11 phrases only deeply self-entitled people use, according to psychology

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The collective term that’s used to describe people who expect special treatment just because they exist.

If you haven’t encountered an individual like this in your lifetime, consider yourself lucky. 

Unfortunately, those of us who have interacted with self-entitled humans know all too well how toxic and exhausting they can be.

And if you’re unsure if you’ve ever dealt with one, sometimes all it takes is paying attention to their language.

To prove this point, have a look at these 11 phrases only deeply self-entitled people use, according to expert psychologists.

1) “Those rules don’t apply to me..”

Clinical psychologist turned author, Dr Allce Boyes notes that people with entitlement tendencies often expect that they’re an exception to the rules.

She says that these individuals believe that whatever rules that apply to others shouldn’t apply to them. 

She says these are the type of people who would put their feet on the chairs at the movies, even if it means making the person in front of them uncomfortable.

They skip the line, park wherever they want, and ignore “do not enter” signs.

It’s as if they live in this alternate reality where rules are invisible lines meant to be crossed, not followed. 

2) “I don’t see why I should spend money if there’s a free option there…”

There’s being financially smart and being savvy when it comes to figuring out how to save like coupons, free trials, etcetera.

And then..

There’s freeloading – which Dr Boyes notes is one of the traits common in self-entitled people.

Because of their entitlement, they have this mindset that they deserve freebies more than others, or that they shouldn’t have to contribute like everyone else does.

It’s the same twisted thinking that makes them assume it’s totally okay to take advantage of other people’s kindness or resources without giving anything in return.

They see nothing wrong with this scenario because this mantra keeps playing in their mind: 

“The world owes me”.

3) “They can wait a bit longer…”

Not only does the world owe them, but apparently, self-entitled people also like to think that there’s nothing wrong with inconveniencing others. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

I get it – there are odd times we unintentionally cause inconvenience, especially when things go out of our control. 

The operative words and phrases here that differentiates us from the self-entitled bunch are odd times and unintentionally. 

Dr Boyes says it’s a sign of self-entitlement if you frequently inconvenience others without thinking. It could be making a habit of bailing out on dinner plans at the last minute or consistently being late

I don’t know about you but what I find most concerning here isn’t the fact that they disrespect others’ time and efforts.

It’s their thinking that this is okay that bothers me the most.

4) “I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking…”

Another thing that grinds my gears when it comes to self-entitled people is when they think it’s also okay to deliberately upset or offend people

And it gets worse when they use this phrase. 

Because when they do, they’re dragging others into their insensitive, unempathetic, and generally horrible behavior

Dr Boyes believes they do this because they “see people who like to keep peace as weak”. So they go no holds barred when it comes to upsetting and offending them.

Their entitlement empowers them to use any means necessary to assert themselves or achieve what they want, regardless of how this can impact others.

Again, don’t take things the wrong way. 

I’m all for being honest and transparent but there’s also this thing called constructive communication. 

It’s a beautiful skill that, sadly, the self-entitled individuals really lack.

5) “I’m the expert here…”

While this can be true (there are people who are truly unbeatable in their own field), this isn’t something that you hear the genuine experts say a lot. 

That’s because true experts – those who really know their stuff – don’t have to go around raising their own flags. 

They don’t need to constantly advertise their expertise because they know that their actions, work ethic, results and accomplishments speak for themselves.

According to Dr Boyes, you know when you’re dealing with a self-entitled person when they see themselves as being better than everyone else. They’re the type of people who think they should always take the lead and they expect to always get the most credit.

On this note, here’s a Socrates-adapted quote that puts entitlement and expertise in a different light:

“The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing. The less you know, the more you think you deserve to rule the world.” 

6) “Did you see what I just did?”

When someone always has the urge to take the credit, it makes sense that they’d also be constantly fishing for validation

So, if you know a person who’s always saying, “See what I just did?” or something similar like, “Aren’t you going to thank me?”, “Aren’t you impressed?”, “I expect some praise for this?” – that’s a sign that they may have an overinflated sense of entitlement.

A 2019 study published by the Society of Personality and Social Psychology found that the reason self-entitled people are always seeking validation is that they need to maintain the self-image goals they set for themselves. 

But here’s where it gets interesting:

The same study notes that this behavior does more harm than good in the individual’s interpersonal relationships. 

Apparently, their constant chasing of affirmation only creates conflict and hostility, which results in strained relationships.

7) “It’s not my fault”

They chase after compliments and validation, but they run away from responsibility.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Allison Broennimann supports the notion that self-entitled people aren’t good at owning up to their mistakes. 

Like we said earlier, they believe they know best, and that includes the belief that they aren’t capable of making mistakes

That said, it’s definitely more than right to stand up for yourself and protect yourself from false blame. 

But, if someone never takes accountability even when they’re obviously at fault, that’s a glaring red flag of self-entitlement.

8) “You’re wrong, I’m right…”

According to Dr Broenimann’s team, another sign that someone is self-entitled is when they’re argumentative, defensive, or dismissive. 

They do this to prove that they’re always right or that they know it all.

They’re the type of people who you’d often hear say things like:

  • “This is how it’s really done.”
  • “I’m not arguing; I’m just explaining why I’m right”
  • “That’s not true, I know better..”
  • “No need to explain; I already know all about that.”

In short, one trick to spotting a self-entitled person is when they’re more interested in correcting you than understanding you.

9) “Let me tell you about… (me, my experience, when I)..”

Speaking of conversation, the self-entitled are also capable of actively engaging in discussions without being argumentative or defensive.

But there’s a catch:

That conversation has to revolve around them – their experiences, actions, life updates – anything, as long as it has them at the central topic.

Dr Broenimann believes that this is because someone who is self-entitled expects everyone to care about their life. They’re under the impression that everyone wants to know about their plans and moods or that their life is more exciting or interesting than everyone else’s.

But here’s a funny but oh-so-true clap back to that:

“Every time we start thinking we’re the center of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, ‘I’m sorry. What’d you say your name was again?’” – Margaret Maron.

10) “I hear what you’re saying, but it’s not relevant..”

If it isn’t about how great they are, forget about getting your point across to someone with an extreme sense of self-entitlement.


Because according to Dr Broenimann’s team, self-entitled people are terrible listeners. 

You know that time and undivided attention they expect from you when they’re talking about themselves? That’s not something they’re ready to give to you when you’re talking about something else but their life.

Talk about being ironic, right?

It’s like they have a switch or a sensor that shuts their ears and attention off when the topic is not flattering to them.

11) “Don’t you know who I am?”

Of course, our list won’t be complete without showcasing phrases that self-entitled people use to express that they expect special treatment.

This phrase is usually followed or prefaced by:

  • “I should go first..”
  • “I deserve the best…”
  • “..if you do, then you know you should upgrade/prioritize me.”

These phrases are also often coupled with self-entitled behavior, like skipping the lines or talking over someone.

As Dr Broennimann notes, the self-entitled person believes they deserve nothing but the very best – at all costs.

Let me get things straight:

We should all know our worth and believe that we deserve the best of everything.

But, and that’s a big BUT:

When that mentality means not caring about who we step on, offend, or inconvenience along the way, then that’s definitely a no-no!

Final thoughts

While some of these phrases might sound okay on their own, it’s the context and the frequency that really show us who’s feeling a bit too entitled. 

Think of it like salt: A little enhances the flavor, but too much of it ruins the dish.

Saying some of these phrases once in a while during a relevant discussion isn’t the real dealbreaker.

It’s when it’s said over and over, often out of context, that it starts to wear thin. 

As the saying goes:

“It’s not what you say, it’s how often and where you say it that reveals your true colors”. – Unknown

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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