Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to deal with a condescending person

In case anyone doesn't know what 'condescending' is, it's when someone does anything and everything to appear and feel superior to others.  They have the need to express their superiority, especially by treating others as if they are are less intelligent than them.  They usually do this by 'talking down' to a person and treating them like a child.  Other common characteristics of the condescending person is insufferable bragging and bossiness.
At my current job, I'm at an information front desk.  I'm literally grounded to a 'tiny island' area unless I have a lunch or break.

One of the coworkers I work with is the most condescending, boastful, and micromanaging-obsessed person I've ever met. 

There are a lot of things she says to me that makes me realize how condescending she is.  It seems that even though I've been working at this job for almost half a year, I will always be in the purgatory of 'in-training' with her and she'll always believe herself to be my superior.  She usually does not trust my judgment and will jump at any opportunity to correct a 'mistake' I made.  These days, a lot of these cases of her jumping in to correct me has resulted in her being wrong.  Even so, she still likes to try and criticize anything and everything that fits her version of less than perfect.  To put the icing on the cake, she also likes to repeatedly declare how fast or efficient she is at trivial tasks and about all the discounts and freebies she gets because she was apparently so nice to various store workers.

I will usually hear at least one condescending phrase from her a day.  Usually more than that.  Most of the time, it's her correcting me and having me do something her way (micromanaging).  We all know the truth.  These people are just trying to push their delusional superiority and dominance in a sick and twisted way because of insecurities, social-anxiety, power-hunger, control-issues, and more.

I've compiled a list of common phrases I've heard from her and my detailed, creative responses to those phrases.  (Depending on new experiences, I may modify this post.)  This is going to be kryptonite for those condescending bastards!

PS: I don't want to hear any of the "kill them with kindness" bs, because that method is only an enabler for condescending people.  Going along with what the condescending bastard wants is only going to allow them to continue controlling their victims.  The only way to defeat the condescending bastard is to be direct and use carefully selective wit and optimism.

There is no 'universal-type' of condescending person, and I understand that.  This post is themed particularly around the CONTROLLING and BRAGGING type of condescension.

I hope this helps anyone who has to deal with a condescending person in their lives.

1.) Easiest counter attack.

This is a phrase I hear a lot.  It's pretty annoying and it's one of the most obvious condescending things a person can say to someone else.  It's literally what a parent says to a child.

Condescending b*tch: "NO."

You: "YES." (Continue to repeat as needed.)
"WHY?" (Continue to repeat as needed.)

2.) Straightforward and mature answer.

Here's another phrase that's just as condescending as the first.  I think that the best way to stop someone from doing this in their tracks is to either tell them not to speak to you like a child because it's condescending, and/or to tell them to ask you nicely.

Example 1:

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again."

You: "Ask me nicely and I might just do that."
"Ask me nicely."
"If you ask me nicely, I'll listen to your reasoning for why you insist on doing it that way."

Example 2:

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again!"

You: "Okay, (insert name), I would 'appreciate' it if you didn't speak to me in that condescending way.  But, I will be happy to listen to whatever you have to say if you ask me."

Example 3:

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again!"

You: "You could be more specific and just ASK me not to do something."

Example 4:

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again!"

You: "Okay, I would like it if you didn't use that phrase with me, it's condescending.  I'll be happy to cooperate if you ask me."

Example 5:

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again!"

You: "First of all, please don't speak to me that way again, it's condescending.  And you'll need to be more specific."

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to respond do a condescending statement like this one.  Feel free to get creative but make sure to verbally practice your responses if you're not the confrontational type like me. ;)

3.) Argue your point.  You could be right.

The bossy condescending person commonly tries to point out things that you may or may not be doing wrong.  This is all power play.  If you're sure you're right, don't be afraid to say so.

Condescending b*tch: "That's not right." / "You're doing it wrong." 

You: "Yes it is." (If you're ABSOLUTELY sure you're right)
"No, this IS the way to do it." (State 'why' if you must.)
"Why?" (If you're unsure)

(If they continue to pester you as to why their way is somehow correct or better, you always, always, ALWAYS have the right to say "NO," and that you will do it your way because that is what you believe to be right.)

(If they continue to pester you further after this, simply tell them that you are open to having both of you talk with the manager about this 'disagreement'.  Depending on the situation, you may have the right to tell them that this is YOUR work, that they have no business telling you how to do YOUR job, and that it will ultimately be YOUR responsibility if anything goes wrong.)

