23 signs of a condescending person (and how to deal with them)

Never date someone who does these things

There’s nothing worse than dealing with a condescending person.

Their attitude of superiority can be really annoying.

So in this article, we’re going to go through 23 signs of a condescending person, as well as how to deal with them.

Let’s go.

1. They think they’re more intelligent.

Condescending people think they’re smarter than everyone else. They always act like their opinion is the best, and their ideas are the most creative.

If you have a good idea or a creative solution, they’ll hardly even pay attention.

A condescending person won’t acknowledge a new idea unless the new idea was created by them.

2. They treat you as if you were inferior.

Condescending people think that they’re so much better than everyone else, and they treat them as if they were inferior.

They ignore you or give you fake compliments to make it seem like they’re tolerant toward you, but deep down inside, all they want is to show off how smart and cool they are compared to the others.

They look down on other people because they think that they’re better. They treat people who are different as if they are lower class than they are.

3. They hardly listen to others.

Condescending people hardly ever listen to the opinions of others, unless they think the others’ opinions are worthy enough to listen to.

When other people are talking, they’ll barely say anything unless they feel like their comments will point out a mistake that you made in your speech or argument.

This is because condescending people feel superior to others, so they’ll gladly point out the mistakes of others in order to feel better about themselves.

4. They always put themselves first.

Condescending people always put themselves first, and they’ll never talk about what other people need or want.

They’ll only talk about how great they are and how their ideas rock, but never about what others need for their life.

Condescending people tend to have a big ego. They tend to always brag about their own abilities.

Condescending people like to brag about everything that they’ve done in their lives and how much smarter and more intelligent than everyone else, even people who are a lot more successful than them.

This is how they keep their fragile ego intact.

5. They always act like they’re superior.

Condescending people always believe that they’re superior to everyone else, even if they’re not.

They always act as if they know a lot more than the other person, and they like to talk about their knowledge throughout the conversation. They like to boast about themselves and their achievements.

They act as if they know everything, even things they might not have full knowledge about, but they’ll pretend that they do.

After all, they’re always trying to look smart and impressive. They want to show everyone that they’re better than the rest because deep down they actually feel inferior toward others.

6. They’ll never apologize for anything they say or do.

Condescending people have a big ego, so it’s hard for them to apologize when they’re at fault.

They’ll never admit when they’re wrong or accept responsibility, even if it’s obvious that they’ve done something wrong.

After all, if they admit their mistakes then they’ll admit to being inferior in some way. They’ll temporarily lower their ego if they apologize.

Even if they did something wrong, they won’t apologize because it will make them look stupid and inferior.

7. They’ll never talk about how their own life is going or other personal issues.

Condescending people tend to keep themselves to themselves. They rarely talk about their personal lives or things that are bothering them.

They’ll only talk about how great they are and how bad the others are, even if they’re not as great as they make themselves out to be.

If you ever try to talk about personal issues with them, they’ll act as if it’s not a big deal at all and it won’t matter at all.

This is because they won’t keep their air of superiority and if they talk about genuine personal issues in their life, then they’re going to have to lower their guard and reveal a vulnerable side. They’re not going to do that.

8. They don’t know how to deal with people who are different.

Condescending people don’t know how to deal with people who are different from them, especially if the people have bigger success than them or a more positive personality than they do.

They tend to feel like failures when they meet such people and they don’t like that.

They’ll feel like they don’t have what it takes to deal with such people.

They won’t respect the people who are different and they’ll try to use force or actions to make them seem inferior. They’d rather just be influential than be respected.

9. They love to talk about their achievements.

Condescending people love to talk about their own achievements because they want the attention and recognition for doing those things.

Other people’s achievements don’t really matter to them. They’ll never ever be interested in other people’s achievements or what they’ve done with their life.

They’ll always seem uninterested even if the person is talking about their greatest achievements or things that have happened to them in their life.

Why? Because then they will be admitting that someone can achieve things that they can’t. That will damage their ego and make them feel less superior.

As Jeanette Brown, the creator of the online course Life Journal says, condescending people are more interested in what other people think of them, rather than what they think of themselves, which is a sign of insecurity.

People with insecurity don’t want to accept that they cannot achieve things that others can. They can be more fascinated by who else is talking about their achievements or accomplishments rather than talking about their own.

That’s because they’re just not good enough to talk about their own achievements and it will make them feel inferior in the end.

10. They have a ton of opinions on everything.

Condescending people always have an opinion on everything, even if they don’t know what the right answer is.

They’ll constantly tell you to do things a certain way, and they’ll never listen to what the other person is saying.

They always want to make sure that they’re right and that everyone else agrees with them and values their opinion more than other people’s thoughts or ideas.

As Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit says, condescending people have a need to always be right. They want to make sure that they will always seem superior to other people. They need the recognition, the attention and for everyone to agree with them.

