If there’s someone at work who makes you feel like you don’t understand much, constantly interrupts you, and displays other toxic behavioral patterns, you might be dealing with a condescending person.
This colleague or supervisor becomes very difficult to work with, and you might end up thinking about quitting your job.
This article will dig deeper into the signs of a condescending person and explain why people act this way.
It will also suggest the most practical ways to deal with this attitude, so read more to learn about this topic.
Table Of Contents
Signs of a Condescending Person
A self-confident person isn’t someone who is condescending.
But if someone in the workplace makes you feel uncomfortable, you might want to keep an eye on these signs to see if you’re dealing with a condescending person.
- Thinking Highly of Themselves: They believe that they’re smarter, more intelligent, and they’re better than anyone else. They’ll often make others feel that they’re not good enough.
- Assuming They Know Everything: They explain things and might make fun of you if you don’t understand something.
- Giving Advice: They usually give unsolicited advice because they think they understand better. Their career advice often comes as someone who is talking to a younger child.
- Using Pet Names: Pet names can make people feel uncomfortable if they’re said by someone who’s being sarcastic. A lot of people don’t prefer them in general because they don’t sound professional.
- Putting Others Down: They belittle your work and explain how easy it is. They also like to mention that they can do things faster and better.
- Being the Center of Attention: They’re not good team players and will try to talk so highly of themselves, even if they’re discussing group work.
What is a Condescending Tone of Voice?
A condescending tone of voice can sometimes go unnoticed, but if things persist, you’ll notice that this person doesn’t take you too seriously.
You’ll notice that they’re talking to you slower than they talk to anyone else, more like how someone would talk to a child.
What’s the Difference Between Condescending and Patronizing?
These two words actually refer to the same thing.
Both types of behavior will make people feel uneasy because the condescending person makes them feel not good or not smart enough.
Examples of Condescending Behavior at Work
Condescending people make us feel bad about ourselves with their tone of voice and patronizing attitude.
Here are some examples of their behavioral patterns.
Explaining Stuff You Already Know
This person will explain things like they’re offering you valuable knowledge.
This will make you feel uneasy because they somehow assume that you don’t know what they’re talking about, and this might not be true.
They won’t ask you before explaining the obvious because they think they’re smarter than everyone.
Women are subject to this attitude, and they call it mansplaining.
Condescending people interrupt people sometimes to add a thought.
They wouldn’t wait until you’re done talking to see if you’ve missed this point.
They can also interrupt you because you’ve mispronounced a word, even if this doesn’t affect the flow of the conversation.
Giving Backhanded Compliments
This kind of attitude involves a lot of manipulation because you can’t really tell if this person means something positive or negative.
For example, they’ll talk about how your work involves a lot of effort with a smirk, so you don’t know if they really praise your work or think that it doesn’t involve any unnecessary information.
What Causes a Person to Be Condescending?
Condescending people act in a way that makes people feel that this person thinks they’re superior to them.
As a result, they will feel uncomfortable about them and might even hate interacting with them.
This kind of behavior can’t get them fired, per say, but it will turn the workplace into a toxic environment that everyone hates. People can have a patronizing attitude for several reasons.
- Low Self-Esteem: This person might have low self-esteem, and the only way they can feel better about themselves is when they make others feel worse. They feel better when someone else is embarrassed, which can be considered sabotage.
- Big Ego: A person with a big ego actually believes that they’re better than everyone else. They think they’re smarter and won’t hesitate to show that they’re smarter than everyone. For some reason, this person doesn’t believe that anyone else understands as they do.
- Narcissism: A condescending employee thinks that they’re the center of the world. They won’t accept that someone else takes credit and will always try to steal their effort because they suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder.
What Are Condescending Phrases?
There are a lot of phrases that sound condescending.
You might hear them from a person who always displays this behavior, or you might even unknowingly say them yourself.
- “You Can Do Better Than This””: This is another way to tell someone, “shame on you.” It’s an unprofessional way to criticize someone else’s work or ideas.
- “Take It Easy”: This is a rude way to ignore someone’s feelings and not acknowledge their fear or stress. Telling someone to “relax” or “chill” is like telling them that they’re not being rational.
- “I Hear You, But….”: This phrase implies that this person doesn’t take what others say seriously. Instead, they think that whatever they’re saying or thinking is more important and makes more sense, leading to hatred of the workplace.
How to Deal With a Condescending Person
Unfortunately, we can’t always choose the people we work with, which means that we often end up working with toxic and condescending coworkers who don’t make us feel comfortable or appreciated.
Here are a few tips for dealing with them.
1. Don’t Take it Personally
Always understand that the person might not intend to be rude to you.
This is how they’re built, and they deal like this with everyone.
2. Call Them Out
Call out the condescending coworker, AKA the office jerk, without making a scene and tell them that you’re not comfortable with how they act.
3. Stay Calm
Stay calm and cool even if this person bothers you.
This will prevent you from getting into a defensive position, which leads to less workplace drama.
4. Use Neutral Body Language
Always maintain a non-hostile and positive body language, as this will show them that you don’t care about their behavior.
Avoid negative body language signals like rolling your eyes or pointing your fingers, as this will increase hostility in a toxic workplace.
5. Look for the Truth Within Their Words
Before you get too defensive, you might try to strip their condescending comments from any patronizing phrases and try to find the truth in their words.
They might be trying to give you career advice, and they actually don’t mean any harm.
But you still have to stop enabling them by telling them that their behavior is unacceptable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions that people ask about this topic and will help you identify a condescending person at work and teach you how to deal with them.
Is Condescending the Same as Rude?
It’s safe to say that a condescending attitude is rude and disrespectful.
It involves disrespectfully talking to people, and it makes people feel uneasy and irritated.
How Do You Respond To a Condescending Remark?
It’s important not to respond aggressively to a condescending remark to avoid workplace drama.
Although you might be irritated, try to act cool and watch your body language.
You can ask for clarification and ask them exactly what they mean, and then explain that you don’t accept this behavior.
Having a condescending coworker can be highly irritating, but you need to handle it wisely.
These people might be doing it because they lack self-confidence or they have a high ego.
Comment here and tell us how you handled a patronizing attitude at work, and share your best tips.
It’s essential not to enable this behavior without taking it personally to avoid workplace drama.