What It Means to Be Condescending

Updated on March 28, 2019
rohanfelix profile image

Rohan considers condescension a despicable malady to be got rid of.

Being called condescending is not a compliment.
Being called condescending is not a compliment. | Source

Is Being Called Condescending Good or Bad?

There's no doubt about it: Being called "condescending" is not a compliment. You should avoid being condescending like it's the plague.

But what does it mean to be condescending? Read on to find out! Down the road, you will thank yourself that you took the time to learn more about this unbecoming personality trait.

What Are the Signs of a Condescending Person?

A condescending person is someone who...

  • thinks too much of their own intelligence.
  • thinks too little of the intelligence of others.
  • feels the need to correct others all the time.
  • cannot accept criticism.
  • is smug.
  • is arrogant.
  • believes that their opinion is something that the world cannot afford to miss.
  • tries to appear confident.
  • is dealing with insecurities.
  • is a show-off.
  • thinks of themselves as classy when they're actually not.

Condescending or arrogant people think that they are the most amazing people ever and that the world around them should listen to their ever-growing expertise in just about any field. This is an unfortunate delusion, and they deserve our deepest sympathies for being this way.

Being condescending will cause other people to look at you with disdain. They will want to avoid working with you.
Being condescending will cause other people to look at you with disdain. They will want to avoid working with you. | Source

Why You Should Try Not to Be Condescending

If you notice any of the above tendencies in yourself, it'd be a good idea to try to change for the better. Being condescending is not a good thing. Here are just a few reasons you should try not to look down upon others.

It's a Sign of Ignorance

An arrogant person doesn't know much about the world around him or her. They may be street smart, but pretending to know everything is a sign of a lack of knowledge.

Condescending People Make Unnecessary Noise

It just so happens that the person who knows the least about something seems to talk the most about it. This person is wasting your time.

No One Likes Them

Not surprisingly, condescending people are absolutely hated. Who in their right might would want to be treated as inferior by another person?

They Drive People Away

Over time, people will stay away from someone who is patronizing. Such behavior is repugnant and very tiresome to handle.

People Criticize Them Behind Their Back

Since a condescending person hardly ever lets anyone talk in his or her presence, it is only a matter of time before everyone starts to talk about them behind their back.

Being Condescending Is Bad PR

If you want to be popular, have friends, and do well in business, it makes more sense to be humble.

Humble people are easy to work with, and they are loved and admired as a result. Since condescending people are an absolute pain to deal with, no one takes them seriously.

Arrogance Lacks Class

The coolest people in the world are those who are chill and don't have major attitude issues. They are never haughty.

A classy person doesn't look down on or speak ill of others—on the contrary, it's more classy to be encouraging.

It's a Sure-Fire Way to Destroy Relationships

Whether within the family, in friendships, or in a romantic relationship, being condescending is a big turn off. Equality is a very important quality in almost any type of relationship, and it's unhealthy if one partner feels superior to another.

It's easier and more pleasant to work with people who are humble.
It's easier and more pleasant to work with people who are humble. | Source

How Not to Be Condescending

It is possible to avoid being condescending by making a conscious choice to cultivate certain other qualities, such as:

  • Humility
  • A positive mindset
  • Non-judgmentalism
  • The ability to take criticism
  • A sense of self-esteem
  • A love of listening to others
  • A love of people in general
  • A belief in the inherent equality of all people, regardless of ethnicity, colour, religion, country, or sexual orientation

Are you sometimes confused by what it means to be condescending?

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    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I just want to thank you for your post on "what it means to be condescending". I am condescending in all levels of what you wrote. I always knew I am not a humble person, but I believed that it was okay because I am a confident person. By reading your post came to me that I do have a condescending personality and this side of me has been negatively impacting my relationships. Great post!!

    • rohanfelix profile imageAUTHOR

      Rohan Rinaldo Felix 

      3 years ago from Chennai, India

      It's wrong to talk down to others...

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      So it's wrong to try to portray yourself as being confident? But lacking confidence is also wrong. I'm confused...

    • rohanfelix profile imageAUTHOR

      Rohan Rinaldo Felix 

      3 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thank you for reading, Setank Setunk. You are broadening my perspective of what it means to be condescending. I will, without doubt, update this hub as I learn more.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 

      3 years ago

      This is an interesting article, but I understand what it means, it's not that complicated.

      Your idea that people who know the least about something talk about it the most is incorrect, as is your assertion that all perpetrators of condescension are ignorant.

      Also condescension depends upon the interpretation of the "victim".

      Often times the qualities you mention at the end of your article are absent in the people who believe others are condescending.

      I would like to here more from you. I think your touching on something bigger than "Talking down to people". Nice Article.


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