- Gender and Relationships»
Dealing with condescension
Being condescending is an unintelligent way to make yourself feel superior -Timothy Correa
Filmmaker Timothy Correa described the airy nature of condescension to a T. Those who resort to belittling others use a rather vacuous way of making themselves feel above them.
We all know the friend who makes suggestions to boost your income and the one who says "I do not want to make you feel bad, but..." The subtle put downs are all too familiar.
We will meet with friends or family who blow a little air, albeit in less pronounced ways. Without realizing it, we even do so ourselves. How they do so is grates on the nerves, yet strangely, captures interest.
Avoiding becoming windblown takes effort, yet oddly rewarding when we deflect the gust of air. Not creating gusty, condescending air is even better.
People are condescending because of...
1. Ingrained attitudes
2. Lack of self-esteem
A. The nature of condescension: Having airs
The subtle, yet upsetting breezes spring from too-deeply entrenched attitudes towards standard norms in society. We have airs when we have a job that society perceives as better than others or brings in more money. We do not want to eat in places that are not trendy enough.
These airs also stem from a lack of self-esteem. They serve as a security blanket when people do not feel adequate. The one way to protect ourselves is to appear that we know more than others or are more successful. Condescension becomes a needed self-defense mechanism.
Ignorance also generates blustering, condescending air. Our tactless actions and speech come across as put downs, for we do not realize that they affect the self-confidence in the worst way.
How would you deal with a condescending person?
How do people condescend to us?
1. They come across as know-it-alls.
2. They try to cushion their judgement.
3. They use someone else as a shield.
4. They question your ability.
5. They give false consolation.
6. They question your choices.
7. They hint that someone else is better
at what you do.
8. They couch their condescension in
love and well-intentioned advice.
B. How people condescend to us: Blowing unhealthy air
To avoid appearing confrontational or rude, people often disguise, or try to disguise, put downs. They blow condescending airs in remarkably different ways.
They may come across as know-it-alls who deliberately correct you when you make any sort of error. People may whisper chilling breezes subtly, couching them in well-intentioned advice. After doing so, they react with a smug “I told you so” or “What did I tell you?” if they are right.
Sometimes, people seem airy when they try to cushion or justify their judgment of you. The classic “I don’t mean to judge, but….” is probably condescension in its highest form. They may question your choices and give false consolation, saying“ There will be a next time,” if your choice is the wrong one.
And then, they may use someone as a shield. Those who say “I’m only saying that Alice feels that you look fat.” are cleverly expressing their own opinions. They play the devil’s advocate to deflect any responsibility for their own put downs.
Others may question your ability. They may hint that someone else can do something better than you do or ask, “How confident are you in….” Depending on the context, these questions may come across as chilling, put-down breezes. They must come from a trusted relative or friend, or out of concern, if they are genuine attempts to help a situation. Otherwise, the only person who can ask these questions without appearing to belittle another is a job interviewer.
How to deal with condescending people
When dealing with put downs, we should..
1. Pause and think about why the person is making the remark.
2. Pick your battles wisely.
3. Do not let the person condescend to you indefinitely.
C. Dealing with condescension: The lull
Lulling condescending, put down breezes takes a little thought. We have to stop for a moment and think about why a person is making certain remarks. Depending on how well we understand the person, decide if it is concern or condescension.
Prepare a few responses. Say, "Thanks, I will consider if it woris for me," tells a person that you know your own circumstances best. Pick battles, because some are simply not worth fighting. We know our own worth.
We do not have to let another person blow chilling breezes our way indefinitely either. It is our right to set boundaries and distance ourselves from those with the bad “put down” habit, if necessary.
Practicing double standards definitely does not give us the right to say that another person is condescending. We can avoid blowing these subtle breezes ourselves by simply being mindful of the words we say.
How to avoid being condescending
1. Do not take credit for yourself
2. Do not attempt to do another person's job
3. When we advise people who may already
know how to live their lives
D. Poem: Wind Blown
In cold ice
We can stop subtle, condescending breezes from blowing, or avoid blowing them ourselves.
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