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10 Behaviors People Find Condescending

From calling people 'chief' to saying you 'actually' like someone's idea, here are some patronizing behaviors to avoid

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Everyone knows what it’s like to be around someone who just doesn’t make them feel great about themselves. There are all kinds of people who are unpleasant to be around—debbie downers, complainers, jealous green monsters, mean-spirited snarks, most anyone who wears neon sunglasses—but if you walk away from another person feeling worse about yourself, there’s a good chance you’ve been condescended to. People act patronizing for different reasons, but usually it boils down to insecurity and/or arrogance. Yes, you can definitely be arrogant and insecure at the same time.

Here, we point out some behaviors people say that typically don’t land well. But it’s also important to keep in mind that studies suggest 75 to 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. So when people feel like someone is talking down to them, it usually has as much to do with what they say as how they say it. Still, if you’ve been told you have a condescending streak, here are some eye-roll-worthy behaviors to discontinue.

1. Explaining things that people already know

We’ve all been in a conversation that’s moving along just fine, when suddenly you find yourself whisked off on an unexpected detour, riding out someone’s impassioned explanation of something that you already know. They’re talking at you, wide-eyed, offering each key point like a gift —”so after almost 30 years in prison, he won the Nobel Peace Prize” — and you hardly have the heart to derail their monologue and say, “Uh yeah, I know who Nelson Mandela is.”

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