How To Deal With A Condescending Co-Worker

Man talks to a condescending coworker

There’s nothing more challenging at work than having a co-worker who's rude, makes you doubt yourself, or just hurts your feelings. But how do you deal with a condescending co-worker?

The Best Way To Deal With A Condescending Co-Worker

Woman talks to a condescending coworker


When you're forced to deal with a condescending co-worker, the first thing you need to do is understand why their comment bothered you so much. What about what this person said irritated you? You might even consider taking time to write it out. Try to recall exactly what this person said. You’ll probably find that it was a specific word or tone this person used, or the way it was delivered, that set you off. It’s important that you identify this because you need to be able to articulate it when you go talk to the person.

That’s right. The next thing you need to do is confront the person in question.

This is not the time to bury it, ignore it, or let it slide. The moment you allow condescending behavior to happen, you are defining how you are to be treated. People treat us the way that we ALLOW them to treat us. If you don’t want to deal with a condescending co-worker, you have to nip this behavior in the bud.

So, understand exactly what about their comment bothered you. If you need to, talk it out with someone else before you bring it up to your co-worker. Then, confront your co-worker privately so they are aware of how you feel. When you have this conversation, your co-worker might act defensively. However, they will likely be more shocked and surprised. They might not have intended the comment to come out that way.

If someone is being condescending, whether they realize it or not, it’s important to call them out on it. But make sure to do it in a calm and structured way. Even for those who dislike any sort of confrontation, remember: don't just brush it off! You'll be glad you said something when you did.

Need more help navigating workplace issues?

We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Power Hour Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.