What It Means to Be Condescending

Updated on August 10, 2016

If you've ever had the doubt in your mind, get it sorted right now: to be labelled "condescending" is a bad thing. It is not a compliment. Do not be a condescending person. Avoid being condescending like it's the plague.

Since knowledge is power, let's try to sort out the concept of what it is to be condescending. Down the road, you will be thanking yourself you took the time to read this article. Without further ado...

Are you sometimes confused by the actual meaning of the word?

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The Simplest Explanation of the Word
The Simplest Explanation of the Word | Source

Symptoms of a Condescending Person

He or she thinks too much of his or her own intelligence
He or she thinks too little of the intelligence of others around him or her
He or she feels the need to correct others all the time
He or she cannot accept criticism
He or she is smug
He or she is arrogant
He or she believes his or her opinion on a thing is something the world cannot afford to miss
He or she tries to give the impression of being confident
He or she is dealing with insecurities
He or she is a show off
He or she think of himself or herself as being classy, while the truth is atually quite the opposite
As is evident, being condescending is an absolutely terrible thing! Condescending people need our sympathies.

The Look of Someone Who's Condescending

Smug people think they are the most amazing people ever and that the world around them should be a receptacle to their ever-growing expertise in everything under the sun. They deserve our deepest sympathies for the delusions they are victim to.
Smug people think they are the most amazing people ever and that the world around them should be a receptacle to their ever-growing expertise in everything under the sun. They deserve our deepest sympathies for the delusions they are victim to. | Source

The Condescending Person Is Ignorant

The condescending person doesn't know much of the world around him or her. The lack of knowledge and street-smartness is what makes him or her behave in an arrogant way.

An Empty Vessel Making Loads of Noise

It often happens that the person who knows the least about a thing talks the most about it. This person is considered a time waster.


Not surprisingly, condescending people are absolutely hated. Who ever likes to be treated as being inferior by another?

Almost no one like a condescending person.
Almost no one like a condescending person. | Source

They Make People Move Away

Also not surprisingly, over time, people move away from someone who behaves in a patronizing manner. Such behaviour is repugnant and very tiresome to handle.

People Criticize Them Behind Their Back

Since the condescending person hardly ever lets anyone talk in his or her presence, it is only a matter of time before there is a whole lot of stuff being discusses about him or her behind his or her back.

Being Condescending Is Bad PR

If you want to be popular and have friends and do well in business at the same time, it makes sense to be humble. Actually, it doesn't hurt to be humble.

Humble people are easy to move with. As a result, they are loved. On the other hand, since condescending people are an absolute pain to deal with, no one, if ever, takes them seriously.

Lacking Class

The really cool people in the world are chilled-out people who don't have major attitude issues. They are never haughty.

A classy person is always someone who doesn't look down on others.The classy person encourages. Condescending people say things that are unclassy.

Sure-Fire Way to Destroy Relationships

Isn't this obvious? Whether within the family, in friendships, or in a situation of romance, being condescending is a big turn off. Equality is a very important quality in almost any type of relationship, and the worst enemy of it can be the tendency to feel superior to another person.

Condescend and Destroy!

Nothing is capable of ruining a romantic relationship as quickly as condescending to one's partner or spouse.
Nothing is capable of ruining a romantic relationship as quickly as condescending to one's partner or spouse. | Source

How to Not Be Condescending

It is possible to avoid being condescending by making a conscious choice to spend time each day life to cultivate certain other qualities, which are its antithesis, within oneself.

  • Humility
  • A positive mindset
  • Non-judgmentalism
  • A thick skin 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

Questions & Answers


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      • rohanfelix profile imageAUTHOR

        Rohan Rinaldo Felix 

        23 months ago from Chennai, India

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

      • profile image


        24 months 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 

        2 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 

        2 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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