The Characteristics of a Close-minded Person and How to Deal with Them

A person who's close-minded only pays attention to information that confirms what he or she believes. Is it possible to find strategies to dialogue with them? Learn the answer here.
The Characteristics of a Close-minded Person and How to Deal with Them
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

The “no” comes first. The single, closed-minded person then always has an opinion that follows. This is the kind of stance an uncompromising person takes.

He or she has little room to listen to others’ opinions or to modify his or her own ideas. Let’s take a look at what it’s like to interact with someone who’s closed-minded.

What does a close-minded person look like?

This is a person who’s characterized by extreme rigidity. They remain unalterable in their opinions and behaviors, even when evidence or facts show that it’s a good idea to change their mind.

They tend to be guided by the norm and rigid rules, with a sense of authority and respect for what’s already been established. They’re usually almost dogmatic and tend not to question what should be done, but take it as a parameter and follow it blindly. In addition, they always want to be right and can be judgmental.

It’s often difficult to coexist with this type of personality, since they tend to place themselves in a role of moral superiority. However, as an advantage (at least at some times), a close-minded person makes sure to stay in their comfort zone. This implies a certain stability and absence of shocks.

However, these people are closed to learning and to new experiences. Therefore, close-mindedness is a double-edged sword, since it prevents adaptation. Changes are experienced with great anguish and discomfort.

It can also be difficult to dialogue or work with this type of personality. They’re only able to see situations from their own lens, without incorporating other variables or information.

A close-minded person

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Some characteristics if closed-minded people

The main characteristics of a close-minded person are the following:

  • They’re not able to accept that there are other points of view or opinions.
  • They tend to pay attention only to information that confirms what they already know. So, when faced with an argument that contradicts what they believe, they’ll always try to play it safe. We could say that they’re very conservative in their way of seeing the world and that they don’t adapt well to change.
  • While they may appear to be very secure, sometimes this closemindedness reveals insecurity, because deep down, the unknown causes fear. That place of certainty is what makes them feel good and able to be in control.
  • They often get involved or engage in conversations only for the purpose of questioning.
  • They often feel threatened by other people’s opinions. That’s why they are defensive.

The closeminded attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than of a deep conviction. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher

If you’re a close-minded person

Some recommendations to keep in mind if you recognize that you have this type of personality are the following:

  • You must first recognize yourself as a close-minded person. Don’t know how? For example, if you find that you tend to have a lot of differences with people about your opinions, if you often hear that you’re very closed, perhaps you can take these hints to explore your situation.
  • Try not to take every comment or discussion personally. This is not an attack on you. There’s simply another person who thinks differently.
  • Try to listen to what another person has to say without making any interruptions. Ask questions to understand why he or she is saying it, without bringing him or her into your explanatory models. When he or she speaks, listen. Don’t get ahead of yourself in what you want to refute or answer.
  • Think about where your rigid behaviors have led you. Think about if the results of your position bring you closer or farther away from your objectives. Also, think about the cost of not changing your mind until the end.
  • Finally, stop justifying yourself by saying, “this is who I am.” We all can change if we’re willing to do so.

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If you must bond with a close-minded person

Choose what battles you want to fight if you bond with someone who’s a close-minded person. Don’t make it your goal to change someone’s mind. Rather, think about what you need to resolve your differences and skip the rest.

When addressing the other person, don’t point out his or her close-mindedness as a fixed trait of their personality, but rather of their behavior or conduct. In other words, avoid phrases such as “you’re close-minded” since they tend to shut down listening and generate a threat. It’s better to say something like, “it seems to me that your way of seeing this matter is a little closed.”

Look after your emotions. Talking to someone who’s closed-minded usually triggers a cataract of emotions if we don’t manage them.

So, it’s important that you pay attention to how you feel and express it. Apart from the fact that people can have different opinions, don’t allow anyone to disrespect you. Be clear about your boundaries. 

Mujeres hablan.

There’s no single truth

In a conversation in which two people believe that their truth is absolute, it will be difficult to reach an agreement. The truth is that everyone has their own beliefs and thoughts that are nuanced according to our personal experiences.

Therefore, it’s best not to take anything for granted or assume it’s obvious. This doesn’t necessarily imply agreement, but it does imply listening to and respecting each other.

Finally, close-mindedness not only leads to intellectual impoverishment due to rigidity and being closed off. Often, it also leads to interpersonal conflicts.

Perhaps the objective is not that, but what’s received from the other side tends to go in that direction. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that all opinions should be valued, even if we don’t agree with them.

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  • Cortada de Kohan, N., & Macbeth, G. (2006). Los sesgos cognitivos en la toma de decisiones.

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.