If someone displays these 7 behaviors, they lack self-awareness

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Self-awareness is a crucial skill for success in life. It helps you apply your strengths, improve your weaknesses, and continue to grow. 

But what if someone lacks self-awareness?

If you have a friend, family member, or colleague like this, you may be frustrated by their inability to see things about themselves that are obvious to you.

But you don’t want to jump straight to conclusions — let’s check if their problem really is lack of self-awareness. See if they have these 7 behaviors. 

1) They constantly criticize or complain about others

Does someone you know constantly criticize or complain about other people?

Only someone who lacks self-awareness can do this.

We all have our weaknesses and make mistakes. So how can we bash other people for their mistakes, if we’re not perfect ourselves?

But some people have a very elevated opinion of themselves. They don’t see any fault in themselves, and therefore begin to look down their nose at everyone else around them. 

I have a friend who showed this behavior. He complained about his colleagues eating like pigs when they’re at lunch, chewing loudly and making a lot of noise.

But when I had a meal with my friend, he wasn’t really the quietest and cleanest eater himself. What’s more, when I pointed it out, he reacted rather aggressively and didn’t even consider that I could be right. 

It’s natural to prefer finding blame in others rather than ourselves, but we really have to have the ability to look at our own faults and realize we’re not superior to anyone else. 

2) They think they’ve earned all their successes

A few years ago, I saw a post on LinkedIn by someone who proudly shared her accomplishments in earning a professional certificate and starting her own translation business.

In her post, she said that many people had their success handed to them, but she reached hers all on her own.

I remember this post after all these years because of one particular comment someone left on the post.

This person congratulated the poster, but also pointed out that nobody accomplishes anything “all on their own”.

You always have guidance, support, advice, help, or kindness from someone along the way, because there are always other people involved in whatever you do. 

The only way you could possibly achieve something all on your own is if you are the only person on the planet.

This is true for everyone, but some people lack the self-awareness to recognize the help and support they got along the way. 

3) They act like the victim whenever something goes wrong

Another behavior of someone who lacks self-awareness is playing the victim card.

They got passed over for a promotion? It’s unfair favoritism.

They nearly hit another car on the road? That other driver wasn’t paying attention.

Dinner didn’t turn out so well? It’s because the phone rang and distracted them while cooking.

Basically, nothing is ever their fault. Well, if this is true then they must be an angel, because we lowly humans all make mistakes!

We can all understand, and relate to the discomfort of admitting that we did something wrong.

But when we gain maturity and self-awareness, we can understand that there’s nothing shameful about making mistakes. It’s all part of the experience of life. 

And becoming self-aware and admitting these mistakes is how we can grow. 

4) They need to win every argument

Have you noticed that this person always needs to win every argument?

They always have the last word, and fights don’t end until they hear someone say “you’re right”. 

That’s a telling behavior of someone who lacks self-awareness. And it’s one that people should really take care with, because it can have very negative consequences on your relationships.

Take my relationship with my ex for example. He did this quite often, and it was extremely frustrating to try to talk to him. Even when I had glaring evidence that he was wrong, he stubbornly stuck to his stance and came up with any arguments he could to back it up.

This really took a toll on our relationship because I had the feeling that he always made me out to be the bad guy and was looking for things to blame me for. 

He wanted to be right more than he cared about my feelings, and the relationship deteriorated pretty quickly.

5) They say they’re not upset when they are

We’ve all lied at some point when someone asks us, “what’s wrong?”

Sometimes we just don’t want to talk about it, and so we say “nothing” or “I’m fine”. 

And that’s totally understandable.

But it’s another story when you lack self-awareness about your emotions and aren’t honest about them when it really matters.

For example, I have a family member who is really difficult to talk with when she’s in a bad mood, because she will never admit that she’s upset, angry, aggressive, or mean.

She insists that she’s perfectly fine and normal, and that you’re the one who is misinterpreting her tone of voice and behavior.

As you can imagine, it’s maddening to deal with someone like this. It’s fine to have different points of view, but you can’t have one person completely ignoring reality. 

If you can relate to this experience, then it’s clear that person lacks self-awareness, at least in terms of their emotions. 

6) They make the same mistakes over and over

A funny meme goes, “I never make the same mistake twice. Usually it’s three or more times.”

It stuck in my mind because of how relatable it is. We can talk about learning from our mistakes until we’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day change takes time to happen.

Time, but not eternity. I’ll be the first to admit I can make the same mistake many times — but I think I at least make some progress.

I do a little better next time, or I try a different approach, or something goes wrong for an entirely different reason.

On the other hand, I have a friend who has been struggling to find a girlfriend. He’s been using the same tactic for years, and all his friends and colleagues have been telling him he has to change his ways because it doesn’t work.

But this friend stubbornly keeps doing the same thing over and over, and keeps meeting with rejection. 

He’s such a great guy with some truly amazing qualities, but he isn’t able to see that he’s making the same mistake over and over again. 

If he could gain better self-awareness, he would be able to find a better strategy, and hopefully the love of his life as well. 

7) They believe they’re great at things they suck at

What tells you that you’re truly good at something?

Maybe you’ve gotten positive feedback from others, you have years of experience in it, or you’ve won some awards or accomplishments.

There is usually some indication other than your subjective opinion that you’re truly talented or skilled at something.

Except when you lack self-awareness. Someone like this may believe that they’re extremely good at something when honestly, quite frankly, they rather suck at it.

A friend of mine recently complained about someone like this. He likes to play the guitar and he has a female friend who really enjoys singing.

She suggested to him that they perform together, and get together to practice. My friend loves music and he’s all for performing and finding others to play with.

The problem? This female friend doesn’t have a very good singing voice at all. But she’s convinced that she’s one of the best singers ever, and assumes everyone would love to listen to her. 

Now, maybe this is just my friend’s personal opinion — but he has a great musical ear, and I trust his judgment. 

It’s okay to have things we’re not great at, but we must have the self-awareness to recognize it. 

What to do about people who lack self-awareness

Do you know someone who displays some or most of these 7 behaviors?

It sounds like you’re dealing with someone who lacks self-awareness.

As I shared above, I know several people like this, and I know it can be frustrating to deal with them.

If it’s too much for you to handle, my best advice is to give yourself a little space from them.

At the end of the day, it’s not your job to hold up a mirror to their face, and trying to do so may just hurt their feelings and damage your relationship.

It’s up to each one of us to gain self-awareness, and we have to do it at our own pace.

If you really want to help them, what you could do is participate in a course or program that is focused on self-awareness. 

Tell them you’re doing it to invest in becoming a better person and ask them to join you — just be sure to frame it as something positive and not something they need to “fix” about themselves!


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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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