10 traits of an inconsiderate person (and how to deal with them)

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Encountering an inconsiderate person can derail your day and even make you question yourself. However, it does not have to overwhelm you.

For decades I have worked on learning how to be a caring and considerate person, so I know the difference.

Someone can be inconsiderate with their actions, words, and how they treat others, even those closest to them.

I will explain how to know if you are facing an inconsiderate person and some different options for responding to the situation. How to deal with it varies, depending on if you know the person and may be able to do something about it or if you are trying to cope on your own.

1. They Don’t Give You Their Full Attention

When you are together, an inconsiderate person does not usually give you their full attention. It does not feel like you are really there together. They may be checked out or not listening.

One way to tell someone is not listening or checked out is if they are looking at their phone. Sometimes it is more subtle, and they never really show they hear you or respond to what you say. They may be thinking of what they want to say while you are talking. Or, they may interact with someone else while they are with you.

My advice for handling this depends on whether you know the person. If you don’t know them, it is best to move on and accept that they were not attentive. Don’t take this personally, and connect with someone else.

If you know the person and talk to them regularly, you may want to tell them that you would like them to listen better.

Here are some things I might say to someone who behaves like this:

  • Are you listening?
  • Can you put down your phone or computer?
  • I need you to listen.

Be direct with what you would like to happen in a non-confrontational and specific way.

2. They Interrupt or Talk Over You

Inconsiderate people interrupt or talk over you without regard for another person’s experience. Most people occasionally interrupt, especially in a moment of excitement.

I am talking about a chronic interrupter — someone who steamrolls you and takes the space in the conversation, no matter the cost or the effect it has on you.

If you know someone who regularly interrupts or talks over you, avoiding the interaction may not be possible. If you work together or are related, you might try to talk about the behavior.

You could ask:

  • Can you let me finish before you start talking?
  • Can you respond to what I have just shared?

You can also accept that this is how they are and remember to talk to someone else when you want to be heard.

3. They Show Up Late

Inconsiderate people may regularly show up late. If they are going to be late, they do not inform others. I have been left waiting, not knowing what is going on. This can create stress, wondering if something happened to them or if I got the time wrong.

It can feel frustrating and hurtful if someone does not respect your time. This can be hard to deal with.

However, I try to remember it is not about me and accept this is part of their personality. Then it can feel easier to deal with this behavior.

I suggest calling or texting a person shortly beforehand to confirm plans. If someone does not show up when they said they would be, you can always let them know you have limited time and will leave after so much time.

If this is a friend or loved one, then it may be best to accept that they are just regularly late and there is nothing you can do. You can count on it. Again, try not to take it personally.

4. They Put Themselves First; Self-Centered

They tend to put themselves first, also known as self-centered. Your needs are second to theirs if they consider them at all. They may take other people for granted.

A self-centered person goes to the front of the self-checkout line at the grocery store, even if you were there first. They are concerned with what is in it for them, not others or the greater good.

Inconsiderate people talk about themselves much more than anything else and tend to make everything about themselves, even if someone else is having a hard time. 

Dealing with this can be tricky. Be specific and use non-violent communication (NVC). This can be a constructive way to address issues that feel negative or wrong to you, especially when someone says they care.

For example:

  • When you schedule our weekly coffee over my exercise class, I feel upset, like I don’t matter.

If you have a bad day or need support, go to someone else for help.

5. They Act Unkind and Rude

Inconsiderate people may be quick to get into an argument and short-tempered. They may come off as negative or critical, judgmental, and not give the benefit of the doubt to others. These are examples of unkind and rude behavior.

Someone like this is impatient, unappreciative, or even rude to a staff member at a cafe or restaurant. It is not the server’s fault the cafe is busy.

An inconsiderate person does not care and will demand that they have immediate service or be rude or short because there is a wait, even if the staff explains. They take other people for granted, so they do not have empathy for the server.

If it is someone you don’t regularly see or interact with, it may be best to ignore their rudeness. You don’t have to be around someone like this. Just don’t expose yourself to their unpleasant behavior.

Even when dealing with them at a distance, it can help to give the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be confrontational because it won’t help the situation.

Kindness can go a long way, regardless of how others behave. Showing kindness to others can demonstrate a more considerate way to be and help. It is also good for you.