They feel more intelligent and important when everyone agrees with what they’re saying.

This is why condescending people won’t listen to any other opinions as opposed to their own.

They don’t care if what they’re saying is not an opinion at all, but just a false fact that’s gotten out of control because no one else has proven otherwise.

11. They enjoy putting other people down.

Condescending people cringe when someone else succeeds for once.

They hate seeing other people achieve success and they’re going to do everything that they can to bring them down.

They’ll bring their weaknesses into the conversation and make sure that everyone knows about it, even if the person is someone close to them.

They always want the other person to be less successful than them and to be lower than them in every way possible.

They’ll even use insults if they have to. They’re going to do everything they can to bring the other person down and make them feel inferior.

After all, a condescending person wants to be better than others, so if they have to, they’ll use negative words and actions to put others down.

12. They are patronizing.

Condescending people are patronizing.

A common example is when a condescending person speaks to others like they’re a child. Why would they do this?

Because they want to make it appear like other people don’t have as much authority as them.

By using a tone of voice that’s like a parent talking to a child, they’ll make the other person look like they are lower status.

This enables a condescending person to give themselves the air of superiority that they crave.

It’s a type of psychological mind control technique because it makes the person think that they’re inferior and nothing but an annoyance.

13. They don’t know how to negotiate.

Condescending people often think that they are the most intelligent and knowledgeable person in the room, so they don’t want to negotiate or compromise.

If you try to negotiate with them, they’ll try their best to make you feel inferior or like you can never get what you want.

They think that they’re the center of the universe, so what they need from the negotiation is more important than what others need.

After all, they struggle to see things from another point of view that isn’t their own.

That’s why they don’t think that negotiation is important at all, so they’ll just take the most extreme and rigid point of view that’s beneficial to them and they’ll stick to it.

14. They aren’t self-aware.

Condescending people don’t know how they’re coming across and they can be very manipulative.

As I mentioned above, they only care about their own point of view. They’re self-centered so they can’t accurately perceive how other people perceive them. They view the world from their own eyes and they assume that everyone else does the same.

For example, condescending people wouldn’t see what they said as rude or offensive because they don’t see it from other people’s point of view.

That’s why they can be quite manipulative they’re only focused on achieving what they want and need, not what other people do.

15. They aren’t very empathetic.

You’ll never find a condescending person that would care about what’s going on in someone else’s life.

They don’t have the same values as other people so they can’t understand why someone would need sympathy and compassion.

They’re always in their own world, thinking about themselves, so they struggle to think about other people’s emotions and struggles.

16. They are arrogant and full of pride.

As we have mentioned, a condescending person has a big ego. They think that they’re better than everyone else and that they should be admired, so they’ll refuse to acknowledge other people’s achievements and try to downplay them.

They think of themselves as smarter, more attractive or more successful than others. They’re always on top of everything and in control.

They’re always appearing very confident, yet there will be times when you see them exposed for their weaknesses or negative traits.

This is because deep down, they are actually very insecure. They want to be seen as superior, but they really just want someone to see them as a good person. This is why in order for them to feel better about themselves, they’ll try their best to downplay others.

17. They are very judgmental and intolerant.

Condescending people tend to be very judgmental and intolerant towards anything that doesn’t match their high standards or beliefs.

They will always be looking for ways to prove that others are wrong and inferior.

Even if everything they said was actually true, they would still judge other people who they think deserve to be placed lower than them.

18. They lack emotional intelligence.

Condescending people often lack emotional intelligence, so they struggle to understand how other people are feeling or what their problems are about.

They’re always looking at the world from their own perspective and they only care about their own personal needs, so they can’t understand why others would be upset or offended.

This is part of their lack of self-reflectiveness.

They also struggle to understand other people’s emotional distress, so they just don’t know how to react.

19. They have poor listening skills.

A condescending person can’t listen to someone else without constantly looking for ways to interrupt.

They will always be looking for a way to prove how right they are and how wrong the other person is.

They want to impose their point of view on others, so they don’t want to listen from a different perspective.

They’re so focused on what they need and what they want that they can’t get out of their own way.

20. They are good at making excuses.

Condescending people are great at making excuses for their behavior. They can always come up with a reason why they’re not responsible for their actions.

They put a lot of effort into saying things that can make them look like the victim because they know that if people think they’re superior, then no one will put blame on them.

They’ll often switch the blame to someone else, or simply defuse it entirely by saying something vague and neglecting to give a real explanation.

21. They can be very cruel and insensitive.

Condescending people often lack both empathy and emotional intelligence, so they don’t think of other people while they’re speaking.

They’ll often say things that are hurtful or even cruel without really realizing what they’ve said.

They lack both emotional intelligence and self-awareness, so they can’t properly express themselves.

Because of their own arrogance and pride, they don’t think that what they’re saying is offensive or hurtful. This is why they can be so cruel and insensitive.

