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13 characteristics of ungrateful people (and 6 ways to deal with them)

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Gratitude is a simple thing: you can never run out of it, so why hold back?

Let yourself feel grateful for all the goodness that comes and goes in your life, no matter how big or small it might be.

This gratitude flows through us as positive energy, affecting ourselves and those around us equally.

But there are some people who seem to hold onto every ounce of gratitude they have.

These people show no thankfulness for anything in their lives, making them seem negative, grumpy, and ungrateful.

But why are ungrateful people the way they are?

Here are 13 characteristics of the ungrateful:

1) They Feel Entitled To Everything

It’s hard to be thankful for something when you feel like it was rightfully yours to begin with.

When someone steals something from you and they’re forced to return it, why would you feel any kind of thanks towards that person?

This is the mindset that most ungrateful people have.

They don’t want to show any kind of gratitude towards anything given to them, because they believe it was theirs by right to begin with.

The act of thanking someone for something they already feel inherently entitled to having is actually embarrassing for them because they believe they should’ve had it already.

2) They Want Everything Immediately

When you give them something, they don’t take the moment to enjoy or appreciate it.

They consume it, go through it, and then they say, “What else?”

An ungrateful individual doesn’t truly recognize the value in things because they were given it too easily.

They want the next thing, and the next, and the next, because the end-goal isn’t about being happy with what they have; the end-goal is to simply want once again.

And it’s not always because of entitlement; sometimes they’ve convinced themselves they’re so much of a victim that they deserve every hand-out given to them.

3) They’ve Never Been Told “No”

How do you raise a child to make sure they become an ungrateful adult?

Simple: always give them whatever they ask for, and never let them hear the word “no”.

When a person never has to feel that anything they want is unattainable, then everything loses its value.

Not only do they not understand the value of a dollar, but they also end up not understanding the value of gifts, of time, of friendships and relationships.

They believe that everything should be theirs, no matter what, and anyone who denies them this is committing a crime against their humanity.

4) They Haven’t Worked For Anything In Their Lives

It’s hard to be ungrateful when you’ve had to spend your life supporting yourself, working long and hard to make sure you can pay the bills and put food on the table.

There is no greater way to learn the lesson of how much things are worth than by struggling to pay for those things, one dollar at a time.

When everything is handed to a person, regardless of whether or not they earned it, then they can’t respect the things that are handed to them, or the people handing them the things.

And no respect for anything or anyone, how could they feel any kind of gratitude?

5) They Consume Too Much Media

The problem with the world today is that there’s way too much noise.

There’s always something going on; you can turn on the news, scroll online, look through social media, and find dozens of different things to worry and stress about.

All this noise blocks out our ability to find peace and joy in the present moment.

We end up becoming people who worry about everything, people trembling with their own constant neuroticism.

Finding the ability to express gratitude feels impossible when it’s so easy to expose yourself to the weight of the world and all its problems.

In many cases, ungrateful people aren’t bad people; they’re just trapped in vicious cycles.

6) They Feel Spiritually Disconnected

It’s no surprise that the most grateful individuals out there are also those most connected with their spirituality.

Positivity and gratitude come from the same places as spiritual belief: we want to be better people and want to appreciate every moment and every gift more, and in turn, we hope to make the world better with our presence through this mindset.

But ungrateful individuals don’t have this connection with their spirituality.

They’re cut away from these channels, with negativity and toxicity bogging down the energy inside of them.

They can’t connect with those around them and they can barely connect with themselves, which is why they’ve become so trapped in their own negative thoughts.

7) They Don’t Give Time To Other People

We give other people our time out of the goodness of our hearts.

We volunteer, we help out, we lend a hand, even when none of it will be paid back; we do it because we can and because we feel it’s the right thing to do.

And time is the most valuable resource we can give because it’s the one thing you can never get back.

Ungrateful people don’t have this natural instinct to give back to the community.

They believe they’re entitled to help and handouts, but they don’t believe they should be involved in giving those things out to others in need.

As they don’t know how to express gratitude, they also don’t know how to express empathy.

8) They Feel They Only Have To Be Thankful For the Biggest Things

In a way, ungrateful people sometimes do realize that they’re not being as cordial as they should be.

But this comes with their inflated ego: they believe that the act of giving thanks should be limited, and they should only truly show thanks when something incredibly significant has been given to them.

Ungrateful people don’t always see themselves as ungrateful; they just believe that their gratitude is worth more than the measly favors that have been given to them.

But perhaps there is no favor great enough for them to deem it worthy of their gratitude.

9) They Never Hold Themselves Accountable

They don’t see themselves as the problem with anything in their life, because why should they?

They already believe they’re entitled to everything they want in the world, so how could they pin their own failures and troubles on themselves?

Instead, they prefer to blame everything and everyone else: their friends, family, the government, the system, and whatever else they come up with.

The little self-confidence they have is protected by a giant ego, and that giant ego will snipe at anything that tries to hold it accountable.

10) They Tend To Be Emotionally Unstable

Radiating positivity and practicing gratitude aren’t characteristics that you’re born with; they’re characteristics you must actively practice.

You have to wake up every day with the decision to have a good day and to bring goodness unto others, and only with emotional discipline and patience can you achieve this.

Ungrateful people have never practiced any kind of emotional discipline; they just let whatever negative and toxic feelings they have take over their minds.

So they end up being emotionally unstable adults who have anger issues, trust issues, and constantly bounce from one set of emotions to another.

11) They Attract Other Ungrateful People

Grateful people can’t stand the presence of ungrateful people, so the only people who will make up their social circles are other ungrateful individuals.

This leads to a bubble of toxic, ungrateful behavior, where they further reinforce their negative beliefs until they’re set in stone.

