17 Signs You Have A Bad Attitude And How To Change It

Do you have a bad attitude? I mean, how can you tell, really?

One person’s bad attitude is another’s comic relief, right? 

Turns out, not so much. 

You’re just getting a reputation for being one of those people with attitude. And it’s never a compliment. At some point, even your friends stop pretending you’re funny. 

So, you want to know, what is a bad attitude? And if you have one, where did it come from? And what can you do to change it?

What Does It Mean to Have a Bad Attitude? 

This day has been on your case from the moment you got up this morning.

And for some reason, other people have been acting as if you are the problem.

You’re the one having an attitude that makes everything and everyone in your life an antagonist. 

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Why do I have a bad attitude?” And, at first, habit steers you toward blame. Someone or something else has given this day a bad start. 

You were just minding your own business when, for no reason, the universe flicked you in the head. Back up a bit more, though, and you can probably point to one of the following as the reason why your attitude is so negative. 

  • You’re working through something, and you just can’t with people right now. 
  • You pride yourself on your grumpiness; it’s just who you are. 
  • You’re a glass-half-empty (or just empty) person, and you’re okay with that. 
  • You think people today are too sensitive, and it’s your job to toughen them up.
  • You woke up with your usual mindset, which can be roughly translated as “Ugh!”

The good news, once you know why your attitude is making your life harder, you can exchange it for one that makes it easier and more enjoyable. 

But first, you need to be honest with yourself about where that attitude came from. 

17 Signs You Have a Bad Attitude 

There are reasons behind your attitudes, including the ones that make life harder.

And those reasons serve as telltale signs you need to take a moment and examine your thinking.

Once you identify the signs of a bad attitude, you can take steps to improve it.

1. You’re (always) comparing yourself to others. 

If you’re always comparing yourself to others, you’re bound to end up with a negative attitude, at least whenever you feel inferior to the other person. 

What you can do: When you hear of someone else’s success or good fortune, be as happy and grateful for them as you would be for yourself. Make it a habit to see everyone’s wins as a win for you, too. 

2. You expect other people to operate according to your schedule.

You’ve got things to do and places to go. How dare anyone make you late for something! If you react harshly, it’s only because you take your duties seriously. 

What you can do — Remember that while you have an idea of how long it should take to do something, other people are dealing with things you can’t see. It’s easier to be patient when you choose instead to think of how grateful you are for what they do. 

3. Everyone irritates you. 

You’re always looking for a fight, and it doesn’t take much for you to get mouthy or abrasive. You’re rude to anyone who doesn’t meet your high standards. 

What you can do — Get to know yourself. And get to know other people. Your own attitude is what keeps you in a hair-trigger state, and that’s no way to live. You’re choosing to feel irritated; no one can make you feel that way unless you let them.

4. You expect deference from people whose jobs are less prestigious than yours. 

Somewhere along the way, you started looking down at people who work low-income jobs or who never earned a college degree. Whatever your background, it’s never too late to educate yourself and learn how to see people as they are.

What you can do — Find a volunteer opportunity that involves serving people, either in foodservice, cleaning, or something else. It’s not the fault of essential workers that society doesn’t value the hard work they do.

5. You expect others to respect you before you show them respect. 

Not only that, but you don’t feel respected unless other people do as you ask. If the other person doesn’t obey or indulge you, you see no reason to treat them like human beings. 

What you can do — Practice being the first to show respect and appreciation. Don’t worry if others don’t return the favor. Act as if you see the good in everyone, and you will. 

6. You’re always in a hurry. 

I mean, who isn’t, right? So much to do! The nerve of some people slowing you down when all you’re trying to do is check everything off on your to-do list. 

What you can do — Slow down and learn to appreciate what’s around you. Learn to appreciate the people in your life and all that they do. Most, if not all the people you meet, are doing their best. And a kind word of thanks goes a long way. 

7. Your expectations have never met reality. 

You base your expectations on what you want — and on the assumption that, if only others were as competent and hard-working as you, they’d have no trouble meeting those expectations. 

What you can do — Get better acquainted with other people’s reality. Its defiance of your expectations doesn’t have to lead to disappointment. Adjust your expectations to allow for the unexpected variables that go with being human. 

8. You misinterpret everything others do and say. 

No one can do right by you. And every little thing they do is setting you off. You’re so busy thinking, “Why are people so annoying?” you’re oblivious to your effect on others.

