How to Be Happy- Dealing With People Who Are Condescending

Do you have someone in you’re life who you’re never quit sure if they’re being naughty or nice? Someone who says potentially hurtful things in such a polite, smiley way, you can’t tell if they’re being genuinely helpful or hurtful? If they’re being condescending or giving a compliment? Do you ever have that moment where you’re taken aback because you honestly don’t know how to take what was just said?

I do. I’ve never been quick on my feet when it comes to people’s intentions. I tend to see people through a positive lens. Sometimes it’s YEARS later before I finally come to the recognition-that  person was actually being a jerk. What!!??

Perhaps it’s a blessing I’m slow on the uptake. Why? I’m even slower in the moment with a comeback. I’m one of those who, months later at 2 a.m., my head pops of the pillow with the most brilliant reply. Then I have what I call my “Comeback Fantasy” where I get to visualize the entire conversation with me saying what I wish I could have said. And-not to brag or anything-but in my fantasy-I’m freakin’ brilliant.

So what do you do when you have one of those condescending people in your life (assuming you’re forced to be around them by blood, business, or your other BFF’s).

Keep Calm-Smile On: 

-Some people honestly have no idea how they come across. (Aka that they’re being condescending.) Depending on their personality type, they may truly believe they are being helpful, but lack the emotional or social maturity to know a more appropriate way of communicating. If you immediately get defensive and lash out-you’ll be the one needing to do damage control.

-If they are cutting you down, nothing get this type of person more infuriated than zero response on your end. I have one unfortunate person in my life I use this tactic with. When I don’t respond, this person eventually tail-spins into a furious rant. I watch them and honestly-I feel sorry for them. Why does this work? Because they want control and I’m refusing to give it them.

This tactic is often advised to kids when dealing with bullies. When facing a bully’s hurtful remark, one should give zero response and act like he or she doesn’t care. Unfortunately, bullying is no longer found in the back parking lot of the school but has progressed into the work place. Bullying in the workplace is now one of the #1 issues for many employees. It’s costing organizations a horrific amount of money through high turn over rates, mental health/sick days, as well as low productivity.

Don’t Take it Personally:

I get my feelings squished REALLY easy. I try to remind myself it’s not about me, it’s about them. We don’t know why certain people are the way they are. We don’t know their entire story. Having empathy or at least the knowledge that they have issues (just like you and I) can spare us of a lot of literal heartache.

An example, my husband often says,

How often have you cut down a sports team, a pop star or a politician? You do this to show off your intelligence. You put them down, to make yourself appear bigger. We all do it. Some of us are experts at it. The root of cutting remarks is often insecurity, fear, or need for self-importance. It has nothing to do with the person the cutting remark was made against. It has to do with the “cutter”.

Ask for Clarification: 

This is a scary one for me, but immensely helpful. When in doubt-call them out. Without getting defensive (keep calm-carry on) and trying to be open (not taking it personally) ask them simply, “What do you mean when you say xyz?” If it’s a genuine question coming from you with zero hint of defensiveness, you may be shocked what their motivation behind the comment is. Most often-as in MOST OFTEN-they’re genuinely trying to be helpful.

If they are trying to be hurtful, calling them out by asking clarification can often stop them.

You Can’t Control Other People’s Behavior:

Don’t I wish this wasn’t true! There’s LOTS of people I’d love to control. Alas, there’s no such thing. When someone makes a condescending remark, it’s always good to do a quick “self check” to see how much is about YOU and how much is really about what they said. Whether we know it or not, we all think people should behave a certain way, and when they don’t meet our expectations-even social expectations-we can lash out, get defensive, or take people the wrong way. Yes, people SHOULD know better, but the reality is a lot of people don’t. Period. They just don’t. So rather than judging and trying to control their social graces, self evaluate to see if this is really about you. You can’t control what people think, say or do. You can only control you-and let’s be honest-you and I aren’t great at controlling ourselves anyway. It’s laughable that we continually attempt to control others.

Find the Humor:

It may seem impossible to find the funny when it comes to dealing with a condescending jerk-but there’s humor in everything. If it wasn’t for that one person in my life-I wouldn’t have the motivation to make the video. I’m finding the humor in the authenticity of my confusion-hurt, as well as the knowledge that I most likely am not the only person who doesn’t know how to handle a condescending person.

Live a Happy Life!!:

So what about you? Have you ever found a favorable-non mean-way to deal with a “condescending socialite”?

Stacy Pederson, corporate funny female keynote speaker humorist clean comedian motivational inspirational public speaker speakers

When Stacy Pederson is not being a “Condescending Socialite” herself, she can be found in Colorado where she is a Humorist and Funny Motivational Speaker with a chronic Thai Food / Netflix binge habit. Check out more of Stacy’s story: at

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6 thoughts on “How to Be Happy- Dealing With People Who Are Condescending

  1. I hear ya! I’m the one who comes up with the great come-back…3 days later! Thanks for the advice; this is helpful as I, too, tend to see the best in people and shake my head when someone ‘knocks’ me.

  2. Good feedback, as I age physically, my child speaks to me in a condescending voice and drives me crazy, I just get up and walk away‍♀️

  3. How would it make you feel if you received this text message and you were already seriously depressed?
    “Hi M******, can you have a look on the H*** H*** account in **** and tell me what the mistake is please”
    I corrected the error, but didn’t respond to him. He wants to have a ‘talk’ with me tomorrow. I may just give up and quit. His attitude has been eroding my mental health for too many years now. It’s a shame I have no savings and am in desperate need of money to repair my leaking roof.

  4. My tennis partner always says “they are picking on you” which makes me feel like they think they are better, and I am the weaker which is completely incorrect. How do I handle this?

    1. It depends on what you want the outcome to be. Sometimes we are looking for validation and acceptance or for people to see our worth. However, some people just…suck…and never will give you what you are hoping for. I would ask you to think about what it is you want from them and why? What happens if you never receive it? Can you let their view of you go? Also, does this person (or people) need to be in your life? Life is waaaay too short to be around negative, life zapping people. If there is a way to not be around them, then don’t. If you are forced into being in their circle via work or family, then have boundaries for yourself, remind yourself it’s their issues not you. If you need to speak up and point out the cutting comment, then do but recognize it may not go in the direction you are wanting which is for them to acknowledge their faults and your worth. Whenever people are mean or mad or condescending, it’s because you are in control and they are not. They do it to put you down so they can feel better about themselves. Finally, this is a hard one (way easier said than done) try not to care about people who don’t care about you. If they treat you that way, they are not looking out for your highest good so they should have no say in your life or your happiness. “Talk to the hand” basically. (Again, hard to do.) I’m sorry these people are in your life. Don’t let them have space or use of your mental and emotional energy. In the big picture, they’re not worth it.

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