What is the difference between Self-serving and Selfish?

The difference between self-serving and selfish

is that “self-serving” is showing interest only in oneself and “selfish” is holding one’s own self-interest as the standard for decision making.




  • Showing interest only in oneself.


  • Don’t assume that the connotations of authority, history, scholarship, hallowed tradition and judiciousness in the word “Academy" actually fit this self-serving club.
  • “Most of the time when people consider the question of what rules society should have for using software, the people considering it are from software companies, and they consider the question from a self-serving perspective,” says Stallman, opening his speech.


  • Holding one’s own self-interest as the standard for decision making.
  • Having regard for oneself above others’ well-being.


  • egoistic
  • egotistic
  • egotistical
  • self-centered
  • greedy


  • altruistic
  • philanthropic
  • selfless
  • unselfish


  • “We all have both a selfish separate self, and an Inner Being that is One with the Universal Spirit. In this sense, every human has a sort of ‘split personality’. We are all kind of what you call ‘schitzy’ with these two sides, these two people living within us. And they are in total opposition. The free will dictates which of these two sides will have its way in our life, at every given moment."
  • The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. […] Can those harmless but refined fellow-diners be the selfish cads whose gluttony and personal appearance so raised your contemptuous wrath on your arrival?