12 Ways to Deal with a Patronizing Person

Being patronized by someone in a public or private setting can be embarrassing, upsetting, and frustrating.

But much like any human interaction that we encounter in our daily lives, some people have mastered the art of dealing with these situations.

If you have someone constantly acting condescending towards you, here are 12 ways to deal with a patronizing person you can use when you see them next.

#1. Pretend You Didn’t Hear Them and Ask for Clarification

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Pretending not to hear someone being patronizing and asking them to reexplain what they just said can sometimes make them think about their statement and whether they should say it again.

It might even stop them from being patronizing again if you do it enough.

#2. Be Equally Kind and Pretend To Be Unaware

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Killing them with kindness is always an option.

Pretend that you don’t know what’s going on while being more than patient and kind with them.

When they discover they can’t bully you, it will lose all the appeal to them.

#3. Allow Them To Correct

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Some people aren’t patronizing you because they have a terrible personality or they don’t like you.

Some people might just be having a bad day, and it’s showing up in their interactions.

Give them a chance to correct their statement and figure out that they need to collect themself and behave more appropriately.

#4. Respond With Sarcasm

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Nothing sets someone who’s patronizing off more than treating them similarly.

When they say something condescending, respond with sarcasm.

It will tick them off and let them know you’re not the person to try this stuff with.

#5. Get to the Root of the Issue

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There are many ways to address patronizing behavior, but one way is to get to the issue’s root.

Sit down with the person and talk to them about how they’ve been acting lately and how it’s not okay with you.

They may not know they’re that way until you confront them, and there can’t be consequences unless they can address it.

#6. Address It Publicly

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If you’re in a situation where someone is patronizing you in front of friends or coworkers, address it publicly and ensure everyone in the room understands what is happening.

While you can’t change a person who is condescending to others, you can make sure that others are aware of who they are and willing to call out their nonsense when they inevitably start it.

#7. Act Shocked and Surprised

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Most people who are patronizing anticipate that you’re going to be upset by their superior behavior and their clear breadth of knowledge that you don’t have.

The best way to deal with it is to act surprised.

Act as if you’re learning everything they’re saying for the first time.

They will inevitably get the clue that you’re not serious and might stop doing the same things when they get a reaction they don’t like.

#8. Get It in Writing

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In the case of patronizing coworkers, you must keep track of everything so that you’ll have visible evidence to report to higher-ups.

The best way to do this is to capture their language in instant messages or emails so others can see how they talk to you.

Of course, if you have meetings, you can also record those and ensure you have context for their behavior.

#9. Disengage and Walk Away

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Some people purposely act the way they do to get a specific reaction from the people around them.

So, what can you do?

Disengage and walk away from the interaction.

They can’t get what they want if they refuse to give it to them.

#10. Make Them Explain It to You in Detail

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People who are patronizing repeat what you’ve said to them back to you as if you didn’t understand the initial concept.

To throw them off, ask many questions and make them explain the concept to you in detail.

They’ll inevitably give up when they realize that every time they put you down, they’ll have to explain their knowledge and train of thought to you clearly.

#11. Patronize Them Back

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While this might not be a route that everyone wishes to take, you could patronize them back.

After all, they might not know how they make other people feel.

If you treat them the same way, it could prompt them to change their behaviors so that people respond better to them.

#12. Respond With “Correct”

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Shutting down someone condescending can be as easy as simply confirming what they’ve said.

This erodes any sense of superiority they’ve cultivated by trying to explain something to you by you turning the tables and acting like their response was them trying to understand something instead.

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