How To Handle People Who Feel Entitled
Do you know someone who is entitled? You probably do.
We’ve all seen people who feel entitled. They think they’re owed something, so they push and push until it’s given to them.
This can happen in any situation, whether it’s an employee who thinks he deserves a raise or a boss who thinks he deserves a promotion.
It can happen when you buy something at the store and get that annoying “you paid too much” lecture. It happens at restaurants, where someone will demand their server bring them a dessert instead of leaving the tip on the table.
And it happens on the Internet, where those who think they deserve attention whether they’re entitled to reviews, better prices or special treatment get what they want.
I’m not a fan of the term “entitlement,” as it often feels like a meaningless buzzword. But I do think that some people’s expectations are very different from mine, and that can be a big problem in the workplace
What Is An Entitled Person?
For our purposes, we’re looking at the behavior of someone who has a sense of expectation that others don’t share. They expect things to happen because they think they deserve it, or they want it, or it’s just their turn.
Entitlement can be defined as “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”
People who feel entitled believe that rules and laws don’t apply to them, and they expect the world to revolve around them. They are self-absorbed, demanding, and may throw tantrums when they don’t get their way.
Entitlement isn’t just a personality trait; it’s a way of life. Entitled people aren’t content with what they have; they always want more. They are ungrateful and self-centered, and they don’t care who they hurt on the road to success.
Who Are Entitled People?
A lot of people have one of two attitudes. They’re either “entitled” or they’re “entitled to nothing.” In reality, everyone is entitled to a degree of respect. However, there are some people who take that entitlement way too far.
Entitled people are those who feel their needs should be met without any regard for others. Even if the other person is willing to give them what they need, they don’t want to be inconvenienced by the inconvenience they just want it and they want it now.
It’s easy to get exasperated with these types of people. You want to treat them like adults and let them know that life isn’t always convenient for everyone and you don’t owe them anything.
That said, sometimes our best intentions don’t pay off and we end up crossing lines that we shouldn’t have crossed and making situations worse for ourselves in the process.
Story About Entitled Person
I used to work at a gas station. I was the manager.
I had a regular customer come through who always ordered the same thing, and she always tipped me $5 on her like $2 coffee and sandwich.
She would also ask me to do extra things for her, which I never minded because of the huge tip.
One day, I got really busy and she came through. She ordered her usual, but then asked me to go grab her a cup of water from inside the gas station. Since it was hectic, I told her no and that I was super busy, but that she can just get it herself if she wants it.
She looked at me (angry) and said “I tip you well every time so you should do this for me.”
I told her that she doesn’t have to tip me at all and that it’s my job to make sure the customers are happy with their food, but that she doesn’t get special treatment just because she throws more money at me than other people do.
At this point, she starts yelling saying how I’m ungrateful and that I’m a horrible person because of what I said.
Entitlement In Place Of Work.
In nearly every workplace, there will be someone who feels more entitled than everyone else. A sense of entitlement can take many forms:
People who feel they are owed something, but won’t say what it is
People who think that their time or experience is more valuable than anyone else’s
People who think that the rules don’t apply to them
People who think that their personal needs trump those of the team
Dealing with someone who feels entitled can be one of the most frustrating and uncomfortable things you’ll have to do as a manager.
However, it’s important to handle these situations wel, not only for your own sake, but also for the sake of your whole team.
If you don’t address someone’s sense of entitlement, you’ll lose credibility in your team’s eyes and may even find that other people start to feel entitled too.
Two Types Of Entitled People.
The term “entitled” does not have a positive ring to it. It suggests that someone feels they are owed something, which is certainly not the case.
When people use the term “entitled,” they often mean they feel they should be treated a certain way, or that their expectations are just and reasonable.
There are usually two different types of entitled people: those who think they are entitled to everything and those who feel entitled to little things that others take for granted.
The first group is the one you want to avoid at all costs; sometimes it’s difficult to know which group a person belongs to, but you can usually tell by how much they complain.
The second group is easy to spot — they often complain of minor inconveniences and minor changes in how things should be handled.
Two Words Entitled People Normally Use.
