If You’re Flirting With Entitlement?
Statistics demonstrate a rising trend in entitlement that is believed to be influenced by factors including societal values, cultural values, and rising individualism.

Have you noticed an increase in the sense of entitlement in daily engagements? It’s not your imagination! Statistics demonstrate a rising trend in entitlement that is believed to be influenced by factors including societal values, cultural values, and rising individualism. A study from the University of Hampshire reported that young people scored 25% higher than those aged 40 to 60 and 50% higher than those over that age. That report and several others warn that entitlement breeds resentment and resentment increases entitlement, along with cycles of disappointment, anger, negativity, and a constant need for an individual to convince themselves that they are “special”.

How do you know if you’re flirting with entitlement, what concerns should you have, and how do you change for the better?


Recognizing some symptoms of entitlement may be a good starting point in your journey to understand it and overcome it. Here are five signs that might indicate a sense of entitlement.

  1. A Self-Absorbed View of The World: Having little regard or empathy for your impact on others. For example, imagine if you’re frequently late for meetings and despite knowing that your tardiness disrupts the schedule and wastes others’ time, you make no effort to change your behaviour while possibly justifying your lateness with excuses without considering how your actions affects others.


  1. Uncompromising Attitude: Demonstrating a lack of understanding of others’ needs and social situations. For example, imagine if you insist on playing loud music late at night in a shared living space. Despite your awareness that your neighbour might be disturbed by the noise, you continue to play your loud music, dismissing any requests to lower the volume because you believe you have the right to enjoy your music in your own space. Your own desires and rights are prioritized over the needs and comfort of others.


  1. Double Standards: Showing inflexibility to the requests of others while making unrealistic demands, at times oblivious that your personal happiness comes at the others’ expense. For example, consider a situation where your friend always chooses the movie, restaurant, or activity without considering your preferences. They may argue that they’re better than you at deciding and disregard your request for a more equal approach. They may not realize that their insistence on having their way could be affecting your enjoyment of the friendship.


  1. Need For Special Treatment: Believing that you deserve special treatment such that there is an expectation of receiving preferential treatment and special favours in life without regard for why you should be treated specially. For example, imagine if you frequently dine at a busy restaurant and your expectation is that you are seated immediately upon arrival, without a reservation. You also believe that you should always receive the best table and complimentary items because you are a regular customer and when you don’t, you become upset and start complaining to the staff, while disregarding the restaurant’s policies or needs of other customers. It’s a mindset that expects preferential treatment as a given, rather than something to be earned.


  1. High Demands: Believing that regardless of what you have in your life, that you deserve more. For example, your comfortable home, steady employment, and the company of good family and friends still leaves you dissatisfied and wanting a bigger house, higher paying job, and more successful family and friends as you constantly compare yourself to others’, feeling shortchanged or like you’re missing out.


These are only a few signs of entitlement that you should consider in your self-evaluation.


If you exhibit one or more of the signs of entitlement, that could lead to serious challenges in your life. Some of those challenges can manifest themselves in your personal and professional life as pitfalls like:

  1. Relationship Conflict: Where you may disregard the feelings and needs of others, leading to misunderstandings and disagreements.

  2. Unhappiness: Where you feel unhappy because you feel you’re not getting what you deserve, and the constant dissatisfaction can lead to a persistent feeling of unhappiness.

  3. Disappointment and Depression: Where frustration sets in when your expectations are not met. Over time, the constant feeling of disappointment and unhappiness can lead to depression.

  4. Poor Work Ethic and Damage to Professional Relationships: You may experience a lack of accountability at work, with a diminished willingness to collaborate. You may also lack team spirit at work and avoid problem-solving in the workplace. Your decisions become more self-serving, which can become apparent to co-workers.

  5. Mental and Emotional Damage: You may develop an unrealistic belief in being inherently deserving without proportional effort or consideration for others.


Some of the pitfalls of entitlement are serious enough to consider seeking help from a mental health professional as they highlight the importance of recognizing and addressing entitlement tendencies for personal growth and healthy relationships.


Another area that can be helpful in overcoming entitlement is understanding the factors that may contribute to your sense of entitlement. For example:

  1. Environment: This includes societal and cultural factors that you are exposed to as you mature.


  1. Parenting: The way your parents have treated you plays a role in your entitlement development. For example, if your parents solved all your problems, it may have shielded you from consequences, which lead to a sense of entitlement.


  1. Authority Figures: If you have received special treatment from an authority figure, it may trigger a belief that you deserve such treatment in all aspects of your life.


  1. Narcissistic Personality: Entitlement is an NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and certain personality disorders like an NPD, may lead to a sense of entitlement.


  1. Media Influence: Messages from various media sources can also contribute to your sense of entitlement.


If the entitlement discovery journey has led you to better understand the characteristics, pitfalls, and factors contributing to entitlement, you may also want to explore opportunities to overcome any sense of entitlement. Here are five strategies that may help:


  1. Recognize the Feeling of Entitlement: Recognize and acknowledge your feelings of entitlement. Reflect on your behaviour and/or attitudes and identify instances where you may have expected special treatment or had unreasonable demands.


  1. Develop Self-Awareness: Being in tune with what you think, feel, and do can help you understand your entitlement tendencies and how they impact your relationships.


  1. Practice Perspective-Taking & Show Compassion: Take some time to understand someone else’s perspective. This may help you better empathize with others and understand that everyone has their own needs and wants. It may also help you connect with people on a deeper level which can reduce your feelings of entitlement.


  1. Use Cognitive Restructuring: Challenge your tendencies by considering alternative evidence and other’s perspectives as it may help you develop a more balanced viewpoint.


  1. Let It Go: Learn to accept that you can’t control everything and that it is acceptable to let it go. You may discover greater peace and a more content life.


So, the next time someone cuts you off in traffic and then flips you off, someone takes your place in a grocery store line, or even demonstrates a need for special treatment, recognize that you may be dealing with someone who is struggling with entitlement.


If that someone, is you, then please consider seeking some professional help. Overcoming entitlement requires effort and commitment like in any other instance where you’re trying to make an improvement. It also requires you to go through a process. Sometimes, it’s best to get help from a professional, and if the task seems too much to take on by yourself, a mental health professional.  


This is an opinion article by Guido Piraino of  The Monthly Social Podcast. It may also be heard on The Path Radio Mix Online. You can read other opinion articles on the blog page. You may also enjoy video content of The Monthly Social Podcast on YouTube or The Path Radio Mix on YouTube.  For sports content, please consider The Coach's Call YouTube Podcast.

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