10 Identifying Signs Of An Abrasive Personality And How To Deal With One

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Signs Of Abrasive Personality Deal

Have you ever met someone who just got on your nerves due to their boastfulness and condescending behavior? You might call them “smarty pants” or “know-it-all”, but these people have a rather fancy name and that’s an abrasive personality!

The abrasive personality disorder is a relatively new concept and still has not got the same level of recognition as other personality disorders such as Narcissism or BPD.

Read: Pick A Tree Personality Test

Although abrasive personality is not a strictly psychiatric term, once you know more about it, you will find the concept quite relatable.

And not only this, you will gain useful insights that will help you easily identify an individual with an abrasive personality. Believe us, the quicker you discover an abrasive personality, the better off you will be.

You will find them everywhere, at social gatherings, at the workplace, and even on dating sites. They come across as knowledgeable and high-achieving go-getters, but there’s something about their behavior that rubs people the wrong way.

To know about the  abrasive personality in detail, let’s learn about all its aspects:

  • Abrasive personality meaning
  • Types of an abrasive personality
  • Abrasive personality traits
  • Causes of an abrasive personality
  • Tips to deal with an abrasive person
  • How to change your abrasive personality

What Is An Abrasive Personality?

The abrasive personality is a set of behavioral traits that make someone come across as:

  • Harsh
  • Conceited
  • Aggressive
  • Critical
  • Egoistic
  • Overbearing
  • Compulsive
  • Unfriendly
  • Control Freak
  • Manipulative
  • Impatient
  • Competetive
  • Proud
  • Selfish

Whether or not someone has an abrasive personality can be evident by the way they treat people around them, be it their coworkers, bosses, or partner.

These people are immensely talented, but their smugness and inability to treat others with compassion and respect make them difficult to be around.

Types Of Abrasive Personality

People who exhibit an abrasive personality generally fall under the following 2 categories:

  • People who are unconscious and unaware of their abrasive nature and how it affects others
  • People who are very much aware of their abrasive ways and derive pleasure from tormenting others

10 Signs Of Abrasive Personality

Whether someone is conscious of their abrasive personality or not, they will display the same personality and behavioral tendencies. So, let’s take a look at the characteristics of an abrasive personality:

1. Domineering

Abrasive people love or better to say need to steal the show. They have a compulsion to grab the spotlight to show off themselves. They are attention seekers but don’t possess the natural charm to attract others with their personality, so they get people’s attention by cutting others off, making rude comments, or interrupting others.

2. Authoritative

An individual with an abrasive personality thinks highly of themselves and consider themselves superior to others. Naturally, they have little to no confidence in others and believe that they have to control others with an iron fist if they need to get anything done. Abrasive people struggle with delegating responsibility and are perceived as bossy or despotic.

3. Brilliant And Perfectionist

Abrasive individuals are talented, intelligent, knowledgable, analytical, driven, hardworking, and brilliant at what they do. But on the flip side, their strive for perfection makes them compulsive, obsessive, and hyper-critical of others.

4. Direct And Blunt

An individual with an abrasive personality is typically goal-oriented and a high-achiever. They have no time or patience to sugarcoat their words when giving feedback. They are not people-oriented and thus are completely careless about politeness or organizational politics.

Abrasive people have little regard for how others might feel and so they give no consideration to not hurting others’ feelings. When someone fails to match up to the high standards of an abrasive person, they are bound to get an earful.

5. Lack Of Empathy

Someone with an abrasive personality will lack empathy.

People who are abrasive are incapable of seeing things from someone else’s point of view. It’s always “My way or the highway” for them. Abrasive folks have a very low emotional intelligence and they are so full of themselves that they cannot empathize with others.

Read: Cluster B Personality Disorder

6. One Dimensional Mind

Another problem with abrasive people is that they cannot see beyond their own judgment and discernment. They do not take opposing views kindly and any kind of opposition is perceived by them as an attack on their credibility. So abrasive people tend to be defensive and hostile when they are challenged in any way.

7. Intolerant

It goes without saying that an abrasive person is intolerant of others. As they are the best at what they do and are over-confident in nature, they cannot put up with people who are less competent than them, who have opinions that are different from theirs, or who challenge their rude and unfriendly manners. This makes them poor team players.

8. Critical

Abrasive people are perfectionists and high-achievers and that makes them unnecessarily pushy and severely critical of others. They expect everyone to meet the abrasive person’s unrealistic high standards.

9. Ambitious And Selfish

Abrasiveness makes people over-ambitious and these people do not care about stomping on others to reach their goals. They can manipulate, backstab, or lie their way to success at the cost of others’ careers and prospects.

10. Proud

Abrasive people are overly proud of their accomplishments and talents. Instead of letting their work speak for them, they brag about themselves and can be very obnoxious and pompous in their attitude. Due to their inflated ego, they generally look down on others and even make slights or veiled insults.

Abrasive Personality Examples

Here are a few examples to help you recognize abrasive personality at its play:

  • A partner who underplays your achievements as insignificant
  • A coworker or team leader who always insists on doing things their way
  • A boss who lashes out on employees for even little errors
  • A friend who tries to one-up you at every opportunity they get
  • A subordinate who excels at work but never gets along with other employees

Causes Of Abrasive Personality

Abrasive people are deeply insecure and need constant validation to feel confident about themselves. This is the reason they go out of their way to prove their worth by being ruthless and cutthroat.

They are engrossed in themselves in such a way that their perception of the outside world is highly distorted. An abrasive person is highly egocentric and their self-perception makes them overestimate themselves while underestimating others.

They have a deep-rooted belief that they are extraordinary and thus worthy of special treatment and privilege and that people should accept their authority without any question.

How To Deal With An Abrasive Person?

Dealing with an abrasive personality at work is more challenging than dealing with an abrasive person in relationships.

You can try to make an abrasive personality in relationships see reasons. You can tell them how their behavior is hurting you and others. And if things do not work out, you two can be on your merry way.

However, an abrasive personality at work is a different ball game altogether. Such people are often of high value to the organization who bring profits and raise the bottom line. Abrasive people are highly sensitive and if they feel they are not being appreciated for their efforts, or even worse, being persecuted, they will most likely quit, leaving their employer in a lurch.

That is why, while dealing with an abrasive person at work, managers and HR officials need to:

  • Find out whether they are aware or unaware of their abrasive behavior.
  • Have an open and honest discussion with them, making them gently understand how their behavior is affecting other employees, the company’s employee policy, and ultimately, the abrasive person’s long-term future within the organization.
  • Strike their ego a little and praise them for bringing a lot of value to the table.
  • Avoid direct confrontation or infuriate them.
  • Refer them for a psyche evaluation.
  • Let them go if they cannot change their abrasive ways, for the sake of other employees’ morale.

A Balancing Act Might Be The Best Solution

An abrasive person can be an exemplary leader if they can balance their persuasiveness with empathy. They can be a great employee if they can infuse their strive for excellence with a cooperative attitude, and they can be a wonderful partner if they can give attention to details without being critical.

If you can identify with these traits of an abrasive personality, please know that there are multiple ways to change your abrasive behavior and become a better person.

You can introspect and try to be more empathic toward others. You can also seek help from a loved one, a colleague, or a mental health expert.

People with an abrasive personality must identify their behavioral issues or else their attitude will make them defeat their own ends, be it in relationships or careers. 


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