7 Common Attitudes of Intolerant People

7 Common Attitudes of Intolerant People

Last update: 17 March, 2018

It’s not easily to be truly tolerant. That’s why sometimes we’re in for a surprise when we think we are. We don’t always work on tolerance enough to really call ourselves tolerant. It’s like Jaime Balme says: “you are not tolerant if you cannot tolerate intolerance.” So, do you tolerate intolerance?

Do you tolerate intolerance?

Before we get too far into it, here’s a simple exercise suggested by Pablo Morano, an expert in personal growth.  This guide contains a series of questions that can give us a true ranking of where we are on the supposed scale of tolerance. 

A woman holding her hand up to say STOP.

Are you someone who rejects things that are different? Do you immediately say no to outside, strange ideas, and even end up looking down on them? Are you a person who gets annoyed when people with different opinions seem to have more opportunities to express them? Do you think everyone should think the same way as you?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it means you have a certain level of intolerance. We’re talking about levels because in most cases, if we draw a line between “tolerance” and “intolerance,” we fall somewhere along it.

That is, the answers to these questions wouldn’t all carry the same weight or indicate the same direction. W e all have a certain level of tolerance or intolerance, depending on the circumstance and our personality.

Attitudes that intolerant people have in common

Independently of other personal characteristics, there are certain attitudes intolerant people often have. They are dispositions, always linked to their rigid way of thinking. We’re going to highlight a few of the most noticeable ones here…


In general, an intolerant person displays fanaticism when defending their beliefs and stances. Whether in a political or religious conversation, they tend to be unable to argue or discuss things without taking up extremist lines of thought. They think their way of seeing things is the only way. In fact, they’ll try to impose their way of seeing the world onto the others.

Psychological rigidity

Intolerant people are afraid of anything that’s different. That is, they’re rigid in their psychology. It makes it hard for them to accept that other people might have different philosophies and perspectives. So they distance themselves from anything that doesn’t line up with their way of thinking. They won’t accept it. It may even make them feel anxious.

Being a know-it-all, but they don’t actually know it all

Intolerant people feel like they have to defend themselves from people who are different or think differently. So they embellish or make things up, presenting  theories as facts and acting knowledgeable in subjects they don’t actually know about. 

They don’t accept or listen to other points of view besides their own, and think their closed-off attitude is justified. They might even turn to insults or aggressiveness if they feel boxed into a corner and out of arguments.

Intolerant people arguing on the couch.

Their world is simple and lacks depth

Intolerant people see the world as much simpler than it really is. That is, they don’t listen, so they don’t open up to other stances and ways of thinking. So their world is black and white. 

That means thinking things like “you’re either with me or against me”… “something is either ugly or pretty”… “right or wrong” without realizing that their might be a lot of gray in between. They need security and certainty, even if it isn’t real. 

They stick to routines

In general, they usually don’t like anything that’s unexpected or spontaneous. They grab on tight to their routines, things they know well and that give them security and peace. Otherwise they get stressed or frustrated extremely easily.

They have trouble in relationships

The lack of empathy in intolerant people can cause them serious social problems. They need to correct, dominate, and always impose their point of view. That makes it so they surround themselves with passive people or people with low self-esteem. Otherwise their interactions end up being impossible or overly complex.

They tend to be extremely jealous

An intolerant person will have a hard time accepting someone else’s success, because that person will always be on a different level, and as a result, their level is wrong. Plus, if that person has a more open and tolerant way of thinking, the intolerant person will feel uneasy. Their anxiety levels will go up, because it’s incorrect from their point of view. They may also be jealous, deep down.

These are common attitudes we see in intolerant people, to some degree or another. Do you identify with any of them? If that’s the case, put a stop to it today. Believe us — you’ll be happier and your life will be more fulfilling.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.