The Law of Attraction brings these people together, even if they can’t stand each other.

But even as they mirror each other’s behavior, they lack the self-awareness to realize that they’re acting exactly as despicably as the worst in their group.

12) They Don’t Live In the Moment

An ungrateful person doesn’t know how to live in the moment.

They live in yesterday and tomorrow — complaining about what happened to them in the past, and worrying about what may happen to them in the future.

Even when they have absolutely no reason to be in a bad mood, they can’t sit back, clear their mind, and enjoy the present moment for what it is.

Something always has to be wrong, and in a way, they end up manifesting the negativity that revolves around their life.

13) They Let Everything “Get” To Them

It doesn’t matter what it is: the bad weather, the extra tasks at work, the fact that the store ran out of their favorite drink.

An ungrateful person will take every opportunity to let themselves feel negative, annoyed, and down.

They use every disappointment as an excuse to be upset for the rest of the day.

The thing about ungrateful people is they have no sense of protecting their good mood.

Since they believe they should be entitled to goodness, they don’t make any effort towards protecting it.

They don’t understand that positivity is something that needs to be worked on, constantly.

6 Techniques For Dealing with Ungrateful People

Living with someone who regularly is ungrateful can be immensely challenging, particularly if that person is a big or active part of your life.

The first question you have to ask yourself is: how do you want to deal with them? Do you want to help them get over their ungratefulness, or do you simply want to learn how to tolerate them?

Whatever you choose, it is important to let your response be guided by empathy rather than force.

Dealing with an ungrateful person begins with self-acceptance, and you can never force anyone to accept a flaw they aren’t ready to acknowledge.

Here are some ways you can guide them:

1. Don’t label them

Calling someone a complainer or ungrateful is the last thing you want to do, and will only compel them to dig their heels in deeper.

Instead, gently try to discuss with them their issues of complaining, inability to accept responsibility, and blame-shifting.

Start the conversation; even if they don’t accept it, it helps to put the thoughts in their mind.

2. Draw up your personal boundaries

Understand your own limits when it comes to dealing with them. Their issues aren’t yours, and you shouldn’t suffer because they can’t deal with their own problems.

Ask yourself: what are your limits? If they cross those limits, detach yourself from them and let them deal with themselves.

They will either slowly recognize how they are pushing you away or they are too far for you to help them at all.

3. Address their internal dialogue

Ungrateful individuals never truly engage in introspection. They never take the internal dialogue further. After they shift blame and avoid responsibility, they then wallow in their own self-pity.

Help them by talking to them. If they say that they can’t do anything to help their situation or if they can’t achieve their goals, then push that conversation forward.

Ask them: why can’t they do anything? What would it take to allow them to do something? Give them a bridge between their own self-doubt and reality, and help them cross that bridge on their own.

Remember: when dealing with ungrateful individuals, you are dealing with people with intense emotional instability.

They often struggle with depression and/or PTSD, they have low self-esteem and self-confidence, and they already feel like they have no support.

Be direct but gentle; guide them without forcing them.

4. Explore your reactivity

Again, without taking the blame for the dynamic, you should look at how you’re overreacting and under-reacting in the relationship.

For example, if you’re dealing with someone who is constantly complaining and being ungrateful towards you, under-reacting gives them permission to keep on doing that.

Try to not emotionally react to them. Ungrateful people aren’t worthy of that, anyway.

Be clear, concise, forthright, logical and don’t attach yourself to anything they say.

5. Don’t normalize ungrateful behavior

This is important. If they’ve been ungrateful for a while, they’ll likely have rationalized their behavior.

The bottom line is that being ungrateful is never OK.

If you’re okay with it, or you react to it (which is what they’re looking for), then they’ll keep on doing it.

So don’t emotionally react, explain rationally why it’s not okay to be ungrateful and get on with your day without being affected.

Once they know you’re a difficult target to get a reaction out of it, they’ll eventually give up.

6. Say goodbye

In some cases, you are going to have to bite the bullet and let the person go out of your life. That may be easier said than done because toxic people have a way of hanging around.

Sometimes it’s difficult for someone’s personality to change, and if they can’t stop being ungrateful, and it really annoys you, then at some point you have to say, enough is enough.

If it gets to that point, you need to save yourself the trouble and prioritize your own happiness and sanity. In many cases, you might not have a choice, so when you do – get out, now.

It’s not going to be easy, but it will be rewarding.

Who knows, you might find it easy! It might feel good to tell someone that you don’t like their attitude and you deserve better in your life.

Whatever feels right to you, do that. But whatever you do, don’t continue to live in a shell because of this person’s way of making you feel small in your own life. It’s not worth it.

Putting yourself first

Hey, Lachlan from Hack Spirit here.

What’s your number one goal at the moment?

Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?

To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?

Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?

Whatever it is, you’re not going to get there, unless you’ve got a plan.

And even then…plans fail.

But I didn’t write this to you to be the voice of doom and gloom…

No, I’m writing this because I want to help you achieve the goals you’ve set.

I’ve recently been taking part in a workshop called Life Journal created by teacher and career coach Jeanette Brown.

Covering all the basics and more on what’s needed to reach your goals, Jeannette tackles everything from creating habits and new behavior patterns to putting your plans into action.

She doesn’t mess around – this workshop will require effort on your part but that’s the beauty of it – Jeanette has carefully designed it to put YOU in the driving seat of your life.

Click here to find out more about Life Journal.

So…think back to that important goal I asked about at the start of this message.

How much do you want it?

Are you willing to put the effort in to get there?

If so, check out the workshop here.

If you do take part, I’d love to hear how your Life Journey goes!

All the best,
Lachlan

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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