How to Avoid sounding Condescending

A few years back, the Microsoft Store had some extremely limited Christmas season door buster deals that required shoppers to line up before the store opened. I actually turned up for one, an insanely low price for a Windows tablet. I had two notable interactions with strangers in that line.

The first was when another guy and I arrived at the same moment and found that there were 29 people already in line to buy the thirty available tablets. We decided to play “Pick a number” to see who’d get the last spot.  The 29th guy in line picked a number between 1 and 100. My opponent guessed first, and chose 76. I, understanding how odds work, chose 75. I won.

Later, another person got in line behind me hoping someone before us would leave for some reason before the store opened in twenty minutes. As it became more and more obvious that this would not happen she tried to talk me into leaving. I tried to be gracious, but in both of these situation I found it nearly impossible to make any comment without sounding either condescending or smug. It was deeply uncomfortable.

That’s not what this comic is about though. The comic’s about a coworker who declared a power point projector broken, and had not turned it on.

Note from Missy: I feel like it’s also about those people, those infuriating people, who will take every single thing you say and try to turn it around in a way that is designed to make you feel bad. Because if they make you feel small, that makes them feel big. 


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