How to Deal With a Condescending Coworker

Written By Bre Bush  |  Career  |  1 Comments

No matter what stage of life you are in, you have most certainly dealt with someone who is condescending. Whether it’s someone in a group project in school, a boss, or a coworker, you will experience people like this your entire life. That’s why it’s important to learn now how best to deal with condescending people.

There are many effective ways to combat condescending behavior. Here are just a few pieces of advice:

Kill them with kindness.

The best diffuser to negativity and/or meanness is kindness and positivity. Despite the condescending nature of someone’s behavior, keep a positive attitude when dealing with him or her. Respond with almost excessive kindness and you’ll see their poor attitude begin to diffuse. Kindness is like a fire extinguisher to any sort of rudeness. Remember to smile, accept tasks with enthusiasm, and never let their negativity rub off on you.

Swallow your pride.

This is especially true if you’re dealing with someone in a higher position than you. Sometimes, authority can go to people’s heads. Unfortunately, if you’re a subordinate, you just have to deal. The number one thing to remember is don’t take it personally. It may be that this person doesn’t even realize they’re being condescending. Even if they do, sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and ride it out. One day, you’ll be the one in their position and you’ll have learned how not to act. That’s enough of a victory for you.

Don’t let them see you sweat.

In some cases, the person you’re dealing with may act in a condescending nature just to get a rise out of you. Be better than that. Don’t let them see you react, especially in a negative way. A poor immediate reaction can undermine your effectiveness as an employee, so hold your emotions until you are alone or back in your office.

Prove them wrong.

Maybe the condescending person acts this way towards you because they don’t feel you can handle the job or responsibility. So, knock it out of the park. There’s no better feeling than exceeding someone’s expectations, especially when they don’t think you can do it. Take on extra responsibility, go above and beyond, do anything to outshine their opinion of you. That is the best reward.

While any of these methods will help you deal with a condescending coworker, the one thing you absolutely cannot do is respond in the same manner. Never try fighting fire with fire in these situations. It will only create disastrous conflict, which is the last thing you want in a work situation.

What are some things you do when dealing with condescending people?