Snobs are a pain in the ass to deal with.
But it’s not like you can just “nope out” on every snob person you meet, especially if they’re your boss or someone you should be close to (like a mother-in-law).
In this article, I will give you 8 characteristics of a snob and how you can handle them better.
1) They’re entitled
One of the reasons snobs are so quick to judge others is because they are short on empathy.
As far as they’re concerned, people who are mired in misfortune are simply facing the consequences of their own actions.
So if someone is broke, they think the person is just lazy. And if someone is sickly, they’d assume they just don’t have a healthy lifestyle.
It doesn’t cross their mind that it’s possible that someone could work until their backs break and still be broke and homeless. Or that the sickly person was simply born that way, and has actually been living a much healthier lifestyle than theirs.
A lot of snobs are the way they are because they were raised in privilege. They’re used to a life of ease, of always getting what they want whenever they want.
It’s this privilege, together with a generally selfish attitude, that gives snobs little sympathy to spare.
What to do:
- Be calm and remind yourself that you’re the bigger person.
- If you want peace of mind, either refuse to engage or just nod along.
- If you think it’s something you really must correct a snob, then try to do so as calmly as possible.
2) They think highly of themselves
This is the hallmark trait of snobs.
For whatever reason, snobs simply think they’re exceptionally smarter, classier, and even kinder than the rest of us.
They gauge people and establish closeness based on how close or far they are to their level of “greatness.”
For example, if they happen to be an artist, they will take great pains to only hang around those whose art is “good enough” for them. Sure, they might tolerate those whose art is in a style they deem “inferior”, but they would rather not waste their time.
Some might even uphold their specific taste in music—say blues or jazz—as more superior or cultured than others’, and will look down on those who follow mainstream stuff like kpop or hip hop.
What to do:
- If you don’t feel safe sharing about yourself, learn to keep your mouth shut and nod along—even better if you keep them talking about themselves.
- Even if you do feel safe to share about yourself or your interests, expect the snob dismissing or mocking you out of hand. Be calm.
3) They’re just trying to fit in
There are actually a fair bit of “snobby” people who are not, and simply are that way because they feel compelled to.
If they’re an “ordinary” person surrounded by high class people, for example, they might feel the desire to look high class as well so that their “peers” will accept and respect them.
Some snobs don’t really intend to alienate others or make themselves appear superior. They just lack basic social and communication skills. And it’s highly likely that they even have some level of social anxiety.
Being a “snob” has become their defense mechanism. It’s like they’re saying to others “you can’t ignore me, I’m already ignoring you!” or “You can’t put me down, I’m already way above you.”
What to do:
- Try to be a bit more tolerant of people you perceive as “snobs” and give them a second chance. Some of the best people I know were once snobs who were actually just shy.
- Try to play along with or tolerate their snobbishness while making it clear it’s not necessary around you.
4) They’re hard to please
Snobs are proud of having what they perceive to be high standards and good taste. Naturally, they will be ill-inclined to respect or acknowledge anything that’s below what they consider “good.”
Sure, some of them might try to be polite and hide it, but their disgust will still be plain to see if you were to bother looking.
It can be quite challenging if it’s your boss, partner, or worse—parent! You’d have to keep pleasing them so they’ll think you’re worth anything.
Needless to say, being with a snob is exhausting at best, and traumatizing at worst.
What to do:
- As much as I’d like to advocate that you learn to live with snobs, if the snob is someone close to you and they’re affecting your self-esteem, detach.
- If you can’t detach completely, then try to let them please themselves—make it clear that it’s not your obligation to satisfy them.
5) They’re superficial
To be snobby is to measure one’s worth as a person based on things like their wealth, social status, appearance, and even the circumstances of their birth.
Being superficial is pretty much the definition of being a snob.
This fixation on the things they can see means they unfortunately overlook those things that aren’t immediately obvious, such as one’s values and integrity, as well as the depth of one’s life experiences.
This is the reason why they can be extremely judgmental. You don’t even have to say anything or do anything to turn them off.
Smile at them the wrong way or drive the wrong kind of car and they’ll believe they already know your “kind” and stuff you in a box in their own heads.
What to do:
- Just let them be. You don’t have to prove anything to superficial people.
- Don’t let their thinking affect who you are. Instead, use this to motivate yourself to become the best version of you—whatever that may be.
6) They’re just trying to protect themselves
Most snobs genuinely believe what they think of themselves, that they’re as good or special as they believe they are. Because of this, they get a bit paranoid that others would take advantage of them.
If they’re a boss, they’d distance themselves from employees. They’d even eat alone and say no to invites because they KNOW people around them are just getting friendly to get something.
If they’re a known artist of some kind, they’d distance themselves from new artists because they worry they’ll just think of using them for connections later on.
While understandable and perfectly valid, snobs just have a high aversion for people who use other people to their benefit.
What to do:
- Give the snob a benefit of the doubt. It’s possible that their kindness has been abused in the past and they’re who they are now because of it.
- If you want to win the heart of a snob, it might help if you show them that you’re the kind of person who they can actually trust.
7) They’re narcissistic
For a narcissist, social status overshadows everything else.
Not all snobs are narcissists, of course, but a large majority of them certainly are.
So if you’re living with one, be careful. They might already be abusing you subtly through what they would excuse as “snobby” behavior.
They might try to ruin your self-confidence by repeatedly telling you that your tastes suck, for example. Or perhaps they would deflect from their failures by pushing the blame on you, saying you “distracted” them.
You might even have heard the phrase “look what you made me do!”
The scary thing is that more likely than not, they’re firmly convinced that they are right all the time.
What to do:
- Be aware of the abusive tactics narcissists like to use and how to identify them.
- Get in touch with a therapist to help yourself heal from the mental wounds the abuse has left on you.
- Take steps to protect yourself from further abuse, like having the nearest abuse protection hotline on hand.
8) They’re insecure
This doesn’t come as a surprise. Only insecure people actually flaunt their “greatness” to make others feel inferior to them.
They crave to be seen as “better” and to be admired so badly that they would be willing to throw billions of dollars down the trash if it means earning the admiration of the people around them.
When you think about it this way, even though they act like you need to earn their approval, it’s actually the other way around.
That same insecurity is also why they would be a bit touchy when other people are clearly happier than they are, or when people don’t give them the praise they believe they’re due.
What to do:
- Don’t try to prove to them how they’re actually not that good if you don’t want them to double down and get annoying on you.
- Either placate them by playing along with their wants or just not associate with them.
There are a lot of reasons why a snob would act the way they do.
Most of them stem one way or another from a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy or insecurity. Sometimes people simply want to fit in, and sometimes they’re taught it as a child.
It can be painful living with a snob in your life, or even interacting with one just for a few hours. Thankfully, it’s possible to learn how to shrug off their behavior and coexist with them if you must.
And hey, it doesn’t have to be forever—sometimes people can change. Just don’t think that you can force that change to happen by yourself though. You have more important things to devote your time on.