What you can do — Remember you’re not a mind-reader. And it doesn’t cost you a thing to flip your default interpretation to a positive one. It doesn’t mean you have to assume everyone has good intentions. Just don’t be quick to think everyone hates you.

9. You’re stuck in all-or-nothing (or black and white) thinking. 

Either someone is 100% on board with what you want to do, or they’re against you. There is no in-between. And no one has either the will or the ability to be the kind of “friend” you want. 

What you can do — A good friend will have your back but will also tell you when they disagree. Learn to appreciate the people in your life who care enough about you to be honest.

10. You’re fixated on conflicts with people you care about. 

You don’t have room or time to deal with people when your mind is stuck thinking about a conflict with someone you care about. Your mind builds that conflict into something catastrophic and all-consuming. 

What you can do — Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of a conflict, focus on what you love about the other person, what you’re grateful for, and how you can show it.

11. You’re carrying a grudge against someone. 

It’s a righteous grudge, you keep telling yourself. You’re convinced that letting go of that grudge would let the other person win. But the only person your grudge is hurting is you. 

What you can do — Decide to forgive this person, not for their sake, but for yours. And, as hard as it may be, go the extra mile and make a list of things you’re grateful for or that you admire about this person. 

12. You’re expecting bad things to happen to you. 

You’re doomed. Nothing ever goes the way you want it to. So, why wouldn’t you have a bad attitude? Your whole life is a cruel joke, and everyone else sees it when they look at you. So, you scowl back. 

What you can do — Your attitude is exactly why it seems the universe is against you. You’ve decided to believe that, so that’s exactly how you feel. Instead, choose to believe that the universe wants you to be happy and have a life you love.

13. You’ve gotten used to seeing yourself as unlikable.

You don’t expect people to like you, so you don’t give them any reason to. If you don’t like yourself, you won’t expect others to, either. 

What you can do — Focus on cultivating authentic self-respect and self-love. And work on building self-confidence. The better you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to “cut to the chase” and do or say something you know will alienate other people.

14. Deep down, you honestly believe you’re superior to others. 

Maybe you can do something few others can. Or perhaps you’ve been encouraged to see yourself as superior. Whatever the reason, your arrogance hasn’t done you any favors — especially when it comes to relationships. 

What you can do — Get better acquainted with others and learn how amazing they are. Get out of your head and practice gratitude for the beauty and brilliance you see outside of it. 

15. A recent disappointment has you discouraged. 

It’s hard to think about anything or anyone else when you’re fixated on a disappointing experience. Whatever you expected to happen didn’t. So, what have you learned? 

What you can do — Give yourself some time to reassess the situation and see that it doesn’t diminish your value. You are stronger than your disappointments. 

16. A recent tragedy has you feeling indifferent to everyone and everything else. 

You’re in pain, and it’s hard to see past that. All it takes is one thoughtless act, and you vent your grief and frustration as complaints and insults. It seems that’s all you have the energy for.

What you can do — The best way to start the healing process is to think, not only of what you love about this person but of what you can do and enjoy now. Think about what you love, and make more room in your life for that. 

17. People have been calling you out for your attitude.

The biggest clue that your attitude is not serving you or anyone else is when people around you are calling you out for it. They’ve had enough, and they’re not afraid to tell you you’re being a jerk. However carefully they might do this, you feel attacked. 

What you can do — If your attitude is putting people off, they’re doing you a favor by pointing that out. It’s on you to change your attitude by changing your thinking. 

How Do You Fix a Bad Attitude? 

Now that you’ve looked through these 17 signs of a bad attitude, let’s sum up the best ways to exchange that attitude for a better one: 

  • Start each day by making a list of ten things you’re grateful for. 
  • When you’re angry with someone, write ten things you admire about them. 
  • When it’s tempting to think you’re having a bad day, think of ten reasons it’s a good one. 
  • Practice mindfulness meditation every day to be fully present and grateful for the good in your life. 
  • Think about what you love and spend time imagining, in vivid detail, what you want. 

In other words, the more positive your thinking, the better you feel, and your feelings are powerful. Adopt even one of these habits today, and it will change your life.

Ready to turn your bad attitude around?

Now that you have an answer to the question, “Why do I have a bad attitude?” what will you do today to improve it and to build a life you love? 

The quality of your life is up to you, after all, and no one else. What you do with your time, energy, and other resources will depend on how you choose to think and feel. 

Choose carefully. Make every moment an opportunity to give love with your thoughts. You’ll be amazed at the difference that makes. 

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