People who become more arrogant and entitled as they get older often possess these 6 personality traits

Older and wiser, they say. But that’s not always the case. 

Some people just seem to sour with age – becoming more arrogant, entitled, and difficult to deal with. It’s not a pretty sight. 

Why?

Well, it often comes down to certain personality traits.

Over time, these traits leave people more and more exposed. 

Eventually, their only cover for their lack of confidence and vulnerability is arrogance. 

Today, we dive into six such traits.

Let’s get to it. 

1) They lack gratitude

In the words of psychologist Dr. Geraldine K. Piorkowski, “Gratitude attracts other people, while entitlement repels them.” 

Basically, they are polar opposites. 

Giving thanks enables us to see beyond our immediate circumstances and recognize the interconnectedness of our experiences with the actions and kindness of others. 

It grounds us in humility, reminding us that our achievements and possessions often involve contributions from many people and factors outside our control.

This broader perspective fosters a sense of community and mutual respect, encouraging us to give back and support others just as we have been supported.

Without it, people fail to recognize the good in their lives and appreciate the efforts of others. 

They take things for granted and feel entitled to benefits without acknowledging the hard work or sacrifices made by others.

2) They resist change

The world is changing so fast, perhaps faster than it ever has. 

The telephone (the traditional one) was launched in 1878. It took it a whopping 75 years to reach 100 million users. 

The World Wide Web (i.e., the Internet as we know it) took seven years to reach the same number of users. Chatgpt? 2 months

The point is that change is coming faster than ever. But as some people age, they simply don’t adapt; they refuse to. 

You may have noticed this at work. 

Take, for instance, a boomer manager who clings to outdated methods despite clear shifts in the industry landscape. 

His stubbornness not only hinders the adoption of more efficient processes but also silences any team member who dares to suggest a novel approach. It’s strictly “his way or the highway.” 

The inevitable consequence? 

The team misses out on opportunities, and overall efficiency suffers.

When the expected results start to dwindle, this manager is quick to point fingers everywhere but at his own resistance to change. 

Of course, this isn’t exclusive to boomers; individuals from younger generations can also exhibit a similar reluctance to embrace new ways of working.

But as you might imagine, with more change, this becomes more apparent. 

3) They lack empathy

They lack empathy 1 People who become more arrogant and entitled as they get older often possess these 6 personality traits

 

I recently came across an Instagram post that said, “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” It turns out it’s a quote by Alfred Adler, an Austrian doctor who founded the School of Individual Psychology. 

Anyway, it got me thinking about how pivotal empathy is in our outlook and, as a result, our behaviors.

People who lack it often become more arrogant and entitled as they age.

This can be seen in older generations nowadays; they see that younger people are taking longer to buy a house or start a family as early as they did.

They attribute this ‘lack of success’ to laziness but fail to acknowledge the circumstances. 

What circumstances?

Let’s do a quick example. 

Well, in the 1980s, the median U.S. home price was about $63,000. If we whip out the inflation calculator, that translates to roughly $234,000 in 2023 money.

The median home price in the third quarter of 2023 was just over $430,000

But surely income has risen too? 

Sure, it has; from 1973 to 2013, the hourly wage for a typical employee rose a tiny 9%

So, incomes are very similar for most people, but have house prices almost doubled?

Correct. 

But older people without empathy fail to consider this.

They put their successes down to hard work and intelligence, and and younger generations’ lack of it down to ‘not working hard enough’. 

This is just one example. I am sure that as many millennials like me age, something similar will materialize if it hasn’t already. 

4) They have a belief that ‘experience’ trumps all 

My father often says, “There’s no substitute for experience”. 

He says this when he’s able to help me with something that I am having trouble with, be it fixing a car problem or giving a solution to a work problem similar to one that he encountered. 

And there is nothing wrong with this. In many ways, experience is a great teacher. 

However, some people take this sort of mindset too far and equate age with experience.

They think that simply because they are older, they are somehow always wiser and more knowledgeable than those younger than them. 

They use their misguided sense of ‘experience’ to impose their beliefs of how things should be done on younger people without much sense of questioning their experience or the logic behind their decisions. 

They might say things like, “In my day, we did it this way, and it worked perfectly,” or “Young folks today think they know everything with their quick Google searches, but they lack real-world understanding.” 

This approach not only undermines the contributions and insights of younger individuals but also stifles innovation and adaptability by clinging to outdated methods and perspectives.

5) They always have someone or something to blame

How often does your older boss or parent have trouble answering a phone call?

You know how it is: the line is bad, the call is on mute, or they are covering the microphone with their finger. 

They blame the tech; they say, “Stupid phone” or “This thing never works,” but as we all know, it’s not the phone.

We all have the same phones, and they work just fine for most of us.  

It’s understandable that older people aren’t just going to be as tech-savvy as those who grew up with tech.

That’s no big deal, and we should all accept this. 

Some people, however, do this with everything. They constantly blame their own weaknesses on someone or something else. 

And as they get older and they continue to fall behind, it gets worse. 

At work, it might be the ‘lazy’ younger team members or changing market conditions.

When discussing the economy, they might point fingers at government policies, global market shifts, or technology without considering their own adaptability or decision-making. 

Whatever it is, It’s never their fault. 

This habit of deflecting responsibility not only hinders personal growth and learning but also creates a toxic environment where accountability is absent and progress is stalled.

6) They can’t accept criticism

Receiving feedback or criticism can be tough. 

As put by Dr. Leon F. Seltzer in a Psychology Today Post, “for most of us, being criticized is uncomfortable at best — and de-stabilizing (or even devastating) at worst.”

But how we handle it can say a lot about our character. 

People who have a hard time accepting criticism, viewing it as a direct attack on their abilities or character, start to rely increasingly on their arrogance as a shield, asserting their superiority or dismissing others’ perspectives to protect their fragile self-esteem. 

This refusal to accept feedback hinders their ability to grow and improve.

Over time, this defensiveness can become ingrained, making people less open to learning from their experiences or those of others. 

So next time you see someone bristle at constructive feedback, remember this point.

It might just be an early sign of growing arrogance and entitlement.

The bottom line 

That’s it from me today, folks. 

Getting older is inevitable, but getting wiser is not; we have to work on that.

If you really want to be better as you grow older, these traits are ones to avoid. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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