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How Do I Stop Sounding Patronizing to People?

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From Dominican Republic: So, I have been told by two friends already that I sound patronizing and condescending sometimes. This really confuses me cause in my head I don’t sound anything like that and I consciously try very hard not to but my efforts seem to be in vain. I have now come to the conclusion that I might not have a right definition for the terms therefore I do not recognized when I sound like that. Its not at all my intention to do so and it’s really frustrating cause I feel like what I actually wanna say and what it comes out gets lost in translation from my thoughts to my speech.

I would like to know more about it and how to deal with it cause I don’t want this to come between me and my personal relationships…

Thank you in advanced

How Do I Stop Sounding Patronizing to People?

Answered by on -


I understand why you are frustrated. Give yourself credit for wanting to respond to your friends’ feedback even though it was probably difficult to hear.

I suggest a couple of things: First, do check with other friends to see if they agree that you sound patronizing. It’s just possible that the two friends who talked to you are particularly sensitive to tone of voice and that others don’t agree.

If most of your friends and family generally agree that you do sound condescending, choose someone you especially trust and ask them to imitate what they hear when you speak to them so you can better understand what they are talking about. Then role play different ways to say the same thing until you both agree that you have found a correction. Practice will bring how you speak in line with what you intend to say.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Stop Sounding Patronizing to People?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How Do I Stop Sounding Patronizing to People?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Nov 2018 (Originally: 17 Nov 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Nov 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.