We have all come across people with an entitlement mentality. Perhaps, it is that friend who expects you to pay for their meals even when it is not your responsibility. Or it could be your sibling who expects you to send an “alert” to their account, even when they know you are struggling to feed yourself.
Entitled people are everywhere. They are mostly people who are close to us, people we expect to be grateful for the things you do for them, instead of feeling entitled to those privileges.
So, how do you handle those who have that inappropriate behaviour?
What is entitlement mentality?
WebMD defines entitlement mentality as a sense of deservingness or being owed a favour when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment. A person with this mentality believes that the world “owes” them and, therefore, takes so many things for granted. It is a narcissistic attitude or personality trait that often develops as a result of upbringing and environment. This includes:
- Getting what they want while growing up. A child who gets anything they want from their parents or guardians will grow up believing that, that is the way the world works. They do not expect anyone to say no to them for any reason.
- Not getting what they want while growing up. A small percentage of this group of people believe that since they were denied certain things when they were children, they deserve those things now that they are adults. There is nothing wrong with desiring what you could not get as a child, as long as it is right and acceptable. But feeling entitled to those things even if they did not work hard for them is a no.
- Mental illness. People with narcissistic personality disorder are often entitled to things that they feel they deserve.
The entitlement mentality has negatively affected the mindset of people, particularly the youth, to take responsibility and ownership of their lives. They prefer to sit in their comfort zones, expecting things to happen to them according to their will. If that does not happen. they blame everybody except themselves.
A person who feels entitled often finds themselves isolated from family and friends. Their constant whining and demands often mean that they cannot keep a sustainable relationship. No one wants to be with a person who feels they are the centre of the whole world, and therefore, better than others.
How to handle people with an entitlement mentality
Bill Bailey once said: “We live in the age of entitlement, as opposed to enlightenment.” We live in a world where everyone is entitled to everything except taking responsibility. So, do not be surprised when you come across entitled people every day. But that is fine.
Here are seven ways to handle them.
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Do not condone it
Sometimes, it is good to condone certain things for the sake of peace. However, an entitlement mentality is one that you should never condone, ever. Let the entitled person know early on that you are not going to accept that attitude in your space. Once they understand that their whining and demands will not cut it for you, they will adjust accordingly or simply make themselves scarce.
Help, but set a limit to expectations
Helping is good because all fingers are not equal. However, do not let an entitled person take undue advantage of your help. For instance, your entitled sibling demands to stay with you because they have lost their job and can no longer pay rent. You do not want your sibling pushed to the streets; so, naturally, you agree to allow them to stay with you. However, it should not end there. Make it clear that you do not expect any freeloading. Instead, your sibling should understand that this is a temporary arrangement and they should work towards becoming independent and move out.
Learn to say no and stick with it. Entitled people can be manipulative, using your soft spot to get what they want. Do not cave into their demands and let yourself be used. Make it clear you are not changing your mind to please them.
Do not argue, walk away
Arguing is one of an entitled person’s greatest moments. This is because they know they can get away with anything if they put up a lot of arguments. You are most likely not going to win if you indulge them. So, the best thing to do for your mental health is to walk away.
Scold them with respect
The last thing you want to happen when engaging in a discussion with an entitled person is heated quarrelling. If you are offended, call them out with respect. Calmly let them know that they hurt your feelings and you have to consider your needs first before considering their demands. For instance, if your friend is accusing you of being selfish because you refused to give them a certain amount of money, respectively tell them that they are being unfair and you do not have enough to give away.
Learn to use the “I wish” statement
Wish-fulfilment statements can help calm an entitled person down. For instance, your entitled neighbour is asking you for some money. You can say something like this: “I wish I could help you. But I have just paid Junior’s school fees and I do not have shishi on me right now. However, have you tried (name the loan app)? I heard that they give loans without interest.”
See? You have successfully turned down that neighbour and proffered other solutions. Even if you do not have solutions, say something that will not make them feel you are looking down on them.
An entitlement mentality is a bad personality trait. Entitled people feel that they are better than everyone else. They do not like to be ignored or turned down whenever they need something. However, you can learn to handle them without giving in to their demands.
Follow the suggestions above and have your peace of mind.
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