22. They always want to change the subject.

Condescending people will often switch topics whenever they don’t agree or understand what someone else is saying.

They don’t want to debate but instead, they just want to get out of the conversation without having to see things from another perspective.

23. They lack humility.

A condescending person is so focused on themselves that they don’t think of others much.

The people who they interact with are just objects to them, not actual human beings.

They don’t see them as individuals with their own needs, feelings and desires.

They’re just more tools that can help them achieve what they need or want, so they can use them to their benefit without feeling any responsibility at all for the other person’s opinions or feelings.

How to deal with a condescending person: 7 tips

Now the question is: how can you deal with condescending people?

Here are 7 tips:

1. Paraphrasing

An important thing you can do is to paraphrase what they said.

If they’re saying that a certain person is wrong, then you should say the same thing but with a more positive tone so it sounds like you agree with them.

You can also summarize their point of view by saying what their opinion is about the situation. This will show them that you care about them and want to understand where they’re coming from.

I know this is strange. You don’t want to reinforce someone’s condescending behavior, but you need to remember one thing:

Condescending people are actually insecure.

So if you can look like you agree with them, then that will disarm them and you’ll be more easily able to express your real opinions later on in the conversation. 2. Using “I” statements

An important thing you can say is to use “I” instead of “You”.

For example, if they’re saying something insulting, then you can acknowledge their negative opinion but get out of it by saying something like:

“I can see what you’re saying, but I don’t agree, or: “I understand where you’re coming from, but maybe we shouldn’t make assumptions.”

These are both good examples of using a “I” statement.

The important thing here is that you acknowledge their opinion, but also make it clear that you don’t agree with them.

As we’ve mentioned, condescending people are insecure, so it’s imperative that you acknowledge their words or else they’ll just get angry.

But then once you’ve acknowledged what they’re saying, you can say what you think in a calm way and you’ll have a better chance of your message getting through to them.

2) Be assertive without condescending.

I know that you want to respond to the condescendign person in a way that will shake them up and make them realize what they’re doing.

You want to put them in their place or make them understand that you’re not meant to be spoken to like that. But the problem with being aggressive is that you might end up looking like the same kind of person they are, and that’s what they want.

If you get angry, then they’ll think that they’re right and that no one else understands them.

So avoiding aggressive expressions is extremely important.

You can still tell it like it is, but do so in a calm and logical manner.

3) Use humor to defuse the situation.

Humor can be used as a great way to deal with condescending people, but you need to be careful about this.

You can make a joke that makes the situation more light-hearted.

However, don’t try to make a joke that brings them down.

That will just worsen the situation. The problem is that condescending people are defensive by nature. So if you make a joke about them it’s going to show them that you’re careless and doesn’t take them seriously.

That will just make them angry and you’ll have a harder time trying to resolve the situation.

4) Take a break.

I know you can’t always do this, but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice.

You need to separate yourself from them for a little while, so you can think about what happened and how you want to respond.

Just take a break and come back later. Don’t let yourself get pulled into the conversation.

I know this sounds contradictory at first, but it’s actually really important.

People who are condescending tend to be more stubborn than most people. So if you separate yourself from the situation for a while, then they won’t keep pestering you with their opinions or tactics.

5) Don’t take anything they say personally.

This is something that you will find very difficult to do.

You’ll feel like any insult or dig is about you, but it’s not.

Because condescending people are so focused on themselves, they don’t really think about what they say or how your perception of the situation might be different than theirs.

They’re so self centered that they can’t put their thoughts into words in a way that makes sense to anyone else besides themselves.

Don’t take it personally. What they say actually means nothing about you and everything about them. So don’t let it bother you.

6) Remain calm and polite.

Don’t get upset by what they’re saying because it will just make their aggression worse.

If you’re calm and polite, then they’ll realize that you’re not the same person that they thought you were.

And if they see that you really aren’t like them, then hopefully it’ll make them go back to thinking about what’s important in the conversation instead of trying to push your buttons.

7) Realize that sometimes condescending people are trying to help.

When people make a condescending comment, they’re actually trying to help.

They have some idea of what’s best for you and they want to make you aware of this.

But it’s important that you realize that this is what they’re trying to do.

They’re not trying to insult you or hurt you in any way, they just want to help.

So don’t take everything they say as an insult. It’s only because they care about you and want you to be happy that they’re trying to push your buttons.

Yes, they think they’re better and that sucks, but sometimes they just think that their opinion and advice is better than yours. And that’s okay.

I hope this helps you deal with condescending people a little bit better.

I also hope it’s given you more understanding of what they’re really trying to do and why they’re doing it. I hope that you’ll be able to understand them a little bit better and how they really feel.

And then you’ll be able to deal with them in a way that makes sense and you won’t feel angry anymore.

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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