10 Signs You Are Dealing With a Patronizing Person

Encountering a patronizing person can often leave you feeling belittled and frustrated. These individuals can manifest their disdain through various subtle—or not so subtle—actions and words.

Recognizing the signs of patronization is crucial, not only for maintaining your self-esteem but also for setting healthy boundaries. In this piece, we will explore the 10 telltale signs that you’re dealing with a patronizing person, to watch out for in your personal and professional interactions.

patronizing person

1. They Frequently Use Exaggerated Enunciations

A patronizing person tends to speak to others as if they are hard of hearing or just plain thick. This can manifest in frequent and unnecessary exaggerated enunciations or unnecessarily slow speech.

It also often includes overblown gestures and facial expressions that are meant to convey a sense of superiority.

2. They Interrupt Others Constantly

Patronizing individuals have a tendency to interrupt others in conversations, meetings, or discussions.

This is done to assert dominance and control over the conversation, implying that their thoughts and opinions are more important than anyone else’s.

3. They Offer Unsolicited Advice

Patronizers have an insatiable need to share their wisdom, regardless of whether it’s been asked for. They can often be found in the middle of unsolicited advice-giving sessions, typically accompanied by an air of superiority.

4. They Steal the Thunder in Conversations

Ever had someone interject to explain your point in a more ‘understandable’ manner? That’s a classic patronizing move.

Whether intentional or not, they often hijack conversations, taking the lead or altering the direction to one they feel more comfortable with.

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5. They Employ Overly Simplified Language

In a similar vein, a patronizer’s insistence on simplifying complex information under the thesis that their audience couldn’t possibly understand the initial context without their ace explanation can feel belittling.

6. They Undermine Others’ Experiences

Patronizers often dismiss or trivialize the experiences and knowledge of others, opting to trust in their expertise over the lived experiences of their peers or subordinates.

This manifests in minimizing language or body language such as eye-rolling.

7. They Express a Surfeit of Pity

Offering pity under the guise of sympathy can be a particularly insidious aspect of patronizing behavior.

It’s often used to assert psychological dominance by positioning the pitied individual as lesser or in some way in need of ‘help.’

8. They Have a Reluctance to Listen

An unwillingness to listen to others is a surefire red flag.

Patronizers are not keen on hearing a different viewpoint or taking on board any information that might challenge their perceived expertise. It also ties into the need to assert dominance.

9. They Often Use Mismatched Jokes or Humor

Jokes and humor, when used correctly, can help to bond a group.

However, when the humor of a patronizing person misses the mark consistently, leaving the listener feeling targeted or derided, it’s a form of verbal aggression that asserts their dominance through ridicule.

10. They Show an Unwarranted Sense of Superiority

At the crux of it all, a patronizing person operates from a place of unwarranted superiority.

It’s not about actual expertise; it’s about maintaining a facade of being ‘better’ or ‘more knowledgeable’ than those they interact with.

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Final Note

Understanding these signs is the first step in dealing with patronizing behavior, whether it’s coming from a coworker, a family member, or a friend.

By being able to identify these patterns, you can start to establish boundaries and, if needed, address the demeanor constructively with the individual in question.

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