If someone uses these 9 phrases, they secretly look down on you

Tone and intent are at times even more important than the words spoken. 

Any statement could be demeaning, patronizing, and condescending enough if the speaker intends it to be. Even a simple “Suuure” sounds offensive if they tried hard enough. 

Saying that, there are a few statements that will just make you raise your eyebrows as soon as it is said. 

That, or you will feel bad. (This is a wasted feeling for someone who knowingly looks down on you, tbh.)

So, here are 9 phrases that people will use if they secretly look down on you, including the implications of said statements. 

(Because, truly, what’s implied is what sucks.)


1) “Relax” or “Can you calm down?” aka the classic way that they make you look like you’re the one losing your mind

“Aren’t you being too emotional right now?” “Aren’t you being too dramatic?” Ahh, the classic gaslighting statement. 

They’re implying that you can’t possibly be making decisions or that you can’t possibly be correct at the moment. It’s implying that you shouldn’t be trusted with yourself. 

It’s implying that you’re being too much. Too emotional. Making mountains out of molehills type of situation. 

Context is important with these phrases, sure, but it’s a weaponized statement more often than not.

I had an ex use this on me, and I wish I could go back and scream at his face like a banshee to show him exactly how much more dramatic I could be. At the time, I was literally just asserting my boundaries. 

It was a nasty feeling and I’m glad I know better now. 

2) They call you by a “nickname” aka the most patronizing “Sweetheart” you will ever get 

You just know that you’re winning an argument when the other person starts committing ad hominem

When they start attacking you as a person and not the argument itself, you just know it’s now pointless to engage.

Most women reading this probably know what I’m talking about. Imagine receiving the most patronizing “Sweetheart” or “Darling” you are ever gonna get in the middle of an argument?

Being called “Child” by someone older implies you’re too young to have an opinion. I’ve received a fair share of “Sit down, child” in my life. (And if I’m being honest, I’ve dished it out online, too.)

“Nerd” or “Jock” could just be harmless labels but during an argument could be used to imply that you’re just this or that and can’t possibly have sound opinions on anything else. 

It’s demeaning to weaponize nicknames this way, but a person who looks down on you won’t care. 

3) “Why can’t you take a joke?” aka they once again make you feel like you’re overreacting

A manipulation tactic and generally just sounds mean. It’s similar to “Relax”, “Can’t you just calm down?”, or “Can’t you just be chill for one second?” 

They say “I was just joking” or “Can’t you just take a joke?”. They might even say, “You’re no fun!”

It’s unpleasant to be the punchline. Do you like being made fun of? Do you like being the butt of a joke? 

When someone makes a mean comment about something or makes fun of you in your face, being told that “it was a joke” is basically throwing the responsibility of the awkwardness to you.

It’s saying that well, you’re the one who can’t take the joke, now you’re bringing down the atmosphere. The weight of it is being thrown at you like a hot potato, refuse it.

It’s pointless to engage with people who knowingly make hurtful jokes, most of them do it for the shock value anyway.

I bet that if you ask them what’s so funny, they won’t be able to explain the joke. 

If someone’s party trick is at the expense of your feelings, then it is not a good party trick.  

4) “Is that the best you can do?” and the unimpressed way they look at you

Sure, this statement could be used as encouragement at the right moment, but context is crucial. And I can’t really think of a lot of moments this won’t sting.

If someone said this to me, I wouldn’t feel good either way. Especially in moments when I’ve already done my best or I knew I could’ve done more.

It’s a minimization of my efforts and capabilities. I mean, if I already feel down, hearing this will feel like added weight. 

5) “No offense, but…” and the full offense they throw right after

Okay, this one doesn’t seem as secret as the other statements here. 

Still, people really think you won’t get offended just because they started their statement with “No offense”? Especially if to offend you was their intention in the first place.

“No offense, but…” is such a cop-out when the speaker intends to get away with saying something foul. I doubt anyone says that without thinking that what they will say is unkind. 

6) “Nah…” and their casual dismissal

words and phrases classy people never use 1 If someone uses these 9 phrases, they secretly look down on you

This isn’t me saying that a simple “Nah” is condescending. Again, tone and intent are important.

Were you genuinely giving sound input to a conversation or a problem at hand? Did they just dismiss you without giving your words the consideration they deserve?

Were you casually dismissed or opposed without reason? 

That’s when this gets nasty. Acknowledgement is the bare minimum in communication, if someone is looking down on you, they won’t even give you this.

Do they shoot down every opinion you give? Every suggestion, especially if without reason? Do they interrupt you when you’re speaking? 

Then they care very little about what you bring to the table, if at all.

7) “Oh, really?” and the implication that you’re lying 

“Oh, really?” can be as benign as any other statement out there, but not when the accusatory tone is present.

Once the snide feeling is attached to it, suddenly it becomes a matter of credibility. “Oh, really? Did that really happen?” 

“Really? Did he say that? To you?” 

“You got the job? You? Really? How come?”

It’s not that they don’t believe it happened, it’s just that they can’t believe it happened to you.

8) “It must be nice that…” and the implication that you have it easy while they’re suffering

Look, we’re all struggling. All of us, we’re all just trying to make the best of every single day. 

Sure, some of us might have it easier than others, but at the end of the day, we all have our struggles. 

Being told a statement that starts with “It must be nice that…” implies that you have it easier or better than others and they’re taking that personally.

9) “Who cares?” and their way of saying that what you say is unwelcome 

And lastly, “Who cares?”

People who look down on you will find ways to make you feel small. Doesn’t matter if they don’t outwardly show their distaste, it will show. 

They will make you feel unwelcome, saying statements like “Who cares?” or excluding you in conversations. 

They will make you feel like they don’t care about your thoughts and feelings.

They will make you feel like your opinion is unimportant. 

Sorry, one last thing…

I cannot let you go without saying this:

What people see of you is their problem, not yours. 

If people make you feel small, do not shrink. That is not your cross to bear.

If people make you feel like you’re being too emotional, affirm yourself that you are a human being and are allowed to feel deeply. 

You are allowed to be hurt by jokes that were meant to hurt you in the first place. Do not let them shame your pain. 

You are not a punchline unless you want to be. 

Yes, you are allowed to find humor in your pain and insecurities, but you can also feel hurt by others’ weaponization of it.

Your opinions are valid and you deserve to be heard. 

And pardon me for being literal but if someone looks down on you, meet their eye, as if saying “Here I am.”

Yes, there you are, bigger, taller, and stronger than what they’re trying to reduce you as. Chin up.

Picture of Michelle Marie Manese

Michelle Marie Manese

M Manese is a part-time creative writer, illustrator, and full-time fangirl hoping to find her way within the Content space. She makes art here: @michellemmanese

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.