9 Types of Entitlement Tendencies and How to Overcome Them

Working on entitlement tendencies is likely to improve your relationships.

Posted Mar 04, 2013

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Take a recent example of a time you got mildly annoyed with someone and spend 3 minutes writing about the situation from the other person’s perspective. Practice understanding what their agenda was.

2. Sensitize yourself to how good it feels to promote other people’s successes.

There is an area of social psychology research called capitalization research that shows that promoting other people’s successes has a positive effect on the sharer. To make a project out of it, try promoting someone else other than yourself at least once a day for 30 days.

3. Use cognitive restructuring.

Take any of the entitlement tendencies you can relate to and consider alternative evidence and perspectives. For example, what are some reasons the same rules that apply to everyone else should also apply to you? What are some reasons why keeping the peace and avoiding upsetting/offending people (unless absolutely necessary) is a virtue? What are some examples of how people are generally more generous to you than you are to them?

4. Observe what happens when you curb your entitlement tendencies.

Do relationships run smoother? Do you find it's easier for you to sustain relationships without you burning other people out? Do you end up feeling less annoyance? Do people end up supporting you more because you’re supporting them?

Understanding when curbing your entitlement tendencies actually benefits you is a great way to reinforce making changes.

5. Catch yourself if you fall into the moral licensing trap.

Moral licensing is a cognitive distortion in which people internally justify things they do that are wrong. It’s a common tendency. See if you can catch yourself doing it. For example, develop mindful awareness of thoughts like “It’s okay to take more than I give in X situation because....”


People with entitlement tendencies come in two types - (1) those who feel ashamed of their tendencies and feel motivated to change, and (2) those who see no reason to change.

If you fit in the former category, don’t be too hard on yourself. Expect yourself to put in consistent effort to change your ways, but don’t load up on self-criticism (harsh self-criticism is likely to result in less positive change rather than more).

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photo credits: virginsuicide photographysand duneskk+ , Alex E. Proimos via photopincc