The Cynical Personality (A complete guide)

In this article we will explore the traits of a cynical person and their attitude toward life. We will also touch upon how cynics tend to think and act in life.

What is a cynical personality? 

A cynic is a persona who is always morally depressed and approaches every matter with negativity, perceiving everyone’s intention with doubt and distrust, believing everyone is selfish in anything they undertake. 

To be aware of pros and cons is appreciable but the negative impacts of unnecessary worrying blackouts positivity from the horizon. We will touch upon some of the basic signs to look for and to know if someone is a cynic.

Cynicism is a way of feeling as well as thinking with doubt, pessimism and sarcasm. The general etiquette of a cynic is usually of hopelessness and distrust in dealing with people all around. 

They doubt those around, who are enthusiastic about their ambition, desirous of success, need for bounty, fulfilled and delightful, possessed with solid goals. A pessimistic shadow covers everything they see and believes situations as unrealistically possible to achieve thus considers them as unachievable hence ridicules and shuns.   

Pessimism overshadows optimism 

Cynic begins with self-doubt and goes on with the negative assumptions of a drastic ending of any project, their constant fear and worry of failure and imagination leading to not attempting to make up for the loss at all. Instead, they would wait for the whole thing to go in the drain 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Ready for the worst 

It’s a positive potential of healthy beings to be prepared for any hazardous situations but to be in constant fear of failure awaiting at every step and nonstop worrisome attitude can’t be beneficial and this trait is a very obvious indicator of a cynic.   

Dissuading everyone around

Caution and prevention for success could be rewarding but over doing of anything could never be of a required help. On the other hand, being extremely and ludicrously discouraging and thwarting at every step is the key trait of a cynic. 

If anyone approaches with a new idea or business option for consideration, they plainly bring up the worst scenarios that would be encountered and nothing positive could come out of the whole adventure being proposed. Their negative presumptions and assessments prevail in their overall thinking hence they sabotage the plan in the initial stage. 

Always blaming others 

Fault finding is the main characteristic of a cynic, he without failing could do so for anything that goes wrong in any scenario and would never accept any fault as theirs. Their consistent habit of looking for fault and continually blaming others of any mishap depicts their negative approach as they cannot think of any hopeful outcomes so always foreseeing adversity and deprecation. They always blame others and when they can’t blame anyone then target their fate or situation and never take the blame themselves. 

Mistrustful of everyone. 

Cynics’ inability to think anything positively makes them always mistrusting and predicting hopelessness and perceived failure, constantly doubting related people hence not appreciative of others genuine approach. Always suspicious and perceiving dark sides of the people makes them despondent of any ray of hope therefore would be distrustful of people around. 

Happy times harbinger sorrows 

The cynics’ belief of sorrow would follow after the celebrations, makes one feel really illogical and very unreasonable, which they truly believe in. Any normal person would acknowledge the absurdity of such dogmas, for what goes by comes by, same is the case with happiness. But cynics adamantly believe celebrations being the symbol of sad times, instead of rejoicing in the jolly moments and being jubilant they are planning how they would counter the forthcoming unhappiness. 

Never positive without purpose 

Cynics could also be affirmative but not without ulterior motives. They could be appreciative and could boost someone’s actions for serving their own purpose let alone for acknowledgement and being obliged.  

There’s No Such Thing as Goodness 

Cynical people have lost belief in people doing acts of kindness and they find it hard to believe that these acts are motivated by anything other than personal gain. They always tend to think that if someone has helped a person, they have done it with an ulterior motive in mind. Cynics remain constantly suspicious, even of the people closest to them, all their lives. They also have a deep seated feeling that everyone is conspiring against each other and the world is just a place where people live for their own personal motives.

Quotes on Cynics and Cynicism

“Cynicism is intellectual treason.”

Norman Cousin

“Cynicism, to me, is trying to make people as unhappy as you are.” 

Ricky Gervais

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Oscar Wilde

“A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.”

Henry Ward Beecher

“Cynicism: The intellectual cripple’s substitute for intelligence”

Russell Lynes

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”

H.L. Mencken

“It is only the cynicism that is born of success that is penetrating and valid.”

George Nathan

“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

Maya Angelou

“The cynic finds love with the idealist. The rebel with the conformist. The social butterfly with the bookworm. They help each other balance their lives.”

Joyce Brothers

“Most cynics are really crushed romantics: they’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive.”

Jeff Bridges

“Progress is more of a challenge for the cynic but also more important and urgent, since for the optimist things aren’t that bad and are bound to get better anyway.” 

Julian Baggini

“Every person has the power to make others happy. Some do it simply by entering a room — others by leaving the room. Some individuals leave trails of gloom; others, trails of joy. Some leave trails of hate and bitterness; others, trails of love and harmony. Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism; others trails of faith and optimism. Some leave trails of criticism and resignation; others trails of gratitude and hope. What kind of trails do you leave?”

Henry Ward Beecher

“Life is not an easy matter… You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.”

Leon Trotsky

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the furthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness: a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say ‘no.’ But saying ‘yes’ begins things. Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow.”

Stephen Colbert


In this article we explored the traits of a cynical person and their attitude toward life. We also touched upon how cynics tend to think and act in life. If you have any questions or opinions please feel free to reach out to us!

f you’ve enjoyed the ”The Cynical Personality” you should take a look at ”Arrogant Personality” too.

 Frequently Asked Questions: Cynical Personality

What do cynical people look for? 

Cynical people, regardless of the situation, always see the negative side of things. They are known for finding flaws in everybody and everything besides themselves. You may be cynical if you catch yourself accusing others and the circumstances for your failures.

What is a cynical person like?

When you call someone cynical, you’re implying that they think people are always selfish. When you’re cynical about something, you don’t think it will succeed and also that the people involved are not trustworthy. 

Is it bad to be a cynical person?

When this kind of attitude occurs on an individual level, it’s awful enough, but it really is toxic on a social level. Cynicism has a crippling effect in a time when action needs to be taken. 

Is being cynical good?

Cynicism, would be neither entirely good or entirely bad. It’s possible to be too pessimistic, but it’s also possible to be underly pessimistic. The most common criticism of cynicism is that it induces defeatist pessimism, the assumption that nothing can ever be positively impacted.

What is the difference between cynical and skeptical?

Cynicism is characterised by a pessimistic attitude toward life and a lack of trust in others. Someone who is sceptical is more inclined to do their homework before accepting what they have been told. Cynical people generally believe that everyone is out to get them.

What is an example of cynical?

What is a cynical example?
Others’ honesty, sincerity, or motivations are questioned. Cynicism is grounded in the notion that people only act in order to meet their own needs. An example of cynical might be somebody who thinks that someone donated to charity only to get a date with the person who asked for the contribution.

How can I be less cynical?

Here are a few tips on how to be less cynical:
Recognize and accept your cynicism. It will be easier to work on changing your attitude once you recognise this
You should make a conscious effort to adopt positive thinking
Make an effort to be grateful
Take a deep breath
Practice mindfulness
Play every day, even if it’s only for five minutes.
Limit the amount of news you consume
Make your authentic self known


Signs of a Cynical Person

Quotes from Successories

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