Entitled people are damaging because they don’t realize that their expectations of others are unreasonable. They also don’t recognize how their entitled attitudes affect others.
The result is often burnout and resentment from those around them. Here are two words entitled people normally use:
1. “That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done”
When someone says this, it’s usually a sign that they don’t understand how or why what they are doing is important to your company. They might not even understand how their job contributes to the success of the company.
2. “I Deserve It”
When employees start getting entitled, they will often say things like, “I deserve a raise because I work harder than everyone else,” or “I deserve this promotion because I have been at the company longer than anyone else.”
The answer to these statements is: So what? Why do you deserve anything? Did you earn it? Did you do something exceptional that deserves recognition? Did you come through in a clutch situation and save the day? Did you put in extra time, effort, and energy? What did you do to earn respect, recognition, a promotion or raise?
READ ALSO: How To Tell If Someone Doesn’t Want To Talk To You.
How To Handle Entitled People.
Entitled people are everywhere. They’re not just the narcissists, psychopaths, and bullies you see on the news. They’re your colleagues, neighbors, and even your friends.
People who feel entitled are exhausting to coexist with. They believe they deserve something special or more than others even when it’s not the case.
While most people want to earn respect from others, those who feel entitled just want it handed over to them without earning it.
Working with entitled people can be frustrating, exhausting and stressful. In extreme cases, you may even feel like you’re being abused.
You can respond to entitlement by getting angry, avoiding the person or even feeling sorry for them. But none of those responses will help you deal with the entitled person effectively.
Instead, try these 10 strategies for handling people who feel entitled:
1. Don’t Take It Personally.
People who feel entitled usually need someone to blame for the problems in their lives, so they often take out their frustration on others. They may complain that they didn’t get a raise they deserved or criticize your work when they aren’t happy with something.
Try not to take this behavior personally as it is a reflection of their own issues and not necessarily an assessment of your performance or behavior.
2. Be calm, Polite And Rational.
Nobody likes an entitled person yelling and cursing at them. Try not to get angry yourself; that’s only going to feed the fire and make things worse.
You don’t owe anyone anything, so if someone is asking for something you don’t own, tell him or her politely that you cannot give it to him or her. Don’t let them get under your skin; nothing good will come from it.
3. Set Boundaries.
Entitled people don’t always respect other people’s limits, so set clear boundaries about what is OK and what isn’t to protect yourself from mistreatment and overstepping behaviors.
For example, if someone constantly interrupts your meetings to ask questions that could wait until after the meeting, inform them that you are happy to answer their questions but only after the meeting ends so you can focus on the topic at hand.
4. Clarify The Situation.
One of the worst things about dealing with someone who feels entitled is that they simply can’t understand why people don’t want to do whatever they’re asking for whether it’s giving them extra vacation time, paying for something that isn’t covered by their insurance, or letting them leave early every day.
Their expectations are so high that they don’t consider how unreasonable what they’re asking for might be.
They might not even realize how entitled they sound, because for them it’s normal, so being told about it can be a big surprise and a wake-up call.
Before you say anything, make sure that you’re clear on exactly what the person is saying or doing that makes them sound entitled.
You might decide to approach it directly or tactfully, but before you do, you need to have a good grasp on the problem behavior.
5. Don’t Always Give In To Their Demands.
Not always giving to their demands is one of the way to handle people who feel entitled
Entitled people can be demanding. They may expect preferential treatment and have a sense that they are more important than others.
They may feel justified in having unreasonable expectations, even though those expectations might cause problems for other people.
People who act entitled may also be manipulative or take advantage of others, with little regard for how their behavior affects those around them.
6. Make Them Understand You Also Have Needs And Desires.
One of the most effective ways to handle people who feel entitled is to make them understand that you have needs and desires too.
If you feel threatened by their demands, it’s easy to cave in and give them what they want. However, this only leads to you feeling resentful, which isn’t healthy for either of you.
Make them understand that you have needs and wants too. People who feel entitled often feel like their needs are more important than anyone else’s, so try to tell them about your needs or desires (if appropriate).
