Abrasive Personality (A Comprehensive Guide)

Qualities of being opinionated, honest, and outspoken in a person are not considered to be bad but sometimes being too much honest can also have a negative effect on people and can rub them in the wrong way.

For instance, honest people can come off as an abrasive person to the individual who is at fault if he does not already know the characteristic of that person.

Abrasive is taken as a relative term rather than a general one as in some places where people are too honest or straightforward in their communication abrasiveness may be considered as one of the common norms in the society.

Whereas in some places to be honest or straightforward might be completely off so where the person is from and how that person has learned to deal with people can be some of the parameters to determine whether the said person was abrasive or not. In this article, we will discuss the abrasive personality.

Some of the major reasons for an abrasive personality is the upbringing inside a family, the first place a child learns from is his home and those social patterns usually goes along with that person throughout his life and are not changed in different social settings like that of work, school or even in a relationship.

Whereas other sources where this abrasive behavior comes from is because of their need to manipulate others, they are abrasive because they know that this way they can get things done or can attain whatever they want.

They do not consider the feelings of other people and do not care what they will think about them.

This is not our typical case of abrasiveness and might be hinting on a bigger personality disorder problem in the person. 

Behaviors of the people who have a passive personality is totally different from people with Abrasive personality.

Signs of The Abrasive Personality

Some of the signs that are exhibited in a person, according to experts,  if they have an abrasive personality are:

1. They’re Very Commanding

Abrasive people are usually very commanding, they are the ones with a dominant presence and will always try to lead the group of people.

They have the skills for commanding or leading an audience and will exhibit little patience with others.

They can be analytical and intelligent and can lead others while hiding their weaknesses, even when they are not sure about something they will still convey it in a confident manner so nobody can doubt them and they do not become vulnerable.

That confidence is sometimes too much which can come off as commanding and if people around them think that they are coming off as abrasive then they need to work on their communication skills more and become self-aware of their style of communication.

They can ask their friends or colleagues to help them keep in check if they think they are going over the line which can help them out.

2. They’re Very Direct And Sometimes Too Honest

Abrasive people are too honest or direct that usually they are considered as aggressive, harsh, or confrontational but normally that is not the case especially not all direct people are abrasive.

Some of the people who are direct to the point are very healthy, this to the point nature only converts into an abrasive personality if the person is passive-aggressive, narcissistic, paranoid, or aggressive.

Sometimes being too honest can come off as having little experience or tact towards the feelings of others and not considering it while having a conversation.

Being honest is a good quality in general but if someone is honest to the point that they are torturing the other person unintentionally by making them look bad, this quality is obviously not good in that sense.

Since normally the people who are being too honest do not know how their actions are affecting others or are coming off as being abrasive, it’s a common practice for them to deny the fact to others or retaliate and call out the person who pointed it out.

However, if they recognize that there might be something with their behavior that is wrong that is the first step towards realizing what may be the problem and how they can try to minimize it or fix it. 

3. They’re Seen As Outspoken Or Opinionated

One of the other qualities of an abrasive person is that they are usually opinionated or outspoken if you want to know whether a person is abrasive or not just observe that person in the company of other people.

If in some time, the people around that person are trying to cut the conversation short and are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy while talking with that specific person, there is the sign.

Conversations held with a person having an abrasive personality usually feel like a one-sided conversation with the other person listening to a ton of opinions that the abrasive personality one has to share.

In many cases being opinionated can come off as a fairly compelling personality, so to be perfectly clear there is as such nothing wrong with this trait.

However, to be less annoying, an abrasive personality person should learn how to be more self-aware of their method of communication and should work on improving it while giving more time to other people around them.

Abrasive people are usually not bad or mean but are commonly unaware of the fact that they are coming off as a bad person or just act a little differently from the people that are associated with it.

It is better for them to take a break in between to check the flow of the conversation and observe the reaction of other people in the group just to have an idea if they are being abrasive or not.