4.) It's okay to do what YOU want for a change.

It's easy to not think about it and just go along with whatever the condescending person says.  But if you want things to change, you're going to have to speak up and say what YOU want.  If you don't, they will continue to push you around and do whatever they want without taking your feelings into consideration.  You basically have to be a little selfish sometimes.  Condition the condescending offender by occasionally pushing to do what you want.  You can also negotiate.

Condescending b*tch: "I'm gonna have you cash out at 3:15."

You: "I wanna cash out at 3:00.  I take a long time." (In times like this, it's sometimes good to give your reasoning so you don't have to state it after they inquire about 'why'.  Try to make the reason simple and direct.)

5.) The joking tone.

Depending on the situation, you could also retaliate by joking around.  Sometimes this condescending person seems to have a sense of humor and likes to joke around with people.  If this is the case, and if you've known them long enough to feel comfortable doing this, it's appropriate to use the 'joking' approach of retaliation.

One thing you can do is state what you want to say with some attitude.  You can also combine the joking tone with some mature retorts which makes it especially effective.

Condescending b*tch: "Don't ever do that again."

You: "WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO IF I DON'T?!" (If you use this, make sure you've got some comebacks up your sleeve just in case they actually have an answer.)
"Ask me nicely." (Speak s-l-o-w-l-y and clearly to get your point across that you won't be talked down to.)
"Tell them then." (If they threaten to tell a manager  ~ *worst case scenario*.)

I know these sound pretty childish and silly but hey, that's what you're trying to do.  Be un-serious.

Of course, only react in this way if you're ABSOLUTELY sure they're completely wrong and out of line.  If you don't, you'll end up the fool.

Sometimes the joking method works better if you don't want to appear overly serious or if the condescending offender claims that you're too serious and overly sensitive when you try to retaliate the straightforward way.  By using the joking approach, if the offender tries to retaliate, you can accuse THEM of being too serious, tell THEM to 'lighten up', and to stop freakin' micromanaging the crap out of ridiculous nonsense. 

6.) Throw them off guard with confidence.

In certain situations, I think it's ridiculous how some people think that they have the authority to be snooty and judge your performance as 'just okay'.  When a person is being condescending this way, don't kill them with kindness, kill them with confidence.

Condescending b*tch: "You did 'pretty' good today."

You: "Pretty good?  I did AWESOME."

Condescending b*tch: "Well, that's what you may think."

You: "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.  And I happen to value my judgement."

7.) Mess around with them.

This is one of the BEST ways to joke around yet clearly show them that they don't have power over you.  Clearly defying them yet making a joke of it is a form of light mockery and showing that you're not taking them seriously.  You can take advantage of this situation and continue to defy them just to get on their nerves; it's funny because apparently, they're so sensitive to things not going their way.

NOTE: Make sure to do this only if:
  • They're not qualified to tell you what to do.
  • You're not involved in a safety/ethical issue or breaking a rule.
  • They are micromanaging.
  • What they are telling you is out of line.

Condescending b*tch: "Don't do that."

You: "You mean THIS?....  Nyahaha!" (Do exactly the opposite of what they said not to do.)

8.) "You 'need' to..."

I remember reading an article recently about how someone thought that the English language should dispose the phrases: "You need to...," "You should...," and "You have to..."

I can relate.  I mean, all of these phrases are aimed to 'control' someone else.  It's understandable if these phrases are used for teaching and raising children but they're so often abused in the real world by people who don't have the authority to speak to others this way.

When the condescending person starts to do this to you, especially when they're perfectly capable of doing the task themselves and obviously abusing the "favors" and ordering you around, try these responses.  Depending on the situation, and if you're willing or unwilling to do that task, the answers may vary.

Example 1:

Condescending b*tch: "You need to _____."

You: "Say the magic words~!" (NOTE: They should be saying "please" here.)
"You could always ASK me." (I mean seriously, they could just ask you properly like a decent human being.)
"YOU need to do that yourself." (If you're unwilling to do the task.)
"No I don't." (If you're like, "f*ck it" and want to be blunt.)
"No." (If you want to be super blunt.)

Example 2:

Condescending b*tch: "I need you to _____."

You: "You can do that yourself." (If they're fully capable of doing the task on their own.)
"I don't want to." (Simple, straightforward.)
"I'm busy with _____.  You can do that." (Make sure you're doing something.)
"You can do that task if it's bothering you so much." (If it's some task THEY happened to pick up.)

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