Hopefully, this will help them realize that everyone is human, wants things and has feelings.
Be direct but not confrontational. One of the best ways to deal with an entitled person is by being direct about what they’re doing wrong without being confrontational about it.
Instead, explain your own needs as calmly and respectfully as possible. For example, if someone has asked you for a favor which you can’t agree to, tell them why and suggest an alternative which might work better for both of you.
If they continue to insist on getting their own way, remember that it’s okay to put your foot down and refuse.
7. Help Them To Practice Humility And Gratitude
If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve already encountered the sense of entitlement in your children. That attitude that they’re owed something just because they simply exist.
This is entirely different from self-confidence, which I consider to be a vital part of success and happiness.
Entitlement isn’t about self-confidence; it’s about expecting something for nothing, and it’s not healthy.
The best way to deal with this attitude is to make sure our kids understand they are lucky and privileged, and the things they have are earned or gifts.
In my house that meant when we were in the grocery store, I’d always let my kids pick out one thing that I would buy for them.
The catch was that we were going to donate a can of food for every item they got for themselves. This taught them two important lessons: One, we’re lucky because we can afford to buy what we want, and two, other people aren’t as fortunate as us so let’s help them out if we can.
Helping them practice humility and gratitude is one of the way to handle people who feel entitled.
It is important to teach kids that they have something to learn from everyone and everything, even when they don’t seem to be learning anything at all.
We need to pass on the values of gratitude, humility and respect to our kids in order for them not to grow up as entitled kids.
Helping them practice humility and gratitude is one of the way to handle people who feel entitled:
1. Teach them to think about what others have sacrificed for them.
2. Help them realize that many people in the world struggle for food and water, not just with Wi-Fi access or a flat-screen TV.
3. Model how to respond with grace when life doesn’t go their way. If they spill their milk at dinner, show them how to clean it up themselves, rather than expecting someone else to do it for them.
Signs To Show That A Person Is Being Entitled.
There are many signs that can show that a person is acting entitled. Here are four clear signs to look out for:
1.They Disrespect Boundaries:
When someone crosses your boundaries, that’s when you need to set them straight. If they still don’t listen after you’ve let them know how you feel, then they’re most likely acting entitled.
2. They’re Used To Getting Their Way:
This person is used to getting their way all the time, so they’re probably not going to take no for an answer from others.
You know this type of person, the one who makes it hard for others to tell them no because of the guilt trip they put on everyone else.
3. They Always Have Excuses:
Everyone makes mistakes and those mistakes can sometimes be justified with good explanations and apologies.
However, if someone constantly makes mistakes and has excuses for everything, then that’s when you know that they think too highly of themselves and feel entitled because of it.
4. Always Complaining :
They constantly complain about everything even if they do not have a point. They are never happy with anything regardless of how good it is.
5. Never Showing Gratitude:
They never say thank you or show any sign of appreciation to you. Either they feel like they deserve whatever you give them, or they feel like it’s a waste of time to appreciate what you do for them.
6. Always Expecting More:
No matter how much you give them, they always need more from you. If you give them $50, they expect $100; if you give them $100, they expect $200 and so on.
7. Asking For Special Favors:
They ask for special favors from people such as skipping long lines at the store or getting special treatment from their boss or teacher at school or work. They feel like everyone should go out of their way for them.
8. They Don’t Show Responsibility:
One of the most common signs that a person is entitled is that they don’t show responsibility.
They are very quick to blame others for their failures and mistakes.
In other words, they refuse to take any responsibility for their actions.
When you ask them about something bad that happened or why something didn’t get done, they will always have an excuse.
While some people might be going through a rough patch in life or suffer from depression, it’s often easy to recognize when someone has a habit of not taking responsibility for their actions.
Entitlement can be a tough thing to deal with, whether it’s at work or in your personal relationships. It can manifest itself in many different ways, but it essentially comes down to people who feel they deserve certain things without having to work for them.
What’s worse is that the people who feel entitled often don’t even realize they do. They’re just going about life believing that they should get things that you have to work for, and other people should treat them differently than everyone else.