Definition of SELF-SERVING


Self-serving is an adjective that describes actions, behaviors, or motives primarily aimed at promoting one’s own interests or agenda, often at the expense of others. Here are several key aspects of self-serving behavior:

Promotion of Personal Interests: Self-serving actions prioritize the advancement of one’s own interests, goals, or desires above those of others. Individuals who engage in self-serving behavior may seek to gain advantages, recognition, or rewards for themselves without regard for the well-being or needs of others.

Manipulative or Opportunistic: Self-serving behavior may involve manipulation or exploitation of situations, relationships, or resources to benefit oneself. Individuals may seize opportunities or take advantage of others to further their own agenda or achieve personal gain, even if it comes at the expense of others.

Lack of Consideration for Others: Self-serving individuals may demonstrate a lack of consideration or empathy for the feelings, needs, or interests of others. They may prioritize their own needs or desires without regard for how their actions impact those around them, leading to selfish or insensitive behavior.

Short-Term Gratification: Self-serving behavior is often driven by a desire for immediate gratification or personal gain, rather than long-term consequences or the greater good. Individuals may prioritize instant rewards or benefits without considering the broader implications of their actions on themselves or others.

In summary, self-serving behavior is characterized by actions, behaviors, or motives aimed at advancing one’s own interests or agenda, often at the expense of others. It may involve manipulation, opportunism, lack of consideration for others, and a focus on short-term gratification rather than long-term consequences or the welfare of the community.


The correct term is self-serving, with a hyphen. This is the standard way to write this compound adjective, describing someone who acts in a way that primarily benefits themselves, often at the expense of others. The hyphen helps clarify that “self” and “serving” are acting together as a single modifier before a noun, ensuring clarity in communication.

Examples of SELF-SERVING in a sentence

  • His self-serving actions were motivated solely by personal gain.
  • The company’s decision to cut costs was seen as a self-serving move to boost profits at the expense of employee welfare.
  • She was known for her self-serving attitude, always putting her own interests above those of others.
  • The politician’s promises were dismissed as self-serving, with critics questioning his sincerity.
  • The lawyer’s self-serving arguments failed to persuade the jury, who saw through his ulterior motives.
  • The CEO’s self-serving behavior alienated employees and eroded trust within the company.
  • The journalist exposed the self-serving practices of the pharmaceutical industry, revealing a pattern of prioritizing profits over patient well-being.
  • His self-serving remarks during the meeting undermined his credibility as a team player.

Etymology of SELF-SERVING

The term self-serving navigates the realm of motivation, behavior, and interpersonal dynamics, embodying qualities of egocentrism, opportunism, and a focus on one’s own interests above those of others. Rooted in individual psychology and social interaction, it has evolved into a concept that describes actions, attitudes, or behaviors that prioritize personal gain or advancement at the expense of others.

  • Egocentrism and Opportunism: Self-serving behavior is characterized by egocentrism and opportunism, as individuals prioritize their own interests, needs, or desires above those of others. They may exploit opportunities for personal gain or advancement, regardless of the impact on others or the greater good.
  • Manipulation and Exploitation: Self-serving individuals may engage in manipulation or exploitation to further their own agenda or achieve their goals. They may use deception, coercion, or influence tactics to manipulate others into serving their interests or meeting their needs, often without regard for ethical or moral considerations.
  • Lack of Empathy and Consideration: Self-serving behavior is often accompanied by a lack of empathy or consideration for the feelings, needs, or perspectives of others. Individuals focused on serving their own interests may disregard or minimize the impact of their actions on others, prioritizing their own needs or desires above the well-being of others.
  • Short-Term Focus: Self-serving behavior is typically driven by a short-term focus on immediate gratification or personal gain, rather than long-term consequences or broader social implications. Individuals may pursue opportunities for immediate rewards or benefits, even if they come at the expense of long-term relationships or reputation.
  • Self-Promotion and Image Management: Self-serving individuals may engage in self-promotion or image management to enhance their own reputation, status, or influence. They may seek validation or recognition from others, using social networks, media platforms, or other channels to showcase their achievements or successes.
  • Conflict and Competition: Self-serving behavior can lead to conflict and competition in interpersonal relationships, as individuals vie for resources, opportunities, or recognition. They may engage in competitive or adversarial behavior, viewing others as rivals or obstacles to their own success.
  • Ethical Dilemmas and Moral Compromises: Self-serving behavior often raises ethical dilemmas and moral compromises, as individuals weigh the pursuit of their own interests against the principles of fairness, integrity, and justice. They may rationalize or justify their actions to themselves or others, minimizing the ethical implications of their behavior.
  • Social Perception and Reputation: Self-serving behavior may be perceived negatively by others, who may view it as selfish, manipulative, or untrustworthy. Individuals who prioritize their own interests above those of others may struggle to build and maintain positive relationships or earn the trust and respect of their peers.

Self-serving behavior encapsulates the essence of egocentrism, opportunism, and a focus on personal gain in human interactions and relationships. From its roots in individual psychology to its broader implications for social dynamics and ethical decision-making, self-serving behavior reflects complex interplays of motivation, morality, and social influence in human behavior.


  • Selfish
  • Opportunistic
  • Egocentric
  • Self-centered
  • Mercenary
  • Exploitative
  • Manipulative
  • Narcissistic


  • Altruistic
  • Selfless
  • Benevolent
  • Generous
  • Altruistic
  • Philanthropic
  • Humanitarian
  • Compassionate


  • Egoism
  • Egocentrism
  • Selfishness
  • Exploitation
  • Manipulation
  • Opportunism
  • Narcissism
  • Greed

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