It is uncomfortable when others speak condescendingly. And it makes no difference who permits this behaviour: the boss, parents, or friends. The problem is that for some people, such communication becomes a habit or a means to subtly assert their superiority over us. This material will tell you how to teach an arrogant person a lesson.
1. Establish and defend your boundaries
There is a high likelihood that someone who speaks condescendingly is attempting to manipulate you. Now is the time to establish clear personal boundaries boldly yet calmly. Additionally, ensure that the arrogant person understands that respecting you is in their best interests.
You can be straightforward with your interlocutor and tell him directly that talking down to you is not worth his time. By demonstrating that you have observed his behaviour towards you, you will deny him the option to escape punishment and clearly state what you find unacceptable.
Maintain your cool if the arrogant person is attempting to disguise his tone as a joke you do not understand. He may also try to explain why he committed this act. Accept the explanations and state that such jokes and the conversational tone are undesirable. To continue the conversation, it is necessary to address you with respect.
2. Recognize passive aggressiveness and take appropriate action
Passive aggression can be a sign of a person’s insecurity. In this instance, his condescension is an effort to establish himself and demonstrate his superiority over you. It is not worthwhile to be led here.
Here are some condescending expressions that conceal passive aggression: “Darling, what did I say that made you angry?” “No one expects you to be able to read minds,” “Do as you please.” Such remarks can provoke anger in us. On the other hand, the interlocutor does not publicly provoke a disagreement.
On the other hand, some individuals talk down to us because they dislike us. However, you should not make every effort to please them. Therefore, it will be simpler to let go of the circumstance and communicate with them.
It is also not worthwhile to reply aggressively, as the passive aggressor’s attacks will intensify. It is preferable to either respond calmly or disregard the statement in this situation. The sooner an arrogant person learns that he cannot remove us from ourselves through language, the sooner he realizes that he will need to change the vector of communication.
3. Acknowledge that the interlocutor is correct and change the topic of the conversation
If the conversation goes in the wrong direction, the interlocutor’s condescending tone can play into our hands. Turn the situation to your advantage by confirming the person’s comments and adding your own comment if he is correct. For example, something you’ve learnt that you find interesting.
This can be visualized as follows: the interlocutor arrogantly says that it is impossible to discuss cars with you because you do not understand them. Agree that this is so, and ask if he has heard that they are going to build a new road junction in your city, the project chosen by vote.
4. End the dialogue
When an arrogant person has passed all boundaries with his condescension and cannot understand why you react negatively to his tone, the best course of action is to end the conversation. You may leave without more explanation if the previous arguments and demands are unsuccessful.
You should abstain from being condescending and allow him to complete his sentence. Such shock therapy can prompt the interlocutor to reflect on his conduct. However, you should not apply it immediately; you should first attempt other solutions from our list.
5. Record the interlocutor’s words and hold a conversation in the presence of witnesses
If you are dealing with a toxic coworker who uses condescending language or tones, record them in a separate journal or dictaphone. In addition, ensure that your discussion takes place in the presence of others who can testify to your inappropriate and insulting conduct. Therefore, if you discuss this matter with your manager, there will be sufficient evidence against a colleague. And the witnesses to the incidents will be able to confirm your claims.
To protect their reputation, many individuals who communicate with us condescendingly and arrogantly will not do so in public. Therefore, if communication with them cannot be avoided, it is preferable not to do so in person.
6. Confront the interlocutor with humor
Some people are so accustomed to speaking condescendingly that it has become their default behaviour. A sense of humor will facilitate communication. A smart joke might deter the arrogant person and subtly indicate that his communication style leaves much to be desired.
For instance, if the interlocutor replies condescendingly, “I didn’t expect you to understand me,” you can respond with a smile, “Yes, this topic is utterly incomprehensible; only a select few will get it.” If a person rarely talks with you arrogantly, make a harmless joke. Or, employ more cutting sarcasm when the occasion calls for it.
7. Speak exactly as the interlocutor does
Some people will not pay close attention to how they communicate with you unless they are in a similar circumstance. Therefore, it is worthwhile to attempt to speak with an arrogant interlocutor in his preferred method. However, there is no assurance that he will make the connection between your response and his behaviour.
It will help if you use caution when using this method. It is most effective with wise and thoughtful individuals to understand what you are doing. Otherwise, people will interpret it as an unwarranted personal attack, and your relationship will suffer.