4. They Have A Way Of Making People Feel Uncomfortable

In some cases, abrasive behavior in a person can stem from low self-esteem which is because of the person feeling insecure and wants to bring themselves as a more self-assured and confident person.

When they come in interaction with other people, normally the abrasive personality person will cut off their sentence or will talk over them or will start making jokes about the other person although their main attention is not to hurt someone but also to portray themselves as a confident individual, the outcome might end up coming out differently by making other people feel uncomfortable.

That is why when dealing with an abrasive personality, it is best to learn about the reason for the behavior and the background of the person. 

5. They’re Not Very Empathetic

Empathy is one of the basic abilities to understand the feelings of the other person and their emotions.

An abrasive personality may not be able to have their own conversation in a situation where empathy is needed for the other person due to the lack of their sense to feel or consider other person’s emotions.

They might end up saying the wrong things at the wrong moment unintentionally which might not end up going correctly with most people.

One of the keys to the abrasive personality to fix their issues is to learn empathy which will take patience, time, and effort but will end up in them having a much better conversation and improving their image. 

6. They See Things In Black And White

In some cases, the person with the abrasive personality can come off as pushy because there is a possibility of them learning to be such during their childhood. 

Some people may conceptualize at a young age maybe because of childhood trauma that in life they have two choices: Either be a perpetrator or be a victim.

These people who come to this conclusion do not realize the fact that life does not have to be a battlefield with either good or wrong so people with abrasive personalities should also work on meeting up with newer people and to broaden their horizons.

7. They’re Very Pushy And Impatient

Abrasive personality people can also come off as impatient and pushy without having the intention to be so.

They are just looking for the other person to meet their expectations and something unintentionally comes off as pushy towards them.

Many times an abrasive personality person will go for what they want and will not see it in themselves that they are being too pushy, even the people around them will not call it out for them to realize.

Although many people might ignore it, there might be a couple inside that will call out to them in a loving way and if it happens, it is better to listen to that person and not to go on the defensive against them.

Dealing with abrasive personalities

Normally when we think of abrasive personality people, the first thoughts that come to mind are aggressive people who do not care about what they say or how they say it and have no way to filter out the stuff they are saying out.

In some of the cases, a person with an abrasive personality might only be straight forward, no-nonsense personality type person who is perceived as an abrasive personality person but can end up being more constructive in a passive work environment. 

Let us consider both of the possibilities considering that the person you are dealing with might be aggressive and the way he communicates might be harsh and confrontation, most of such cases are unaware of the fact that they are being abrasive or in some cases, they might be aware of it and even proud but most cases it is unintentional.

So when dealing with a person having an abrasive personality, the main strategy depends on your relationship with that specific person.

The best way to correct them and to approach them so that they would listen to you is to be direct with them and have a conversation with them in private related to their behavior and approach.

Using indirect methods, like giving hints about their behavior or using soft approaches will end up having no effect on them at all.

In most cases, one on one discussion will help you to realize the other person where they are lacking and how they can improve their communication skill to not come off as an abrasive person. 

Similarly in the work environment, if the abrasive personality person is an employee who reports to you, it is far much easier to confront that person and much more difficult in a vice versa situation.

You can help point out the approach of your employee and help him understand what kind of behavior is expected of him and if he does not improve then there will be consequences because of his behavior.

Whereas in the case of a peer it is best to tell them politely the impact that behavior is having on you and request them to stop. 

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FAQ about Abrasive Personality

What causes an abrasive personality?

The main reason for an abrasive personality in a person is due to the intense and strong interest in themselves.

Their distorted self-perceptions and egocentric view of the world often result in them acting as privileged or above others. 

Is it bad to be abrasive?

Being abrasive does not label a person that he is bad but it is mostly about how they act towards other people and how they make them feel and if they are aware of it or not and putting in the effort to make others feel more comfortable around them. 


7 Signs Someone Is Coming Off As Abrasive Without Realizing It by Kristine Fellizar (2018) 

Dealing with abrasive personalities

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