6. They Don’t Apologize … Are Never Wrong

Inconsiderate people rarely, if ever, admit that they are in the wrong and therefore do not tend to apologize. They do not admit mistakes. An apology can help to let someone know that you understand that you may have done something to hurt, disrespect, or inconvenience them.

If someone always makes others out to be wrong and they are always the victim, it might be time to create some distance between you and them if possible.

If it is a relative or someone you must be around, and they do something you think is wrong, ask for an apology. It is best to be direct. Let the person know you would appreciate an apology for what happened, and go from there.

For example:

  • I would like you to apologize for leaving me at the restaurant for thirty minutes, not calling, and not responding to my texts.

7. They Don’t Think About the Needs of Others

While you may naturally think about other people’s feelings, an inconsiderate person does not. They probably will not ask how you are doing or jump to help if you are struggling. They do not naturally show empathy.

Not considering your needs could look like changing plans without telling you, always talking about themselves, or not holding the door for you when your hands are full. You may have also experienced neighbors who play loud music late at night or set off fireworks in town.

Inconsiderate people play favorites, always putting someone else before you. Even if it is not them, you are not top of mind.

It is not worth getting upset about the actions of someone you can not control. It could be worth meditating or saying the serenity prayer. Do give them the power to ruin your day.

However, if this is a neighbor, friend, or family member, communicate about the issue using direct, specific language, and see where it leads.

8. Treat the World as their Trash Can

Inconsiderate people don’t respect other people’s space or property and even treat the Earth and public spaces poorly. Examples include when they leave their trash on the ground, do not clean up after themselves, or leave their dog’s poop in public places for others to step in.

I am not talking about an accident or having an off day. This is a habitual disregard for others, and it extends to planet Earth.

This is tough to deal with unless someone is interested in improving themselves.

Once I called out a man for not picking up his dog’s poop after seeing him walk away more than once. He told me it was none of my business, disregarded me, and left the poop on the ground. Even though it was right outside our apartment, it wasn’t worth the confrontation.

Now, I try to leave disrespectful people alone who I do not know. All I can do is take care of my actions — demonstrate how I value the Earth and common areas.

9. They Never Say Thank You

Inconsiderate people may not thank others for their efforts. Expressing appreciation can go a long way with people, and saying thank you is a common courtesy. Since inconsiderate people take others for granted and feel entitled, they do not tend to thank others for anything.

If this is not a close relationship, it may be best to ignore someone like this. Think water off a duck’s back. I try to treat others with kindness anyway and move on.

If this is someone you know well, it could be worth a difficult conversation to tell them how their lack of gratitude makes you feel.

You might say:

  • I am happy to buy coffee when we meet. I would enjoy it more if you could say thank you once in a while.

If all else fails, you can set boundaries by saying no to plans with the person or telling them you are not okay with their behavior. The great thing is you can still be polite and respectful when setting boundaries.

10. They Take More Than They Give

Someone inconsiderate will always let you buy coffee or meet them at their place for your walk. The one time you don’t oblige, they complain instead of reciprocating. A person like this also may not compromise or be willing to be flexible in a conflict.

If you have ever been to Wawa, you may have seen people go to great lengths to hold the door for others. An inconsiderate person will take your parking spot after letting the door close on you while your hands are full.

If a stranger shows inconsiderate behavior, I try to move on, accept it, and not take it personally. This may seem like ignoring it. Instead, it is consciously choosing to let it go, which is better for your sanity and everyone you will encounter that day.

If you are unfortunate to know someone like this, try some of the tools mentioned above, like nonviolent communication, difficult conversations, and setting boundaries.

In Conclusion

Some people may not know they are inconsiderate, but it is not your job to fix everyone. Often we can pass by without intervening. However, for a close relationship or someone you interact with on an ongoing basis, it may be worth having a heart-to-heart conversation to offer the person feedback about their behavior. If they are open-minded, it will still take patience to allow them the time to change.

For people who are not working to become more considerate, my solution is to stay away from them as much as possible.

Karilen Mays

I am Karilen Mays, a facilitator, advisor, and writer. I organize my life around a yellow Labrador Retriever, Liv, and manage her Instagram (@livithelab). I write and ghostwrite many kinds of business communications and career documents for individuals. I like to share what I know and write about personal development, new ways of working, and anything else I am learning.

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