People who lack self-awareness but don’t realize it usually display these 16 behaviors

For some people, self-awareness comes late in life or not at all. 

While it’s true that ignorance can be bliss, it’s not very blissful for the rest of us to be around folks who aren’t self-aware. 

This is especially true when the unaware person is unaware of their own lack of self-awareness. 

Let’s take a look at how to spot a person who doesn’t know they’re lacking in self-awareness. 

1) They’re impulsive

It’s not always easy to restrain yourself when you want something. That’s true for all of us.

But for an especially non-self-aware individual, this is even more true.

They do what they want when they want to do it and they get upset if that’s not possible. 

They find it very hard to delay gratification in any area of their life. If they want anything, they want it now! 

2) They lack empathy

The next key trait of many non-self-aware people is that they lack empathy. They find it very hard to walk in somebody else’s shoes even when they try. 

The basic concept that we’re all in this together simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to them. 

This is because not being highly aware of themselves or their own motivations and challenges in life, they find it confusing why they should care or try to understand anybody else. 

3) They repress their emotions

Emotional self-control is a valuable and necessary trait, but emotional repression is something else entirely. 

Unfortunately, non-self-aware folks tend to push their emotions down. They learn from an early age or from traumatic experiences to do their best to avoid pain by simply denying it’s there. 

They know something isn’t quite right and that there are various issues they should be dealing with, but at the same time they just don’t want to.

This brings up the next point…

4) They deny uncomfortable truths

Those who lack self-awareness tend to live in a pleasant kind of denial. 

They don’t want to hear too much about the dark side of things and may turn off the news or go “ah well” when a difficult topic comes up. 

They often prefer to just focus on everyday matters and to leave the “big questions” to somebody else. 

The result is that they don’t explore their own shadow side very much and remain locked in a fairly elementary understanding of themselves and the world around them. 

5) They jump on bandwagons easily

Those without much self-awareness are not necessarily unintelligent. They may be extremely smart and effective in various areas of their life, especially their career.

However, they are not very reflective about their own inner state, motivations, or psychology.

For this reason, they are extremely susceptible to trends and jumping on bandwagons from new styles to cultural changes to sports or entertainment mania. 

One week they’re obsessed with watching golf and buy all the gear and memorabilia; a month later they’re becoming a committed Marxist and are hosting a local reading group.  

Constantly seek approval from others People who lack self-awareness but don’t realize it usually display these 16 behaviors

6) They don’t follow-up on promises

Those who are not very self-aware tend to talk a big game but not follow up. 

They sometimes just don’t remember all the things they’ve promised, and they’re not overly bothered by it. 

The lack of self-awareness comes about during the part of making the promises, because the non-self-aware individual doesn’t realize how disappointing their behavior is. 

They’re not self-aware enough to notice that what they’re doing is destroying their own credibility and letting down those around them. 

So they continue taking the easiest route and promising things they don’t have much intention of doing.

7) They have a selective memory

The non-self-aware person has convenient memory troubles:

When they’re asked to remember something they did wrong or a topic they don’t particularly want to deal with right now, they happen to forget.

Every time. It’s quite something.

They don’t seem to realize that their convenient forgetfulness is totally obvious to those around them. 

8) They rarely admit mistakes

This ties into the previous point, because non-self-aware folks have a very hard time admitting mistakes. 

They prefer to live in a bubble without digging too deep below the surface into their own character or actions. 

Owning up to what they did wrong or getting deeper into why and how to avoid it just isn’t something that occurs to them. They just kind of go forward and don’t think too much about their actions. 

While it’s true that overthinking can be a huge problem, under-thinking also creates a lot of unintended damage. 

9) They don’t learn from the past

Learning from the past requires a certain level of self-awareness. 

It involves looking at what happened and then seeing what can be done differently in the future to lead to a different outcome. 

But non-self-aware people have trouble learning from the past because they don’t dig beneath the surface of what happened. 

It just happened, and they don’t really see the role that they may have played in what happened or see why it would matter. 

10) They flare up at criticism

Those who lack self-awareness have an especially hard time with criticism. 

They find it difficult to take criticism as anything other than a personal attack, because they aren’t introspective. 

If you tell a person that he or she could speak more slowly, for example, they’re likely to take that as you snubbing them. 

That’s because they aren’t very aware that they speak very rapidly or unclearly and therefore think you’re just being hard on them unfairly.

11) They are very self-centered

Highly non-self-aware people tend to be very self-centered

They think of their own needs first because they haven’t sat back and really internalized how connected their own life is to everybody else. 

They have trouble noticing how their own self-absorption might actually undermine them in some cases and even lead to becoming isolated and unhappy. 

12) They show off and seek frequent praise

Those who aren’t very self-aware tend to crave outer validation.

As I mentioned in the point about comparisons, they haven’t done that inner work to find out who they really are and what drives them, so they seek markers to reassure them of their identity from outside. 

Getting accolades from others or confirmation of their value and uniqueness is what they build their identity and sense of worth around. 

shopping People who lack self-awareness but don’t realize it usually display these 16 behaviors

13) They spend and splurge recklessly

Quite non-self-aware individuals have a hard time keeping track of their finances.

They spend recklessly and find it very difficult to say no to a purchase they want or to delay gratification. 

They spend money while they have it and then end up struggling and stressing out when the bills come due. 

But due to the lack of real self-awareness, they don’t see how their own relationship with money and spending habits are actually linked to inner issues that could be worked on.

14) They don’t set clear boundaries

Those who aren’t very self-aware have a very hard time with boundaries. 

They tend to shift them around as they go and act very impulsively as I noted.

For this reason, their boundaries wax and wane depending on the situation, leaving them adrift and often manipulating or being manipulated by others.  This can lead to a whole lot of drama. 

15) They often compare themselves to others

Those who aren’t very self-aware often compare themselves to others.

They feel a sense of trying to keep up with those around them and it drives them a little crazy, but they’re not quite sure why. 

That’s because the lack of getting in touch deeply with their own source of well-being and security makes them search for outer benchmarks or comparisons that reassure them of their value and identity. 

16) They demand more than they give

Life certainly isn’t fair, but there’s one thing that is fair:

When you sit back and expect to receive value you end up becoming disempowered, but when you step forward and give value you become empowered.

Those who aren’t very self-aware tend to think of life as a “what do I get?” proposition. They don’t see how their own focus on gain may actually be selling themselves short.

Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on and visit his website at

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